JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Some parents who first raised concerns about a Murrah basketball coach whipping their sons with a weight lifting belt now have a change of heart.
His players and their parents met Tuesday night in Jackson.
Some of the same parents who brought to light Murrah Basketball Coach Marlon Dorsey's use of a weightlifting belt to whip players don't want him to lose his job.
Gary Love told WLBT Friday that he witnessed the teens suffer physical and verbal abuse as punishment for not correctly running plays in practice.
Now Love says while he disagrees with Dorsey's tactics he believes he was trying to make the athletes better students.
"Of course I was upset about it. After I took a deep breath and thought about it. I didn't see any ill toward him. I spoke with Coach Dorsey. He apologized to me and that was great. That was enough for me," said Love.
Nine players stood behind Love as he spoke to the media.
They said they also stand with the coach.
"He's still a good coach either way it is. He's just trying to help us. He's going about it the wrong way, but he's just trying to help us," said senior point guard Aldarrio Alexander.
"I don't think he should be fired. personally I grew up without my father, and I never had a person like that to come to me like that as a father figure. I appreciate that because it's making me better," said senior power forward Markquale Coleman.
But Joseph Horton does not support Dorsey.
His son said he was whipped.
"I don't like it, as far as him putting his hands on my kid because corporal punishment has been banned and discipline doesn't start when you get your kid in the gym. It starts at the house, and I don't approve of it," said Horton.
"He just asks you to turn around and bend over and gives you three licks on the behind," said Horton's son Justin Ford.
Justin was asked how often it happened to him.
"Like once every day, once or twice every day," answered Ford.
Parents took their concerns to the school board.
District officials said the allegations are being investigated.
Dorsey entered the closed door meeting with parents from the rear of the building on Silas Brown Street Tuesday night and did not address the media.
In a written statement released Sunday Dorsey apologized for his actions.
The first year varsity basketball coach has reportedly told parents that he is suspended with pay.
The Jackson Public School district banned corporal punishment in 1991.
Murrah plays it season opener against Greenville Wesson Saturday at home.
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