N.J. football player tears helmet off opponent, hits him with it

September 15, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootball

New Jersey police are investigating an incident at a football game last week, where video appears to show a player ripping a helmet from his opponent’s head before striking him with it.

The incident occurred during the second quarter of a game that featured Linden High School against Immaculata High School. In the video, a Linden defensive player tears the helmet from the lineman blocking him. He then proceeds to hit him across the head with it.

Immaculata Athletics Director Tom Gambino told MyCentralJersey.com that the player was taken to the hospital and received 10 stitches. Officials threw a flag on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the defensive player was not thrown from the game.

Gambino did not say whether the school would pursue criminal charges against the player, but officials at Linden did contact him to apologize, according to the article.

From MyCentralJersey.com:

Linden Police Capt. James Sarnicki said the Linden Police Department’s Juvenile Bureau is currently investigating the incident. MyCentralJersey.com is withholding the identity of the Linden player because he is believed to be a minor.

“Obviously this is very serious,” Gambino said. “When you see it on film, it’s like, “Oh my God.’ Obviously the officials didn’t see it. If he did, I’m sure he would have walked the kid to the Linden sideline. These are good guys (officials). That’s not the point here. It’s hard to believe they didn’t see it. But, come on. If you see that, you have to think that he would have been led off the field.”

Update, Wednesday, Sept. 16: In a prepared statement, Linden Public School District Superintendent Danny Robertozzi said the player has been removed from the football team. That player also posted on Instagram that he has been suspended from school for 10 days.

“The Linden Public School District is extremely disheartened by the incident at the Varsity Football Game between Linden and Immaculata High Schools on Friday, September 11, 2015,” Robertozzi said. “The Board of Education is appalled by the conduct of this student athlete. His action on the field is contrary to the type of sportsmanship Linden requires from its student athletes. The brutal action taken by this young man is simply unacceptable and will not be condoned. Accordingly, the Board is pursuing the severest disciplinary measures permitted under law and has removed this student from the football team. In addition to the stern action to be taken against this student, the Board shall stress with all of its student athletes that such egregious conduct will not be tolerated and that all athletes must adhere to the highest level of proper sportsmanship that has always been the hallmark of Linden sports.

“While disciplinary consequences have been imposed against this student, the Board cannot lawfully comment on the specific disciplinary action being taken. As a public school student, this young man is entitled to certain due process and confidentiality rights that prevent the Board from commenting more specifically on the actions being taken. Accordingly, the Board asks that the Public respect the legal restraints that limit the Board’s ability to more fully discuss this incident.”

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