Former Ohio HSFB Player Suing Coaches After Allegedly Being Forced to Eat Pork

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2022

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: Footballs sit on the field before the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 19, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The family of a former football player at McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, is suing the student's coaches and the school district for "antisemitic and shameful" behavior that led to "substantial permanent injury."

Brooke Migdon of The Hill reported the student was allegedly forced to eat pork, which violated his religious beliefs as a Hebrew Israelite.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Ohio Northern District Court, is seeking $3 million in compensation and $1 million in punitive damages.

According to the lawsuit, the football team's coaches punished the student for missing a workout by forcing him to eat an entire pizza that had pork residue on it from pepperoni pieces that were removed.

The lawsuit says they told the player he would be kicked off the team if he did not eat the pizza, so he complied.

The student eventually transferred, and seven of the coaches at McKinley High School were fired after an investigation.

However, attorney Peter Pattakos, who is representing most of the former coaches, told the Washington Post's Lateshia Beachum that his clients are the "real victims" and have filed a defamation lawsuit against the family and district officials who fired them.

The defamation lawsuit says the student was disrespectful and did not show proper effort during practices but eventually thanked his coaches for teaching him a lesson.

The defamation lawsuit says former head coach Marcus Wattley had the student eat the pizza while his teammates worked out to teach him "it's easy to be selfish behind people's backs, but not so easy when others are watching."