KEY POINTS

  • The coach who hit a 9-year-old player twice in Florida is facing child abuse charges, prosecutors announced
  • Several sports personalities condemned the actions of the football coach
  • The child's parents did not want to file charges but video footage may be enough for prosecutors to get a conviction

A youth football coach who was caught on camera hitting a 9-year-old player will be charged with child abuse, prosecutors said.

A coach identified as Gerrell Williams came under fire after a video surfaced of him smacking the minor twice at the American Youth Football (AYF) National Championships in Kissimmee, Florida, on Dec. 7.

Several popular sports icons condemned Williams, who also served as a counselor for the Chatham County Sheriff's Office detention center, for his actions. That list included NBA star LeBron James and former NFL players Bruce Smith and Shannon Sharpe, TMZ reported.

"The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office along with our local state attorney’s office have reviewed this case and the decision has been made that charges for child abuse will be filed, regardless of parent’s decision not to press charges," Major Jacob Ruiz said. 

He branded the coach's actions as "despicable" and said there is "zero-tolerance" for the abuse of a child. 

Williams has since apologized for his actions. The video of that incident can be viewed here.

An investigation was launched after videos of Williams made the rounds on social media. Williams was dismissed from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office detention center not long after and was immediately banned from all American Youth Football activities, per a previous report from TMZ.

"The coach has been banned indefinitely from all future AYF events and activities," AYF executive vice president Adam Laufer said. AYF is a massive youth football league with a presence in all 50 states and six countries.

The mother of the 9-year-old did not want to press charges when investigators asked her about possible courses of action. However, prosecutors are confident that the videos alone, together with some statements from witnesses, would be enough to prove Williams’ guilt.

After apologizing on social media, Williams admitted that he hit the child.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was outraged when he saw the footage. He said that he would have charged at the guy and fought him had he been there.

"If I [was] there and it's not even my kid we gone have more than words for sure," James said.

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