The American football player injured by a dirty tackle during an intercollegiate game earlier this month has filed a criminal complaint with the police against two former coaches of a rival team, sources familiar with the case said Thursday.
The criminal complaint by Kwansei Gakuin University quarterback Kosei Okuno alleges former Nihon University head coach Masato Uchida and former assistant coach Tsutomu Inoue instructed one of their players to injure him.
The police were already investigating the matter based on a victim report previously filed by the injured player, but filing a criminal complaint indicates the victim is seeking punishment.
The criminal complaint was filed along with a petition signed by thousands of people seeking leniency over the criminal responsibility of Taisuke Miyagawa, the Nihon University linebacker who committed the flagrant illegal hit, citing the “social sanctions” he has faced.
Miyagawa explained at a press conference last week that he followed instructions of his coaches to “crush” the player.
At a separate news conference, Uchida denied giving such instructions. Inoue has admitted to telling Miyagawa to “crush the quarterback,” but said he only meant “play without fear,” not injure someone.
(Uchida (R) and Inoue hold a press conference in Tokyo on May 23)
Earlier this week, Uchida and Inoue received a lifetime ban from the ruling body for college football in the capital and surrounding area.
The Kantoh Collegiate Football Association ordered the heaviest possible punishment, after determining that the two ordered the foul play in the May 6 game in Tokyo.
Okuno was hit by Miyagawa from behind long after the quarterback released the ball and suffered injuries to his back and elsewhere.
American football is a relatively minor sport in Japan, but the incident involving two of the country’s best university teams has attracted nationwide attention.
All – Kyodo News+