(NEW YORK) -- The Florida father charged with child abuse after being caught on tape encouraging his teenage son to fight another teen claims he was protecting his son from bullies.
"I apologize for what I said but I do stand behind protecting my son," Philip Scott Struthers told ABC News Tuesday.
A video released by worldstarhiphop.com shows Struthers, 41, coaching his 16-year-old son, Jake, through a fistfight.
When his son throws a punch, Struther yells, "Good." When it appears Jake has pinned the other teen on the ground, Struther yells, "Punch his eyes out...Slam his head on the ground."
"When I see that video too, I'm just as disgusted at the things I said. What everybody doesn't know is what transpired six months prior to that...threats to my son, vulgar... comments said on Facebook and other social media sites," Struthers said.
Struthers and his wife, Kimberley, said that they decided to bypass school officials and handle the bullying problem themselves. For six months, the family told their son not to fight.
"We found that the schools just seemed to make the matters worse. There doesn't seem to be anonymity with going in and discussing these things. It gets back to the perpetrators," Kimberly Struthers said. "We've always told Jake this too will go away just like it's gone away before…ignore it, you're not going to fight."
Things didn't get better. Jake says that his rival, accompanied by a group of boys, showed up at the family's Tampa, Florida, home.
"I came home from school and he was in the front yard and there were a bunch of kids there…I knew he was coming over and I knew it was going to happen either way and I didn't want it to happen," Jake said.
Jake, who said he's never been in a fight before, decided to fight the other teenager. He defended his father.
"I know what he did was wrong…he was just looking out for me, making sure no one else would jump in the fight," Jake said.
Philip Struthers was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office for child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor on April 12. In court, the judge ordered Jake's father away from all minors including his own children.
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