High school sports can be as competitive as professional sports — especially in the South. Just ask the soccer team at Chattahoochee High School north of Atlanta. At their April 29 game, the last of the season, senior Andrew Gray disagreed with a call from the referee, so Gray responded with a sucker punch.
A police report obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik said the referee, Christopher Heintzman, told police the incident happened after Chattahoochee lost a playoff game to Milton High School on April 29.
“That student walked over to him and acted as if he wanted to shake hands but instead that student sucker-punched him on the right side of the face,” the report stated.
When police questioned Gray, the report said he began to cry and said that Heintzman’s penalty call against him near the end of the game messed up his career.
“He wanted to apologize to the official,” the report said, but Heintzman told police the next time he wanted to see the student was in front of a judge.
The school system would not comment on the specifics of the case, but athletics director Steven Craft said that the system would take measures to ensure that incidents like the one involving Grey do not happen again.
“When they put on that jersey they’re representing themselves, their family, the school and the community and we want them to understand that,” Craft told Petchenik. “We have an expectation of what we expect our student athletes to act like. They’re going to be respectful, they’re going to compete hard…but we’re going to do it the right way.”
Craft said he will require the Chattahoochee High School soccer team and its coaches to undergo sportsmanship training to ensure this does not happen again.
“It is an isolated incident, but it gives us the great opportunity to make sure we’re sending the right message to everybody,” he said.
Gray is due in court later this week to answer to the charges against him. When local media contacted his attorney, the attorney had no comment on the matter.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Gines Romero