Texas football referee denies saying ‘speak English’ to team

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The referee who was deliberately hit by two Texas high school football players says he denied to coaches during the game that he called players a profane racial slur.

An attorney for referee Robert Watts also told a state governing board Thursday that his client didn’t tell John Jay High School players earlier this month to “speak English, this is America.”

Watts didn’t attend the fact-finding hearing in Austin. Jay Downs, his attorney, handed the board copies of family photos that show Watts at his wedding with his best man, who is black, and another of Watts’ grandmother, who is from Mexico.

Watts said in a written statement he has post-concussion syndrome. He said one John Jay player who struck him told him, “You’re in the way” and laughed.