A high school basketball coach in a small Pennsylvania town is making international headlines after multiple videos captured him head butting an official during a game Tuesday night.
Jerry Devine, who coaches at Neshaminy High in Langhorne, may have been trying to channel his inner Bob Knight. Instead he ended up with something closer to Zinedine Zidane.
Knight was an iconic college basketball coach most known for his legendary temper, while Zidane famously ended a stellar soccer career by head butting Marco Materazzi during the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The incident involving Devine incident occurred during the final minute of Neshaminy’s game against Pennsbury High, when Devine came out to argue an offensive foul call. His team was trailing by four points.
The argument became heated, and Devine was issued a technical foul. That’s when video shows Devine appearing to head butt the referee, knocking him to the ground.
Devine was subsequently ejected, and Pennsbury would go on to win the game 49-42. Police say they will conduct an investigation into the alleged head butt now that the video came come to light.
“No one involved in this incident has even reached out to the police department as of now. So, all we have is the video. But because we have that we will do an investigation,” Chief Joe Bartorilla of the Middletown Township Police Department told NBC10 in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Neshaminy School District has issued a statement saying they intend to investigate the incident as well.
“The administration at Neshaminy School District is conducting a thorough review of an incident at the varsity basketball game Tuesday evening (January 5, 2016) involving coach Jerry Devine and a referee,” the statement reads.
“Appropriate action was taken at the game following that incident, and further measures may follow depending on the outcome of that review. As this is a personnel matter, we will not be able to comment on the specifics of any possible disciplinary action until that review process is complete.
There are those who believe the head butt may have been accidental. Chris Ermer, a broadcaster for radio station WBCB 1490, which was livestreaming the game online and whose camera was among those wthat captured the incident, told ESPN he doesn’t think Devine meant to make contact with the official’s head.
“The coach went crazy,” Ermer said. “He came out and made contact with the official and took him off his feet. He was indicating with his body language that he didn’t mean to do it.”
“I think he intended to get in the guy’s chest – but as he did it, he was off balance and went down. You can’t say he didn’t intend to make contact, but I don’t think he was trying to head butt the ref.”
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