Apple Valley wrestling coach Jim Jackson spoke with the Star Tribune on Monday about a report involving an alleged assault by an Eagles wrestler. He followed up with a statement about the incident, which happened in early January during an event in Rochester. Here it is, in full:
I would like to address the recent media issue regarding the Apple Valley Wrestling Program,
Recently, the media has published a story about a member of the Apple Valley wrestling team being charged for his actions at The Clash in Rochester. Let me begin by stating that I take full responsibility for what transpired at The Clash. I am extremely sorry for what happened. I sincerely regret the injury to a fellow wrestler and the negativity this incident has brought to our sport. In a situation like this, the only thing a person can do is apologize, learn from the event, do not to repeat it and move forward.
Please know that the student-athlete involved in this event was removed from our team the day of the incident. I never thought about taking his name off our roster. Like any program, there are other names on the roster that have decided to no longer wrestle who came out at the beginning of the season. Removing his name from a list was not a priority for me at the time. Looking back we should have removed his name along with the other kids who are no longer on the team so there would be no misconceptions. People who follow wrestling know that this student-athlete has not competed since that Friday in Rochester.
That being said, it has always been my philosophy to teach/coach/help all kids. It is real easy to coach a great kid, the kids who have supportive parents, and the perfect home life. That’s the easy part. The challenge comes in working with student-athletes from all backgrounds, races, colors and creeds. In my opinion, a school should NEVER give up on a kid. It is our job as educators to work with ALL kids. We should work with all kids so hopefully they can become productive citizens.
Due to privacy issues, I cannot get into specifics about this student. I will say that he had a place where he felt part of a team and a family and he no longer has that connection. I understand people have right to their own opinions and I also understand the animosity towards Apple Valley. My only request is that people do not pass judgment on this high school student. There is an old saying “Do not judge a man until you have walked in his shoes.” I would imagine that very few have walked in his shoes.
Head Wrestling Coach
Apple Valley High School
Apple Valley MN