High School Football Player Who Attacked Referee Banned From All Sports for 1 Year

A Texas high school football player sparked comments in early December when he charged onto the field and body-slammed the referee that ejected him from the game. Now he is facing punishment for his actions on the field. Emmanuel Duron, a senior defensive lineman from Edinburg High School, is now banned from all sports for one year.

Officials from the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for Texas high school sports, announced the punishment on Monday. According to The Monitor, the five-person executive committee voted unanimously to suspend Duron from all UIL-sanctioned activities for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year. As a senior, this will end his high school football career.

"Everyone on this call will agree that we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior, even the student who has apologized would admit that," UIL Executive Director Charles Breithaupt said during Monday's hearing. "We have an obligation to respond from what [Edinburg CISD] has given us. … I think [superintendent Garza] represented his district quite well and he did what we believe was appropriate, and he did it swiftly because it needed to be done quickly."

In addition to banning Duron from all sports for the remainder of his high school career, the UIL also disciplined the football team's head coach. The five-person board voted unanimously to place head coach J.J. Leija on probation for the 2021-2022 school year. Finally, the high school's athletic department received a public reprimand and probation for all athletic activities for two years. If any more infractions occur during this probation period, the school will face more "severe" punishments, including potentially missing out on postseason play for three years.

The incident occurred when Duran drew a roughing the passer penalty. The referees then flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct after he reportedly said something to the official in Spanish, according to eyewitnesses. Duron went to the sideline but ran back onto the field and slammed Garcia to the ground after the ejection announcement.


Police officers escorted Duron from the stadium. He was arrested and charged with assault before posting a $10,000 surety bond. "I'd like to say that I'm sorry for what happened to my coaches, my family and to the UIL," Duron said Monday, per The Monitor.

Following the attack, Garcia remained on the turf for several minutes. Medical personnel took him to an ambulance outside the stadium and evaluated him for a shoulder injury, as well as a possible concussion. They took him to a hospital in a nearby Mercedes to undergo additional evaluation.