Referee Shortages are the Last Thing We Need Right Now, Part 2

And just like that, summer ball has come to an end.

The first season of full-on summer ball has now commenced after a trying two years due to the…well, you know what I was going to say next. This season has been filled with both joy, and sadness.

Joy that all the sports we know are back in full force travel but sadness at the fact that referees, officials, coaches, and more were physically assaulted by parents and spectators.

Emmanuel Durón, a former high school football player in Texas, attacked a referee in a viral video in December 2020. Duron has since spoken out several times against his actions, citing that while he is glad grace has been given to him, he will regret it for the rest of his life. Duron is now in college and an advocate for officials.

Now, I mentioned this once before in the following article, but we must do better.

Since April, there have been more physical assaults on referees. The ref’s job is to protect the players so everyone has a good time and does not get hurt, so why oh why is this still ongoing?

For example, in June at a Florida basketball tournament, a 19-year-old player was charged with a misdemeanor after throwing a series of punches at a referee.

In a Kansas City tournament, after becoming upset by a whistle call during a basketball game, a coach shoved an official. The official then tried to retaliate, other coaches, a player, and spectators, surrounded the official while hitting, punching, and knocking him to the floor.

A hockey official is also recovering from sustained injuries after a player clubbed him with his stick. The man has been left with a constant headache, blurred vision, and soreness.

Just last week at a local tournament a parent was thrown out for saying vulgar things towards another team. The phrases included, do better, your team sucks, and something I really do not want to type on this public forum directed at the umpire.

These were hauled at an 10U softball team. The girls hearing this were obviously appalled and embarrassed, but the parent did not seem to care. Also adding in that some of the other parents were laughing when he got thrown out.

First and foremost, I am not a parent, but I do have this thing called common decency. As a spectator myself, I was embarrassed by the obscene actions. But, as a person in the industry who knows just how bad the referee shortage is right now, I was furious. After summer ball, fall ball begins. So does football, fall soccer, volleyball, basketball, and more.

Since most referees are trained in various fields, if we lose one because they were treated horribly in another sport, all sports suffer.

All sports suffer based on the actions of one.

Going into the fall there are things we can do that will hopefully make this a kinder place for teams and a non-violent place for referees.

Stand up for them. If you see something you dislike, mention or report it.

If we preach sportsmanship but do not act when these things happen, then do we deserve to be in such a position at all? It is up to all of us to band together and keep more of these things from happening. Parents and fans can get away with these things because they have never been given proper consequences from previous actions displayed at a tournament.

Would you rather have a parent mad at you, or no tournament to plan because the referee quit on you last minute due to harassment? Do not play into the referee shortage. Instead, instill event standards for all tournaments.