He’s the former coach responsible for cheerleaders undergoing painful splits in a viral video. He lost his job from East High School, and he has been disgraced on a national level. Now Ozell Williams is telling his side of the story in an interview with KCNC-TV. He said he did nothing wrong.
The video showed the girls in audible pain while maintaining the splits. It also depicted them being held by their teammates and Williams. He said that the girls agreed to perform the splits beforehand, and that the footage was shown out of context. Williams said he told the cheerleaders this exercise was optional, and that this would be painful. They knew what they were getting into, and that he didn’t hurt them, he said. (At the end of the report, KCNC reporter Maass pointed out that a 13-year-old girl said she sustained serious injuries.) The cheerleaders agreed to hold the stretch for 30 seconds, Williams said.
“I know it helps them,” he said. “They know it helps them. That’s why we’re doing it.”
Maass pressed him on the fact that it looked like Williams held the girls down.
“It does,” the coach said.
He insisted he did nothing wrong. Williams, who was fired by Denver Public Schools in August, said this has stood in the way of his getting jobs, and opened himself to hate mail online.
“I want to be very clear that this technique is dangerous and unacceptable,” said Denver Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg last year.
William is considering an unspecified legal action, according to KCNC.
Due to the splits incident, The East High School principal retired, and the athletic director resigned.
[Screengrab via KCNC-TV]