Linden High School football player who hit opponent with helmet kicked off team, to be suspended

LINDEN, NJ -- The Linden High School football player who bashed an opponent in the head with a helmet has been permanently removed from the team, though it is still unclear if assault charges will be filed in connection with the incident.

It happened in the second quarter of Linden's game between against Immaculata High School at Linden's Tiger Stadium last Friday night.

A dead play ended with some pushing and shoving, and as the Immuculata player fell to the ground, his helmet became dislodged. That's when the Linden player picked it up and smashed it into the player's head. The victim received 10 stitches.

The Linden player is in the process of being suspended and placed on home instruction, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

the coaching staff will interviewed, and a full fact-finding will determine whether there was some prior altercation between the players or teams that led to the incident.

The school district is using this as a "teachable moment" to reiterate to players and the coaching staff that violence is not tolerated and will be greeted in the strongest possible way.

Linden Public Schools superintendent Danny Robertozzi released an updated statement on Wednesday regarding the incident:

"The Linden Public School District is extremely disheartened by the incident at the Varsity Football Game between Linden and Immaculata High Schools on Friday, September 11, 2015. The Board of Education is appalled by the conduct of this student athlete. His action on the field is contrary to the type of sportsmanship Linden requires from its student athletes. The brutal action taken by this young man is simply unacceptable and will not be condoned. Accordingly, the Board is pursuing the severest disciplinary measures permitted under law and has removed this student from the football team. In addition to
the stern action to be taken against this student, the Board shall stress with all of its student athletes that such egregious conduct will not be tolerated and that all athletes must adhere to the highest level of proper sportsmanship that has always been the hallmark of Linden sports.

"While disciplinary consequences have been imposed against this student, the Board cannot lawfully comment on the specific disciplinary action being taken. As a public school student, this young man is entitled to certain due process and confidentiality rights that prevent the Board from commenting more specifically on the actions being taken. Accordingly, the Board asks that the Public respect the legal restraints that limit the Board's ability to more fully discuss this incident."

Immaculata school officials released the following statement:

"This was a very serious incident that may have been overlooked during the game. Once we reviewed the videotape we felt it necessary to contact Linden officials who in turn have been very cooperative and apologetic. We do not believe this reflects the Linden athletic program. Our history with them has been stellar for many years now. Our player sustained an injury and had to go to Morristown Hospital and receive 10 stitches to close his wound. We were not surprised that he handled himself with restraint and maturity at the time of the incident, upholding Immaculata's expectations for sportsmanship. We have been in contact with Linden administration and they have assured us that their player has received the maximum consequences for this type of incident. We also contacted the NJSIAA, the Linden police department, and have reached out to the Union County prosecutor's office. Our main concern is for the safety of all student-athletes in high school athletics. We expect that the officials at the NJSIAA and local authorities will follow up to determine the appropriate consequences for such an action."

Linden police say the incident is under investigation by the Juvenile Bureau to determine if charges will be filed.

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