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Chicago coaches, players charged with battery for hazing

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Two Chicago football coaches and four of their players have been charged with misdemeanor battery in connection with frightening hazing allegations at one of the city's public schools.

According to the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and other sources, two football coaches at Chicago (Ill.) Prosser Career Academy and four of their varsity players were charged in connection with the hazing of another player. The Tribune reported that the incident occurred on Oct. 18 and involved the charged players beating a teammate with a belt while the coaches encouraged them to continue.

Of the six being charged, the two most striking, for obvious reasons, are 47-year-old Tom Cipriani and 21-year-old Jonathan Manning, who were also charged with endangering the health of a child and -- in Manning's case -- another undisclosed misdemeanor charge for capturing the entire sick incident on tape.

The Sun-Times reported that both coaches have been barred from the school's campus while their case is ongoing. Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV said that the four students involved are all facing a 10-day suspension and possible expulsion from the school.

Still, despite the seriousness of the pending criminal charges against the Prosser coaches and athletes, some players and other students at the school told WLS-TV that the entire incident was overblown.

"They always just playing around. There was no harm to him. He didn't get no bruises or nothing," football player Antonio Hillard told the ABC affiliate.

Added student Nikel Webster: "It's football, it's not no soft sport, everybody got to go through it. If you don't like it, don't play."

Evidently the Cook County courts didn't agree with that assessment, with the two coaches and four players facing an uncertain future in Chicago public schools as a result of their lack of judgment.

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