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Vista football coach to sit out game after video of grabbing player by jersey, school says

Football field
Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-16 00:30:24-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — An investigation is underway after a video surfaced showing a Vista High School football coach making contact with a player earlier this month.

Steve Serrano, who told ABC 10News that his son was involved in the incident, said there was a penalty flag thrown on the previous play prior to the incident.

“The other team, one of the players was clapping his hands into my son’s face. So my swatted his hands away like get your hands out of my face the deal," Serrano said.

"When they came off of the field. And when they came off of the field the coach just stormed. He yelled at the first kid and then he snatched my son up which I lose it at that point.”

In a letter to Vista High parents, principal David Jaffe said coach Dave Bottom will not be attending Friday night's football game, after Jaffe said officials received video that showed Bottom "grabbing a student player by the jersey at the end of the game" on Oct. 8.

"Our employees are strictly advised they may not use physical contact to discipline or, as was the case in this situation, to get a student player's attention. While the incident was brief and thankfully did not result in any physical altercation or harm, it was not acceptable," the letter read.

Jaffe's letter said that, "Bottom apologized to the student and followed up with an apology to his parent once the game was over. I accept that Coach Bottom is genuinely remorseful for this action, however it must be properly addressed ... He has accepted this decision with integrity and professionalism."

ABC 10News spoke with Jaffe at Vista High School's home game on Friday night to discuss the removal of Coach Bottom.

“I dealt with it like any other personnel issue and we go through an investigation; personnel issue. We have done the investigation for it," Jaffe said.

"We’ve communicated with the coach, communicated with the families and made the decision related to the coach won’t be here tonight.”

Vista Unified confirmed to ABC 10News that its Human Relations team was investigating the incident, but did not discuss any further details, citing privacy rights.

Jaffe's letter to parents said Bottom would not be coaching practice on Monday or Tuesday.

ABC 10News spoke to another parent, who has a son on the Vista High football team and disagreed with the decision, but understood other parent's issues with the incident.

“It’s football. He made mistake. Coach was trying to get his attention. I didn’t see any ill about it," Ashlei Spayde, a Vista High School football parent, said

“If it was my kid, I wouldn’t have even batted an eye because, yeah, my kid made a mistake. Yeah I’d expect the coach to pull him aside.”

Serrano said he's reasonable but somethings do go too far.

“I’ve coached a lot of years and nowadays, you really can’t do that. If he had just got in his face and yelled at him, that’s one thing," Serrano said.

“(The) World has evolved and its change. And, we have to evolve with it," Jaffe said,

ABC 10News has reached out to Bottom for comment and are waiting to hear back.