The San Diego youth football coach arrested for assaulting a rival coach after a game Saturday has been suspended indefinitely and faces a lifetime ban according to a league spokesperson.
Saivaauli "Coach Sa" Savaiinea, 32, was arrested for felony battery after police said he punched and kicked Mark Cannon after a game at Lincoln High School Saturday morning.
Eastlake Panthers coach Cannon, 32, tripped over his own feet and fell to the concrete ground, causing him to lose consciousness, police said.
Witnesses said Savaiinea believed Cannon, who was attending the game to support his nephew, was trying to recruit one of his best players, police said.
Teal Cannon said her son did not try and recruit the 11-year-old player but told the boy he was impressed with how he handled himself on the field.
“It was a misunderstanding that really got out of hand,” she said.
Mark may be a big guy, his mother said, but it is not in his nature to get into confrontations with people.
The argument that began with cussing quickly turned physical, Teal Cannon said, and the 11-year-old player literally got between the two men to try and stop the fight but was pushed aside.
Cannon told his mother that he could tell by the first couple of swings that Savaiinea may have had some martial arts training.
Teal Cannon said there's no place for this type of violence in youth sports.
“I don’t know what was going through this man’s mind,” she said.
“If you’re going to coach kids… you need to be able to handle your aggression and your anger in other ways,” she said. “That’s not something any child should see from anyone whether it’s the coach, the parents or anyone.”
Cannon is in fair condition and suffering from a lot of pain, according to his mother.
Savaiinea was booked into county jail. James Vieth, spokesman for National Youth Sports Football, said Savaiinea has been suspended indefinitely and will likely receive a lifetime ban from the organization because of his actions.
Vieth released the following statement:
NYS is very saddened and disturbed by the news of the altercation that took place outside our Lincoln High School Tackle Football game site this past Saturday. The unconscionable behavior that took place will not be tolerated at any of our game sites in any of the cities in which NYS has leagues. Children and parent safety is the top priority for all of us and even one act of random violence is unacceptable. The NYS coach involved has been banned from participation in any NYS league pending the outcome of the local police investigation, which NYS will cooperate fully with.
Although this was a very isolated incident, NYS will take any and all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of our participants, coaches and parents. Senseless violence has no place in our society and certainly not at youth sporting events.
Since there is an on-going investigation, we cannot comment any further on this particular situation. However we will continue to strive to provide a safe, friendly environment for all families to be able to play sports in the City of San Diego.