Protecting the Official: A look at a proposed bill

By Kaleb Page

February 2, 2015

With today’s society in America, the emphasis on sport and getting kids involved from an early age has never been higher. What could also be said about that fact is how the pressures and seriousness taken on by parents, players and fans is even higher as well.

At what cost is all this pressure? Are we all losing the fact that at an early age, while it is good to build skill and be competitive, that the game itself (being played by kids) should be fun? Another thing that should be mentioned as well is that parents are setting some poor examples for their kids at these sporting events.

In the state of Michigan, Senator Morris Hood III from Detroit is sponsoring a bill to hopefully curb this behavior in his state. In a Detroit Free Press article  the bill came to be after refs from lower Michigan came to Hood’s office after an incident where a soccer referee died days after being assaulted. Hood went on to say that the these refs had issues in the past of being harassed during a game and then followed out to their cars (even all the way home).

The bill that is still in the proposal stage will make assaulting a referee a felony. A three-year sentence in prison that could also come with a $10,000 fine. If the bill passes Michigan will join 23 other states that have similar laws like California, Florida, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nevada just to name a few.

I think this is a good bill to have. You should not be allowed to go on the field or court of play and go after a referee. Even as a player you shouldn’t even be remotely close to hurting an official. I think as more and more we see the competitiveness of youth sports rise there needs to be more checks on how officials are treated.

Now I know we all do it, we all complain about a call here or there but it doesn’t mean we have the right to go off and assault the official. I remember watching an Outside the Lines report on ESPN about these cases growing in the United States at an alarming rate. It truly is sad to see people ruin a kids game by making a complete fool out of themselves.

I for one have been in games growing up as a kid where we had play stopped as a parent from another team ran on the court to go at a ref and once a coach even got ejected but wouldn’t leave the floor peacefully.

I hope this bill goes through and if anything a bill for all states is made. It is time to put out of control parents, fans and sometimes even players in their place for good. No more should we be having people doing their jobs (officiating just a game) in fear.

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About Kaleb Page

Kaleb is a Senior, sport management major with a minor in journalism at Bowling Green State University. Including his involvement in the Maxwell Project, Kaleb is also an active member of the Sport Management Alliance and the Bowling Green Radio Sports Organization. He enjoys watching all types of sports competition from the traditional forms of basketball and football to the emerging areas like mixed martial arts. His favorite teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Cincinnati Reds, Ohio State Buckeyes (football &basketball) and Columbus Crew SC.

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