Former Edinburg football player gets probation for tackling referee

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The former Edinburg High School football player who tackled a referee during a game in early December 2020 was given probation, according to court documents.

Emmanuel Alejandro Duron, 22, was given one-year probation after pleading no contest to the assault charge against him for hitting Alfredo Gracia, the referee.

On Dec. 3, 2020, during a football game between Edinburg High and PSJA High at Richard R. Flores Stadium in Edinburg, Gracia disqualified Duron from the game after he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After being walked off the field with a coach, Duron ran back onto the field, charging the then 59-year-old referee, blindsided him and sent him to the ground where he laid for several minutes.

Referee Fred Gracia falls to the ground after being charged by Edinburg High’s Emmanuel Duron in a 31-6A zone play-in game against PSJA High at Richard R. Flores Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Gracia was evaluated for concussion symptoms and a shoulder injury.

Later that month, Duron issued a video apology where he asked for forgiveness.

“I know much has been said about me, and I would like to say a few words today,” Duron said in the video. “To Mr. Fred Gracia, I would like to apologize to you personally. I hope you’re doing well. I am extremely sorry for my actions towards you, and I hope one day you can accept my apology.”

Months after the incident, Gracia told The Monitor that he forgave Duron that same night and wished him well.

“For me, for me to be able to move on I have to be a forgiving person,” Gracia said in that interview. “And by forgiving I’m able to move on. And I hope he makes peace with himself.”

On Dec. 5, 2022, Gracia filed a lawsuit against Duron, the Rio Grande Texas Association of Sports Officials Football Chapter Division and the Southwest Officials Associations, Inc. d/b/a/ Texas Association of Sports Officials.

That lawsuit is still ongoing.

As for Duron, he’s facing two additional charges for two separate cases. One is a felony drug charge and a misdemeanor assault charge filed in 2023 and 2024, respectively.