Robbinsville wrestler accused of beating teammate: I never meant any harm
As a young Robbinsville wrestler detailed the bullying and beating he alleges he suffered at the hands of an older teammate — including being repeatedly hit with a jump rope with a metal tip — the older student said he never meant any harm.
Both statements were made Monday night, as the older student, senior Dylan James, offered a public apology before the township's board of education. James has been suspended from the wrestling team after an alleged incident involving sophomore Braydon Mackey.
Supporters also came to the older student's defense Monday night, asking school officials to give him another chance.
A recording of the meeting was posted online by the Robbinsville Board of Education, though it has since been taken down. Superintendent Steven Mayer was out of his office on Friday and did not yet return a phone call about the removal of the audio.
On the audio segment, James can be heard offering his apology and asking to be reinstated: "At no time did I mean to be malicious or harmful, for I now see how my actions were construed and I cannot apologize enough."
On his NCSA recruitment page, James writes that his dream is to wrestle for a division 1 college, win an NCAA national championship and wrestle in the Olympics. His record in 2015 was 34-7 in matches with 20 pins.
James’ father told the Board his son was only “messing around” with a teammate. He added that his son's behavior was not "malicious" and offered apologies for his son.
But Mackey told the board about repeated bullying incidents over the last two years, and said the jumprope incident was the one that got Mackey booted from the team.
"I've asked him many times, 'What have I ever done to you?' and he just tells me 'Shut up,'" Mackey told the board.
His mother, Shannon Mackey, told the board "all he wanted to be part of what a team. One person took that away from my son."
Mayer would not comment directly about the incident but told New Jersey 101.5 earlier that the district has “no tolerance for harassment, intimidation, or bullying” and will immediately begin a district-wide review of “our culture, procedures, and processes to ensure they are proactive and are always consistent with best practices in maintaining healthy norms and that they promote a safe and secure environment in every aspect of our school community.”
The board met again on Wednesday in a closed hearing to decide on James' appeal of his suspension according to NJ Advance Media. The result of that meeting has not been made public.