Long-serving Venice High football coach fired

- The Venice High School football coach who steered his team to a state title last year has been fired. 

After 19 years of coaching football for the high school, officials announced Wednesday John Peacock was removed from the position. Peacock shared a statement through what appears to be the Venice High football team's Twitter account, explaining he believed he was fired after he "liked a tweet" by one of his players. The tweet was about Curt Bradley, Braden River High School's football coach, and a spray tan bottle, according to his statement.

"I thought this to be a joke about him using spray tan. I had no clue he was multiracial. I did not come out publicly to defend myself when this occurred because I was asked not to," his statement read. "Nothing was intended to be racist."

Peacock added he believed the incident was intended to be a distraction from recent developments at Braden River High. 

Late last week, The Florida High School Athletic Association barred the Braden River High football team from holding practice this spring for violating rules concerning offseason conditioning. The school was fined $40,000. The football program has also been placed on administrative probation for the remainder of this year and all of next year.

Venice High School administration says the back-and-forth feud between the two coaches had nothing to do with Peacocks firing.

“Mr. Peacock was not relieved of his coaching duties because of the social media tweet last weekend,” according to the school's statement. “At this time, Venice High has decided to go in a different direction with their football program.”

Larry Shannon, the assistant coach, will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Administrators say Peacock will continue to be a teacher be a teacher at Venice High. He led the football team to two state titles, five regional and 14 district championships.

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