HALTOM CITY -- A youth football coach and two parents in the Haltom City Pee Wee Football Association have been suspended for the rest of the season after a weekend brawl among parents at the end of one of the league's games, an official said Thursday.
Pee wee coach Randall Thompson has three days to appeal the decision by the association’s board, league president Joe Rios said Thursday. He also was removed as a board member in the league, Rios said.
In addition, Maria Hernandez and her adult brother were suspended for the year for their involvement, Rios said.
Board members reached their decisions Wednesday night after a three-hour meeting where tempers flared up.
The association’s board met with about 60 people in two separate meetings with the two teams to discuss the conduct of people involved in the fracas. The meeting was open only to parents and coaches.
During both meetings some parents were visibly distraught and others raised their voices as they tried to plead their case to league officials.
Both meetings ran over the scheduled time, and the second meeting ended shortly after a few parents left, one crying and another swearing loudly.
Police were called to a game Saturday when a melee broke out after an 8-year-old was kicked in the groin and numerous parents, coaches and bystanders got involved in the fight, authorities said.
An investigation continued Thursday, police said.
Rios said again Thursday that there was not a big fight and based on a video he saw of the game, the boy was not kicked in the groin.
The 8-year-old football player was taken by ambulance Saturday to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, suffering from a bruised groin, according to police reports.
He was at the hospital several hours before he was released, his mother, Hernandez of Haltom City, said Wednesday.
Wednesday’s meeting stemmed from an incident that happened about 11:30 a.m. Saturday at a Haltom City Pee Wee Football Association game near the Haltom City Recreation Center, 4839 Broadway Ave., where Wednesday’s meeting was held.
The police report states that Hernandez saw her son being kicked in the groin by an opposing player. Her son tried to kick that player, was flagged for his actions and then ejected from the game. He took several steps before he collapsed, his mother said Wednesday.
After that, she heard the opposing coach say, “He got what he deserved.”
Johnny Crabtree, whose grandson was involved in the on-field confrontation with Hernadez’ son, said tempers escalated further when the opposing team refused to shake hands with his grandson’s team, the Aggies.
Video shot by Crabtree shows the Aggies waiting on the field for the opposing team, the Cowboys, to no avail.
Phillip Tiner, whose 8-year-old son plays on Thompson’s team, said at that point it was clear certain parents “were looking to start trouble.”
He said many were angered when the team didn’t come over to shake hands.
“It took all of my restraint when they refused to send their kids out,” Tiner said.
According to the report, Hernandez walked over to Thompson and confronted him.
“I pulled her (Hernandez) away from hitting our coach (Thompson),” Tiner said.
Hernandez defended her actions.
“Put any parent in that place, your son is on the ground and how do you think you’re going to react?” Maria Hernandez said Wednesday. “I was cussing at him.”
Witnesses who were at the meeting Wednesday disputed her account of the events.
Hernandez told police that the coach grabbed her by the shirt, pushed her away and then hit her. The coach told authorities that she hit him twice in the face and then he pushed her away.
Phillip Tiner, whose 8-year-old son plays on Thompson’s team, said Hernandez struck Thompson first.
“He said, ‘Back off. Back off.’ And then pow, she hit him,” Tiner said.
He said he hoped the league wouldn’t take any action against Thompson because he said everything he did was in self defense.
“It’s a sad time when someone has to take a fall for defending himself,” he said.
After the initial altercation, a melee ensued, according to the police report.
“There are marks on both and they have witnesses to back up their stories,” Haltom City police Sgt. Terry Stayer said Wednesday. “Both could end up being arrested, but we’re still investigating.” A 27-year-old Watauga woman injured her wrist as she attempted to pull people out of the melee, according to the reports.
The report lists nine residents as witnesses and victims in the melee.
‘It’s a shame’
Tiner said he was disappointed that the incident boiled over and has engulfed the league.
“It’s a shame ... I don’t put my kid in little league to watch brawls,” he said. “I put him there to learn and have fun.”
Rios said Maria Hernandez’s son would be suspended for one game because of his ejection from Saturday’s game.