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Coach who hit youth football player on sidelines has charges against him dropped completely

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

In October, a Utah man received nation-wide attention after he took out a youth football player who encroached upon his sideline with a raised forearm. Readers here on Prep Rally and elsewhere were outraged with his actions, and while Nathan Harris escaped any federal charges, he was brought up on charges by his local jurisdiction.

Now those charges have also been dropped, leaving Harris free to return to life as normal -- as much as it can ever be normal again -- some nine months after his controversial actions left a youth football player injured.

According to the Deseret News, it may be inconsistencies in the degree to which the player in question was injured that helped Harris extricate himself from a sentence that would have made his life much more difficult in the future.

The Deseret News reported that Harris’ defense team was able to produce film that showed the player Harris had hit with a forearm along the sidelines returning to the game action later in the same contest, a fact which countered claims made by the injured pre-teen and others that the victim had suffered a concussion which forced him out of action for a month.

"We're really grateful for all the family support, the friend support and the people who believed in me and my character," Harris told the Deseret News. "It's just nice that the truth has prevailed. We can start putting our life and my reputation back together."

The 38-year-old father of six said that he had no immediate plans to return to coaching youth football, though he did not rule out such a return outright.

However, Harris did raise concerns about the anonymity of internet commenters in his first comments after the charges against him were dismissed, claiming that a rush to judgment against him had affected his family for the foreseeable future, even in the aftermath of his complete acquittal.

"Nobody is going to go and take all my mug shots off Google. Nobody is going to take all the negative, nasty, terrible comments off," Harris told the Deseret News. "They're playing Monday morning quarterback like they would have known or done something different. It amazes me how judgmental people can be and how safe they feel, hiding behind a computer screen.

"You can't really move on or put it in the past until it's official. Now, we can just go about the everyday challenges that we face."

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