Phoenix softball players: We want our coach back

, Posted: Wed, June 11 2014 at 6:23 PM, Updated: Wed, June 11 2014 at 9:39 PM

Phoenix, Ore. -- Comments recently made by the former Phoenix High School varsity softball coach have put him in hot water, but his players say they support him 100 percent and the whole situation is the result of a joke that went too far.

“There wasn't really a reason for him to get fired, we feel, and he was the best coach that Phoenix will ever have so we want him back," said Adriana Mereida-Ford.

“We want him back” is the rallying cry of the Phoenix Pirates varsity softball team after they say their coach was wrongly fired.

"Everyone's so close to us, it doesn't really offend anybody, it offended one person and it got out of hand," said Tiona Hurd.

During an end of year team banquet Coach Jason Zanni made jokes about the Mexican heritage of one of his players and how it should help her be a better softball player. Players say it's those jokes that cost Zanni his job.

After the firing, even the student the jokes were directed at came to Zanni's defense.

"We're having a protest... at the Phoenix talent school district and we all got t-shirts made and stuff so, we just want our coach back," said Mereida-Ford.

"He has gave so much for us and the school that no other coach would have done before," said Liliana Gomez.

The players say, unless coach Jason is reinstated, they're willing to make the difficult choice and give up playing softball all together.

NBC5 contacted the Phoenix talent school district and they said they couldn't comment on personnel issues but they did say that all coaches are on a year to year contract.

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