Non-kosher pizza
Non-kosher pizza iStock

An Ohio high school football player who says coaches forced him to eat a pizza covered with pepperoni grease in violation of his Jewish beliefs is suing his former district and the ousted coaches, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

The former Canton McKinley High School athlete and his parents filed a federal civil rights suit this week seeking millions of dollars in damages and alleging violations of his religious freedom and constitutional rights, according to the report. The incident was first made public this past June.

The athlete says in the lawsuit that coaches were notified he doesn't eat pork or pork residue but that they nevertheless ordered him to eat the pizza as punishment for missing an offseason workout -- and indicated his spot on the team was at risk if he didn't.

The coaches say the player chose to remove pepperoni and eat the pizza rather than an alternative food and claim they weren't aware it violated his religious beliefs.

The district suspended several coaches after the allegations arose. The board subsequently voted not to renew coaching contracts for four coaches and deemed three other assistant coaches as ineligible for future coaching positions, according to AP.

The now-18-year-old student has transferred to a different district after facing "threats and ridicule" from teammates and the public because of the situation, his lawsuit says.