Boots & Sabers

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0750, 06 Mar 21

Making Harassing a Referee a Misdemeanor


That’s why the WIAA is pushing to make harassment of sports officials a misdemeanor, punishable with up to a $10,000 fine to nine months in jail. Currently, it’s up to NASO or the WIAA to take care of officials in Wisconsin.

There is definitely a problem with referees being harassed, but we don’t need to criminalize it more. If a parent actually assaults a ref, that is still a crime. The fact that a game is going on is immaterial.

What we need is more civility. The fact that more people are being jackasses to refs is a manifestation of the larger decline in civility in our society.


0750, 06 March 2021


  1. Mar

    I’m sorry, I disagree.
    I used to umpire and referee, from Tball, to high school to bar leagues.
    99%of the time, the stuff at the field don’t bother you.
    What bothers us is after the game. Being met at our cars by a mob, walking down the street and being harassed about call you made 3 days before, the phone calls at home, being confronted at the grocery store about how you robbed their kid and other harassment.
    Those instances happened outside of game time and the ref has no real recourse.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    “What we need is more civility.”

    Ironic to see that statement on this site.

    But as unusual as it may seem, I agree with mar. When I was umping/reffing or coaching, I didn’t pay much attention to things said during a game. But the worst in folks could come out after the game was over. In my experience the parents of HS kids were by far the biggest offenders.

  3. dad29

    Mike McCarthy is a great example of that.

  4. Mar

    I may rethink my position after watching the Badger-Iowa game today.

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