RED WING, Minn. (KMSP) - Red Wing High School football coach John Ott officially resigned from his position following allegations of harassment and complaints about playing time from parents.
The move comes after well-known Republican lawmaker John Howe alleged that his son was harassed by the coaching staff because of Howe’s conservative politics.
"I would just ask that you take swift action and give the administration some clear directions that this just doesn't continue to spin,” Howe said in a school board meeting.
John Howe is the former mayor of Red Wing and served in the state Senate as a member of the GOP.
After hearing that his son, David, was allegedly being singled out on the Red Wing High School football team because of his dad's politics, Howe had enough.
“The reason I got involved is [because of] my son getting harassing comments from the coaching staff about being Republican and conservative," Howe told Fox 9.
Howe and other parents wrote letters to district administrators and spoke out at a recent school board meeting.
Their anger was directed at first year head football coach John Ott. They alleged that Ott benched seniors in favor of younger student athletes, telling them they were not the future. For Howe's son to see the field in his beloved purple wingers uniform meant switching from the quarterback position to the offensive line.
“I spent my whole high school career putting in my time towards this, and I haven't gotten the opportunity to do what I want to do,” David Howe said.
Under intense pressure, Coach Ott resigned last week, firing off a letter that was published in the Red Wing Republican Eagle newspaper.
In the letter, Ott wrote that he “cannot be employed by a district that allows parents to dictate where their child should be playing on the football field."
"At no time has anyone in the football program in any way, shape or form harassed anybody about anything," Ott said.
John Howe explained it was never his intention to force out the coach. Rather, he said he only sought to change the toxic atmosphere around the team.
"It's unfortunate, the tenor of politics these days,” Howe said. “You see it at the national level. What we're striving for is an atmosphere in the classroom or on the football field [that is] free from any kind of harassment."