Bruce Smith Recounts Abusive Coach After Youth Football Player Gets Hit on Video

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2020

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2009, file photo, former Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith gestures after being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a news conference in Tampa, Fla. Pro Football Hall of Famers Jack Youngblood and Bruce Smith have asked NFL owners to promise not to lock out players if a new labor deal isn't reached by early March.  In a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, Youngblood and Smith note the players' union already
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

A social media video showing a youth football coach striking one of his players during a game brought up bad memories for Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Smith.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Smith called the incident "disturbing" before recalling his own experience with an abusive coach. 

"In my opinion, it was an assault and it made me reflect back when I was attacked and dragged around a baseball field by a baseball coach as a young kid," he said. 

Smith said his father took legal action against the baseball coach, and Smith never played for the team or coach again but said "the scars still remain."

Smith said he was "even more concerned and outraged that none of the other adults stepped in" to stop the football coach in the video.

Per Des Bieler of the Washington Post, the youth football coach in Georgia, Gerrel Williams, was filmed hitting a player in the helmet twice during the team's tournament game Monday in Florida. 

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office announced the coach, Gerrel Williams, has been charged with child abuse, per Bieler. Williams, who was fired from the team and banned from the league, posted a video apology on Facebook.

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He also resigned from his job as a counselor at the Chatham County (Georgia) Detention Center after being told he could resign or be fired, per WTOC's Lyndsey Gough.