Texas H.S. Football Player Charged with Assault for Body Slamming Referee Following Ejection

A generic view of a football before an NCAA game

A Texas high school football player charged onto the field and attacked an official after being ejected from the game on Thursday night, according to The Monitor's Andrew McCulloch.

Edinburg's Emmanuel Duron was charged with assault on Friday morning during an arraignment at the Edinburg Municipal Court, The Monitor's Valerie Gonzalez reported, and his cash surety bond was set at $10,000.

During Edinburg High's game against Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High, the defensive lineman was ejected early in the second quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After walking to the sidelines, Duron ran back onto the field and slammed referee Fred Garcia to the ground. Garcia was turned away from Duron and didn't see him coming. An Edinburg player and staff member immediately subdued Duron.

According to McCulloch, "Duron was escorted out from the stadium by a team of four Edinburg police officers who were working security for the game. He was not handcuffed, but was removed from the premises and did not return."

When asked about the incident, the four officers said, "No comment. We are not at liberty to talk about that."

On the field, a cart was brought out for medical personnel to assess Garcia. The official was able to get up under his own power and was later helped off the turf.

Garcia was evaluated for a potential shoulder injury and concussion-like symptoms at an ambulance at the stadium. He did not return to the game.

McCulloch shared photos on social media of the brutal collision taken at the game by The Monitor's Joel Martinez.

As the District 31-6A Defensive Player of the Year last season, Duron is the Bobcats' kicker and punter and also was named The Monitor's All-Area Boys Wrestler of the Year in 2020.

Edinburg won 35–21 and advanced to the Class 6A Division I playoffs. However, the Bobcats were removed from postseason play on Friday following Duron's actions. 

"The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020," the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District announced. "We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family. On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologize to the athletes, staff, and our school community.

"We will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident. The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation."

The district's announcement came after an emergency school board meeting that was held on Friday morning.

The Texas Association of Sports Officials and the University Interscholastic League announced in a statement that the organizations will launch an investigation into Thursday night's incident.

"On the evening of Dec. 3, 2020, another vicious and deliberate assault was inflected on a TASO Football Official by a player who had just been ejected from the contest. Unfortunately, this type of blind-sided assault on an official while working on the field is not new to Texas Football," TASO's statement read, per The Monitor.

"Though this latest incident is only hours old, TASO has begun our investigation and started collaboration with the UIL to bring this matter to a suitable disposition."