Former McKinley coach still faces possibility of criminal charges

The attorney for Marcus Wattley, who was fired as the McKinley coach, does not believe the coach will be charged.
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:38 PM EDT
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CANTON, Ohio (WOIO) - Former Canton McKinley football coach Marcus Wattley is still fighting to get his job back as the head coach of the Bulldogs.

But, he still faces the possibility of facing criminal charges as the Canton Police said they are still investigating.

Wattley was fired by Canton schools after, as a disciplinary measure, he had a player sit in the middle of a room, while other players worked out, and had him eat a pepperoni pizza.

Eating pork is against the religious beliefs of the student-athlete involved, but Wattley and his attorney said that once Wattley was made aware of the young man’s beliefs he offered him chicken nuggets, and it was the young man’s decision to take the pepperoni off the pizza and eat it.

Peter Pattakos is the attorney for Wattley and released a statement to 19 News, regarding the police investigation that read in part:

“Canton police are only investigating this matter because the school district reported it as a crime to cover up for their own apparently intentional failure to investigate before terminating Coach Wattley and his staff based on the false accusations by the players’ attorney. We will be shocked if this investigation results in criminal charges.”

Canton Schools superintendent Jeff Talbert said the district filed a report with the police in an effort to be comprehensive and with the students well being in mind and stands behind the investigation that led to the district firing Wattley.

“The investigation established that the behavior of the then coaching staff constituted inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive behavior and it was unbecoming of the teaching profession,” Talbert said in a video statement.

The district held another disciplinary hearing on Monday and will hold another this week before making a decision regarding the in-school job status of the fired football coaches.

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