Coach banned from youth league after video shows alleged player abuse

An American Youth Football (AYF) coach has received a lifetime ban from the organization after video of an incident surfaced which appears to show the coach striking and then pushing a child-athlete to the ground, the organization said.

AYF tournament officials said they were provided with cell phone video of Coach Gerrel Williams "behaving in complete breach of the AYF Code of Conduct."  The video was provided to AYF earlier this week on the morning after the incident, and it was then turned over to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office for an investigation into allegations of child abuse.

According to an incident report filed by a deputy, Williams is seen slapping a player on the helmet, "with enough force to shift his balance," then striking him again, knocking him to the ground. 

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Due to no victim willing to press charges for child abuse, the deputy documented the incident, which was then forwarded to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

After consultation with the State Attorney's Office, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said they will pursue a child abuse charge.

Williams had been employed with the Chatham County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) in Georgia as a counselor in the county's detention center.  He was terminated from the position on December 10, according to Chatham County Sheriff John T. Wilcher.

"CCSO reviewed the video and we are very disturbed by the actions of Mr. Gerrel Williams. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office does not condone this behavior," Sheriff Wilcher said in a statement

AYF said its youth football organization was established "to promote the wholesome development of youth through their association with adult leaders in the sport of American football and cheer."  Coaches are also required to complete criminal background checks, concussion training, and coaching training, the organization said.

Williams was also banned from attending the 2020 National Championships.  The team has since played additional games in the tournament.

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