La Canada safety Angel Salazar has white substance washed from face by trainer shortly after incident in which La Canada accuses a Salesian player of smearing some type of sports cream under Salazar’s face mask.
La Canada High School is pondering its next move, if any, after the CIF-Southern Section said it will take no action in regard to an alleged incident that took place during the two schools’ football game on Sept. 4, during which La Canada claims one of its players had some type of sports creme rubbed in his face by a Salesian player following a play.
On the play in question, La Canada alleges that a Salesian player reached under the face mask of Spartans safety Angel Salazar and smeared some type of white substance that La Canada claims is a sports cream, similar to Icy Hot.
Salazar immediately left the game in discomfort and had his face flushed on La Canada’s sideline by athletic trainers. The situation prompted La Canada head coach Ryan Zerbel to stop the game and tell officials what happened. However, no flags were thrown and no players ejected following about a 10-minute delay.
“He (Salazar) was late to the tackle and was one of the first ones to be getting up off the pile and the kid from Salesian comes over, and the film kind of shows, this kid making contact with him (Salazar) and putting his under face mask and kind of doing a rubbing motion,” Zerbel said. “Then you see Angel get up and kind of push him away. Then, Angel came off the field with a bunch of white sports creme all over his face.”
Both schools submitted information to CIF, but without any penalties called or subsequent ejections during the game, CIF had no choice but to refer the matter back to the schools. Salesian won the game, 27-0.
“There is nothing in the bylaws that allow us to go back and retroactively eject a player that wasn’t ejected during the game,” CIF-Southern Section spokesperson Thom Simmons said. “The officials conducted their own on-field investigation and it wasn’t conclusive. So basically, the only people that can remedy or put some type of sanctions together are the two schools.”
Salesian principal Alex Chacon said that following its own investigation, his school did not issue any disciplinary action.
“We feel as a school that we would be investigating any unsportsmanlike matter as it relates to any of our students or staff, regardless of whether or not a flag was thrown or a kid was ejected,” Chacon said. “And this is obviously a pretty significant allegation. The only reason I was involved is because I was personally at the game and was able to attest to whatever information was being given on both school’s behalf.
“We ultimately did submit our findings of the investigation after about six days of reviewing videos and watching the entire game. I think I watched the game four times on different types of media and video that was taken on the field.”
Beside what he claims is evidence of a Salesian player reaching under Salazar’s and doing a smearing-type motion, Zerbel said that the same Salesian player also had a white substance clearly visible on his black game pants. The La Canada Valley Sun’s website also reported that the Salesian player was seen washing his hands and removing his gloves after the alleged incident.
With CIF and Salesian taking no action, Zerbel said that he will meet with his school’s principal and athletic director to decide what the next step is. He was unaware whether Salazar’s parents were considering any legal action.
“It’s a bad situation to be in,” Zerbel said. “I feel as a coach that I have parents who entrust me with their young men. I look at these young men as my own children. We spend so much time together. And I just feel like the system is letting down the kids right now.
“There’s things in place to keep kids safe and keep integrity in the game. Personally, I don’t know of any other avenue to take. I don’t know what else I can do as a coach. During the game, I’m asking the official to go check the kid and no one does anything. What do we do from here? I know it’s an extremely frustrating process for me and I can only imagine how his parents feel.”