Aggression, abuse exacerbating referee shortages

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEPANTO, Ark. (KAIT) - The altercation at a Northeast Arkansas high school football game is just one example of why referees are getting fed up.

Incidents like the one on Sept. 9, where a fan entered the field and shoved a referee, are causing many referees to get out of the business altogether.

Referees are what make youth sports possible. Without them, our children can’t play the sports they love. Parents and grandparents don’t get the opportunity to cheer on their favorite teams and players.

Referees are belittled, cursed at, and sometimes physically assaulted. Most who sign up for these positions use it as a part-time job and a way to give back to their community, but they don’t have to be there.

“Then you add the verbal abuse that some officials hear from parents, some abuse they hear from coaches, and does make you ask the question “Do I want to continue to do this?’” said Bobby Swofford. assistant executive director for the Arkansas Athletic Association.

Youth sports is about building character and helping them become the best person they can be. When at games, be a role model. Kids see this type of behavior and think it is okay, and it drives away good officials that use to love the job.

The AAA has left the East Poinsett County vs. Walnut Ridge football game incident up to the school and will only step in if needed.

The AAA said to not let your emotions get the best of you and to sit back and enjoy the game. Remember, there are consequences to actions like we saw during the Friday game in Lepanto.