Mississippi players file suit over alleged whipping by basketball coach
Three high school basketball players have filed a lawsuit in Jackson, Miss., alleging that their coach whipped them with a leather weightlifting belt during practice last month.
Marlon Dorsey, the boys coach at Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss., has been on leave since late last month and acknowledged paddling players in a statement to the Clarion-Ledger. The school district said in a statement that it cannot discuss the matter "because of employee confidentiality rights."
In his statement to the paper, Dorsey wrote:
"I took it upon myself to save these young men from the destruction of self and what society has accepted and become silent to the issues our students are facing on a daily basis. I am deeply remorseful of my actions to help our students."
Lisa Ross, the lawyer for the players, contends that the video clip shows a player who is bent over being struck by Dorsey, a first-year coach, with a belt. The unnamed players contend they were physically and verbally abused by Dorsey after running plays incorrectly. They say the belt weighed from five to 10 pounds.
"It was very forceful," Jason Hubbard Sr., head of the booster club, told the newspaper. He said that he saw his son being hit. "It wasn't like a spanking, it was a whipping. There's a difference."
Hailicia Francis said her son, Daniel, was afraid to speak out.
"What hurts me so bad is you have intimidated my child so bad that he couldn't come to either one of us ... I entrusted this man with my child, and this is what you do to me."
The coach is not without support among parents.
"He has made them go to study hall, makes them turn in their homework and makes them give weekly reports of their school work," Gary Love, whose son plays for Dorsey, told the paper. "It's been all positive with one bad incident. He made a huge mistake, but he is human.
"It was poor judgment, but he is an outstanding person, determined and driven to make those kids better. I think we all need to step back and give him his job back."
What would your reaction be if this happened to your child?
| November 12, 2010; 6:51 AM ET
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