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He gets arrested Edinburg High lineman runs over football ref Team cut from playoffs

If you haven’t already seen the vicious hit on the ref that got Edinburg High booted from the playoffs despite its win last Thursday against PSJA High, then just go to Youtube and type in “Edinburg Bobcat Emmanuel Duron.” The vids will pop up at the top of the screen. The one sourced to MonitorNews has already been viewed 2.9 million times.

The comments offer a sampling of how people feel about the assault captured on video: “So he’s gonna physically assault someone every time something doesn’t go his way?” Or another: “That kid just lost his scholarship and likely more. Horrible decision.”

Duron, a top RGV high school defensive lineman and a winning wrestler who weighs in excess of 220 pounds, was ejected from the game last Thursday after being called for a personal foul (late hit on the QB) and unsportsmanlike conduct (talking trash to either the QB or the ref who flew the flag).

Twelve seconds later, Emmanuel Duron was back on the field, but this time he looked like he was intent on knocking off Referee Fred Garcia’s head, running at him at full speed, knocking him off his feet and sending him flying. As Duron’s fellow players were walking him off the field, while the ref lay there motionless, it almost looked like the rogue player was yelling something at Garcia, as if he was still looking to engage the ref who clocks in at approximately 60 years.

To make matters worse, the Duron hit was akin to a sucker punch. He ran into Garcia from the blind rear right side. Just a second shy of getting hit, on the video, one can see Garcia turn in Duron’s direction, but that still left him no time to prepare for the full-scale blitz heading his way. Reportedly, the ref was checked out and later driven home by family.

His daughter took to social media and wrote: “He’s tough, and I’m happy he was able to walk off the field on his own. Others aren’t always so lucky.”

Actually, attacks on football referees are relatively rare. Do an online search for “High school football players.” On GOOGLE, one has to get to page 4 of the page searches to get past the Edinburg incident. Next one that pops up is an incident from five years ago with one of the San Antonio high schools, where two players appeared to target a ref for a bad call. They said one of the assistant coaches had told them to do that – “Guys, quick, over here” – and that the white ref used racist language toward the players. The assistant coach resigned, and the two players who went after the ref were made ineligible for sports for the rest of the year. The ref denied the racist-language charge.

Aside from that one story dated 2015, the Duron story from last Thursday still takes up all of GOOGLE’s search pages until I stopped counting at page 10. Remember, there are usually 10 story headlines per page. Meaning, the Duron hit (later charged with misdemeanor assault) has gone viral, getting mention on most news and sports organizations from coast to coast. For Edinburg CISD, not only is the publicity the sort you never want to see, much less the toll it took on the ref, but now even though it beat PSJA High, it’s now out of the playoffs.

According to a press release sent out Friday, Edinburg CISD decided to remove the Bobcats from the playoffs, but that was after the UIL had made it clear that if the team wasn’t yanked from post-season play on a voluntary basis, the University Interscholastic League, which governs high school sports, would do it for them.

What about the out-of-control Emmanuel Duron, you ask? According to Edinburg CISD, “We will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident. The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation until such investigation is complete.”

Officers with the Edinburg CISD made the arrest and took Duron, 18, to municipal court where he was arraigned and handed a $10,000 bond. As of Friday afternoon, the former Edinburg Bobcat defensive lineman was still behind bars.

What do you think should happen to Duron? In both criminal court and school athletics? The assault, after all, was captured on video. It’s no case of he said/he said. The assault happened. Also, do you think the entire team should be made to pay for the actions of one player? What sort of disciplinary history did Duron have? That could tell us a lot. If he has a history of problems at schools, fights, disciplinary problems, then no matter how good of an athlete he is, should he even be allowed to suit up?

Of course, some school folks would not only say, “Yeah,” but “Hell yeah. This is Texas football, son.”

Others, the old-school crowd for example, would look around and they’d ask, “How did we get to a point in time when some 18-year-old high school kid weighing more than 200 pounds would literally blindside a 59-year-old football ref who no doubt already has some degenerative arthritis setting in, after being evicted from a game for a personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct? How does that even compute? Just knock the ref off his feet?”


In my day, we respected the coaches, we shared the same respect for the refs, and we knew they spoke to each other. The penalty for what happened last Thursday should be drastic, and it should set an example, some people are saying. Let’s see how it plays out moving forward. For now, though, the Bobcats post-season play has come to a sad end, thanks to the violent actions of one player against a defenseless 59-year-old ref, who may or may not suffer long-lasting effects from the vicious hit he took on the field.

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