WAYNE, NJ (CBSNewYork) — Nine New Jersey high school football players who were suspended after being arrested for assault will be allowed to play in Friday’s playoff game.
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Early Friday morning, the school board reportedly voted unanimously to allow the nine members of the Wayne Hills team to take the field in the playoff game against Paramus.
The decision came after hundreds of people, including dozens of Wayne Hills football players, packed a meeting Thursday night to voice their opinions to the school board.
On Wednesday, the acting superintendent suspended nine players of the team after they were arrested in connection with the assault of two students at a rival high school.
The players were allowed to participate in last weekend’s game despite their arrests, but Superintendent Michael Roth later decided they couldn’t participate in the playoff game.
It was an issue that divided the community.
“You’re not hurting nine young men here. You’re hurting a whole community,” resident Chris Connolly said.
Wayne Hills coach Chris Olsen said he and his family have received insults and threats over the arrested players playing last week.
“No one in this room condones fighting or any type of violence. I think that’s a given,” Olsen said. “This week is a nightmare. My wife and my family have been called everything in the book. ‘You’re a disgrace. You’re a pig.'”
The nine players were charged last month, including star wide receiver Andrew Monaghan. Police said Monaghan and the other eight, who are not being named because they are under the age 18, assaulted two teens after a party. One victim was knocked unconscious.
The school board reversed its decision to allow the students to play after a four hour closed door meeting.
Around 1 a.m., they announced the decision to a group of about 30 people.
“The evidence presented at the hearing which the board and the superintendent had not previously had access to, raised substantial concern regarding the nature and extent of the involvement of some of the students in the incident,” said board president Donald Pavlak Jr.
The playoff game between Wayne Hills and Paramus kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. in Wayne.
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