PATERSON, N.J. - Kennedy High School took on Eastside yesterday in a cross town rivalry game as Eastside looked to rebound after losing both its head and assistant coach last week after being suspended from by the district.
Tuesday the district announced earlier in the day that the game that evening between Kennedy and Eastside would not be open to the public. After a weekend of controversy school officials thought it would be the best thing for the players and allow them to focus on the game.
Last week NJ.com released a report that claimed six Eastside players were indeed foreign nationals who were living with head coach Juan Griles, along with pictures of said players leaving the coaches house in the morning. NJ.com launched an investigation into the claims after sources said that a district teacher found one of the players staying overnight at a Dunkin Donuts location in the city. After those reports surfaced the district moved to suspend both the head coach Juan Griles and the assitant coach Al Maldonado.
This past weekend Maldonado spoke to SNY in his lawyers officer, the first time he has spoken to the media since being suspended from the team over a week ago. Maldonado sought to put to rest claims and what he called a bit of "sensationalism" about the circumstances of the six children in question, although he said he was saddened and shocked when initial reports came out.
Maldonado claimed in the interview on SNY that in fact the only student he could speak for was his god-son whom resided with him under the consent of the boys mother who lives in Puerto Rico. Maldonado also claimed he had no knowledge of two of the remaining players, one of which was on a roster in another state as early as last summer.
A previous report on TAPinto Paterson citing information from multiple reports that name Maldonado and Griles guardians of all the kids was found to not have been provided by the district and was retracted. Earlier last week NJ.com did report that four of the children were under guardianship of the coaches, but Terry Corallo district spokeswoman said she could not confirm in an email to TAPinto Paterson citing the open investigation.
The district has hired Former Justice John Wallace has been retained as Monitor for all district athletic programs. His responsibilities will include, investigating of this issue making sure the district continues to work collaboratively with DCP&P and NJSIAA, among other duties.