Mike Campbell admits he made a mistake -- two in fact -- after he ran onto the field during a Sunday afternoon youth football game in Cheektowaga.
But "attack" a 9-year-old boy? "Assault" someone nearly 200 pounds lighter?
No way, it didn't happen, he said repeatedly during an interview Thursday night in a Cheektowaga restaurant. News accounts and statements made on talk radio shows were "grossly false," Campbell said.
Two fellow coaches and a parent backed up his version of the events that left Campbell, 26, charged with misdemeanor assault following the encounter with a player from the opposing team.
Campbell -- who by mutual agreement with the Airlane Warriors is no longer an assistant coach -- admits cursing at the referees because they didn't call a penalty on the play in which one of his players (he said he didn't realize until later it was his son) was injured.
And he also admits he made "contact" with one of the players from the Black Rock-Riverside Raiders, who he said "speared" his son in the back with his helmet while the play was 20 yards away.
The "contact" part is where it gets tricky.
Campbell said his left hand touched the left shoulder of the player as he was trying to point out to the referee the offending party.
"He ran into me as much as I touched him," he said.
"Touched" him hard enough to knock him down and cause a concussion as the boy's parents allege?
Campbell shakes his head, no.
So how do you account for such wildly different versions?
"I have no clue," said Gregory Kramer, head coach of the Warriors.
Paul Wagner, an assistant coach, and Rick Wahl, a parent, agreed. "Nothing happened," Wahl said.
All four said the situation is highly upsetting to them and the rest of the organization.
Campbell choked up a bit as he showed a "Hang in There " card signed by parents and coaches that Kramer gave him Wednesday.
Kramer and Campbell said it is important to understand that although the Warriors were leading only 13 to 12 late in the game, the game had been one-sided and many of the Warriors' lesser, or B, players were in the game.
But the Raiders coach continued to use his A players, despite a gentlemen's agreement to the contrary, so it become more important than ever that the three refs protect the smaller B players, they said.
Several penalties that should have been called earlier in the game weren't and Campbell said that on the play his son was hurt, any of three penalties should have been called.
"By not calling a penalty, they're saying it's OK," he said. He became enraged and ran onto the field.
His first thought was the injured boy, but because someone else was already tending to him, he went after the refs.
He said his son was treated for a possible kidney injury but is OK.
The other boy was treated for a possible concussion.
Campbell said he will fight the charges and is in the process of obtaining a lawyer.
No doubt one of the first things a lawyer would tell him is don't talk to anyone, especially a reporter.
"I just want to get my side across," Campbell said.
"I hope that something positive came come from this: that parents, coaches and referees have to become more involved and that the refs have to be held accountable in order to protect the children."