A California high school football coach is out of a job after he appeared in a rap music video, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Otis Newell was fired as the defensive coordinator at Simi Valley High School because the district objected to his portrayal of what appears to be a drug dealer operating out of an ice cream truck, according to outlets. Another coach who saw the hip-hop video, titled "U Need It, I Got It," told officials about it.
Newell, raised in the Watts section of Los Angeles, explained that the imagery represented what he faced as a youth. "It’s a depiction of pretty much how I grew up, and there’s no secret that in the city where I come from, drugs and gang violence were everyday parts of my life," he told KCAL 9 and sister station KCBS in Los Angeles.
Newell, a father of two whose wife is a teacher also working in the Simi Valley Unified School District, explained to TV station KTLA that he overcame his background to earn two college degrees, and that he set a positive example for his players.
Several former players confirmed as much with the station, saying he motivated them to get to college.
Although the representation in the hip-hop video is still fictional, the district did not waver from its decision. In an email Newell shared with several news organizations, the district wrote:
Although the music video and song lyrics are not reflective of how you are currently living your life as a husband, father, or coach, the images and activities portrayed in the video are ones we cannot support.
The note then wished him luck.
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