West Memphis superintendent apologizes, says he didn’t spit on game official

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — West Memphis School District Superintendent Jon Collins has released a statement after being accused of bad sportsmanship following a game.

"On Sept. 20, I used some inappropriate language while criticizing an official after a West Memphis football game. I sincerely apologize to that official, to our student-athletes and to our supporters for using that language in the heat of the moment. I voluntarily gave up my post of the Arkansas Activities Association board because mistakes have consequences," he said. "That said, some of the allegations against me, including one that I spat at an official, are simply not true. I take responsibility for what I did, but I want to be very clear about what I didn't do."

Collins was accused of spitting on a game official following the Academies of West Memphis’ defeat to the Wynne football team at a Sept. 20 game.

According to the Democrat-Gazette, Collins resigned as second vice president of the AAA on Tuesday, although the AAA didn’t respond to an email on Wednesday. In addition, the paper reported he won’t be allowed to attend any West Memphis football games for the remainder of the month and won’t be given sideline access for any sports for two years.

“I’m very appalled in a way,” parent Lesley Darnell said.

“The other ones will probably think, ‘Maybe I can do that too when I get mad,'” Academies of West Memphis student Cameron Wilborn said.

Wilborn and his family said they’re worried about the example Collins’ alleged bad behavior sets for students and athletes at the school.

“Taking matters into your own hands. You don’t like something, do something about it there, and that’s not a good way to show the kids,” Gary Wilborn said.

West Memphis Councilman Wayne Croom is weighing in as well.

“That’s not good. I’m just gonna say that. It’s just not good," Croom said. "You get too involved in the emotional side of the game, and you’ve got to control your emotions."

While Wilborn doesn’t condone spitting on game officials, he said he can understand why it might have happened.

“You’re throwing all this type of force to your teammates to make sure that they win and that they lose, I guess all that built up stress just came out eventually on him,” Wilborn said.

Collins remains superintendent of the West Memphis School District.

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