photo source: texashsfootball.com
In a game between the Edinburg High School Bobcats and the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Bears last Thursday, Emmanuel Duron was ejected for exchanging words with the referee after a roughing the passer call. Duron was escorted off the field by a coach before rushing back to violently blindside the referee, Fred Garcia. Garcia, 59, was able to walk off the field on his own and treated for a shoulder injury and concussion like symptoms. Duron was escorted out of the stadium by police.
Duron, the 18 year old 225 pound defensive lineman was named District 31-6A Defensive Player of the Year last season. He also the kicks and punts for the Bobcats in addition to being a star wrestler. According to a report by The Monitor, Duron has a history of this type of behavior, including a season ending suspension in the 2019-2020 soccer season following a “similar incident.”
Edinburg went on to win the game, earning a spot in the playoffs. However, in an statement released the day after the incident, district officials decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs. That same day, Duron was charged with assault during an arraignment at the Edinburg Municipal Court. If convicted, Duran faces up to a year in prison and a $4,000 dollar fine.
Duron will have an uphill battle convincing the the trier of fact his actions do not amount to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” causing bodily injury to another–part of the description of assault under the Texas Penal Code. Additionally, Duron will not be able to persuasively argue that this injury causing risk was inherent to refereeing a high school football game. Sure, football is a risky sport and injuries are too often a part of the game, but in no way does a referee assume the risk of being assaulted for making a call.
Duron is currently out on bail and it will be interesting to see what happens, not only with his legal battle but also with what was potentially a bright future in collegiate sports.