Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Report: Florida High School Football Coach Accused Of Head-Butting And Blowing Snot-Rockets On Players, Telling One To Kill Himself
Screenshot: First Coast News

This is a crazy story, first reported by the Palatka Daily News, in Florida: Randell Gene Owens, a former assistant football coach and physical education teacher at Palatka High School in Putnam County, is accused of, shit, just a whole wild catalogue of alarming abuses directed at his players.

An administrative complaint from the Florida Department of Education, which can be found below, says during the 2017-2018 school year alone Owens head-butted a 16-year-old player on the team, and blew a snot-rocket onto a 15-year-old, and told another player “that he was not a good football player and that ‘he should commit suicide’ or words to that effect.” Somehow those manage to not be the most troubling accusations in here:

[Owens stood] on the toilet seat and peeped* over the bathroom stall at [redacted], a 16-year-old male student, and watched while [he] used the facilities.


*The report says “peeped,” but down the page in this summary from First Coast News it is written as “urinating over a stall at a 16-year-old student,” which honestly would not be super surprising once you’ve crossed the punitive-snot-rocket threshold. Probably safe to assume someone misread the word “peeped” as “peed.”

Football players expect to endure a certain amount of ritual torture and humiliation as part of the “toughening up” that is standard across football culture, but the mad-dog shit alleged in this complaint is so obviously beyond the pale that only the most rabid football psycho on Earth could possibly mount any kind of defense of it. A timeline laid out in the First Coast News report details a few things that are grimly familiar to anyone who has followed reports out of, say, Maryland—Owens reportedly played favorites with players and coaches and forced “players with medical issues to ‘go out and play’”—but so far as I know no one has yet accused DJ Durkin of head-butting anyone or watching over the top of the stall as one of his players takes a dump.

Owens resigned from all his various jobs at Palatka High—which reportedly included dean of the school—back in December 2017. In June of this year he was permanently banned from teaching by the Florida DOE. According to the administrative complaint, Owens was charged with violating two rules and a statute, and waived his right to a public hearing and voluntarily surrendered his educator’s certificate. The full complaint can be read below.


H/t Joe

Staff Writer, Deadspin

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