A disturbing video of a youth football coach hitting a 9-year-old player twice after a poor performance has sparked outrage on social media.
The video in question shows the 9U Savannah Gators (wearing yellow uniforms) playing at the American Youth Football National Championships in Kissimmee, Florida.
The clip shows the 9-year-olds walking towards the sideline after the game when the enraged coach approaches the kid wearing No. 2 jersey and slaps him through his helmet. The coach then mouths off some words before going back to the player and striking him again, causing him to fall to the ground.
Shortly after the player gets up, the coach grabs his helmet and violently shakes it before the kid bursts out in tears and runs out of view. Watch the video below:
The video sparked outrage online with many calling for the the coach to be penalized over his "disgusting" and "unacceptable" behavior.
"This is disgusting behavior and he should be punished severely!," wrote one user, while another commented, "This is unacceptable. This type of coaching should not be tolerated in any Men/Women league professionally or a scholastic sport for kids. Shame on this coach."
Team, Coach Issue Apology
In the wake of the backlash, the Savannah Gators posted a half-hearted apology before deleting the post.
"We understand what we all saw yesterday was disturbing to us all but let's not blame everyone for one man's actions," the post read. "The guy in the video is our 9U head coach he is a good guy that just took it a little too far on a 9U player."
The coach, identified as Alexis Cobb, also posted a video apology on Facebook, expressing regret but for reprimanding the child in public.
I'mma apologize for my actions about what took place today," Cobb said. "At the end of the day I am a man and I'm not going to make no excuses for what I did. I was wrong."
"I shouldn't have discipled [the child] in public. I should've waited till we got back. At the end of the day I apologize to him, the kids, the city and my family back at home. I do apologize," he added.
Permanent Ban and Child Abuse Charges
A fellow coach later confirmed that Cobb had been banned from coaching in the AYF for life and is also facing child abuse charges in Florida.
"The Osceola County Sheriff's Office along with our local state attorney's office have reviewed this case and the decision has been made that charges for child abuse will be filed, regardless of parent's decision not to press charges," Maj. Jacob Ruiz said. "The actions of this person are despicable and there is zero-tolerance when it comes to the abuse of a child."