Fired Canton McKinley football head coach Marcus Wattley, five assistants sue for defamation—Canton Repository

Former McKinley High School head football coach Marcus Wattley and five of his former assistant coaches are suing the nine people they say have damaged their reputations by spreading the false accusation that they punished a football player by forcing him to eat a pepperoni pizza against his religious beliefs.

Peter Pattakos, the lead attorney representing the coaches, filed a 67-page complaint Monday in Stark County Common Pleas Court accusing Canton City school officials, the player’s father and attorney and a former McKinley football assistant coach of defamation …

Pattakos on Monday said the defamation lawsuit was filed to remedy the damage that has been done to the coaches’ reputations, but to also help ensure that other educators who “go above and beyond to help their students do not have their careers destroyed as a result of misrepresentations of their extraordinary efforts by corrupt opportunists.”

Pattakos also accuses each of them of having an ulterior motive that fueled their desire to smear the coaches’ reputations.

The Canton Repository contacted each of the defendants Monday and they either did not return a message seeking comment or declined to comment. …

Pattakos, in a statement Monday, wrote that the school officials have had multiple opportunities to fix their mistakes.

“[Canton School Board president John Rinaldi and Co.] might believe they can hide from accountability to the voters who elected them, but they can’t hide the truth from Ohio’s court system …,” Pattakos said.

Click here to view a copy of the filed complaint

Click here to view a copy of the full Canton Repository report