Video showing a Texas High School football coach bribing a referee after a game has been making the rounds on social media this week. The game between Calhoun Lavaca and B.F. Terry took place last Thursday, and Calhoun won 43-20. Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker adamantly denies that he was giving the referee money. It turns out that all Calhoun was handing the referee was a poker chip of no value.
“Prior to the game Thursday night, there were poker chips laying on the field,” Whitaker said. “These poker chips, we found out later, were being used by one of the bands that uses the field. They use them as markers. Prior to the game, Terry football coach Tim Tekyl — he and I have been friends for many years, since the mid-90’s — he reaches down and picks up one of those chips, hands it to me, and says, ‘Put this in your pocket. It will bring you good luck tonight.’ This was all in good humor.”
“And so, after the game, again all in good humor, I reached out and handed the poker chip to the official,” Whitaker continued. “What you don’t see on the video is when he passes by, he sees it’s a cheap poker chip. He starts laughing, I start laughing, we point at each other, and I walked off. That is it. Coach Tekyl can tell you the same story. The official has been contacted. He has the poker chip in his bag. It’s a meaningless poker chip with no value whatsoever. He has it in the bag with his whistle. That’s the story. If social media wants to make this out to be something else, that’s not true.”
Whitaker simply wanted to return the poker chip to Tekyl at the conclusion of the game, but as his team won by 23 points he didn’t want to come off as insensitive. So, Whitaker handed the chip to the ref instead. It all just goes to show kids: Don’t believe everything you see on social media.
Whitaker said a report has already been filed to the UIL with everybody’s side of the story included. In retrospect, what began as an innocent joke quickly took off to the point where Whitaker was fielding media interview requests throughout Tuesday afternoon.