Mississippi high school basketball coach sued over whipping players

By Howard Ballou  - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Murrah High School basketball coach who whipped his players with a heavy weight lifting belt has been hit with a federal lawsuit.

WLBT has obtained video of Coach Marlon Dorsey whipping one of his players in what the player's attorney, Lisa Ross calls an act that served no legitimate purpose whatsoever.

In the video released to WLBT by attorney Lisa Ross, you can see and hear Murrah High School basketball coach Marlon Dorsey strike one of his players on the backside at least three times with a heavy leather belt used by weightlifters.

Ross called the action appalling saying, "Teachers do not have a right to hit you, and teachers especially do not have a right to hit you when you violate no rules."

Equally appalling, said Ross, is the language the first year head coach allegedly uses as he whips the player.

She said, "It seems to be that the coach says I'm gonna get your ass this time or I'm getting your ass this time."

On Nov. 2, the players and their parents met to discuss the coach.

Some of them accepted a written apology in which Dorsey claims his actions were punishment for bad behavior. Others like Joseph Horton felt Coach Dorsey was way out of line.

Horton said, "He can't give me a good reason for putting his hand on my kid."

In her federal lawsuit on behalf of three of the players, Ross says claims Coach Dorsey made about the players' behavior are false.

Ross said, "There will be simply no evidence to show that any of my clients ever stole a cell phone; that they were disruptive in the classroom or that they disrespected any teacher, administrator or any other student. If they had done so, they were supposed to do a write-up and they have not received any sort of write-up."

The whippings allegedly have been going on since September, but the players didn't report them for fear of being kicked off the basketball team.

We are told Coach Marlon Dorsey's punishment for his actions is 28 days suspension without pay.

Ross says she is seeking injunctive relief to prevent the whippings in the future and compensatory damages.

JPS attorney Joann Sheppard was unavailable for comment and we could not reach Coach Marlon Dorsey for his response.

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