© 2023 WBGO
WBGO New Record Spine Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Bill Would Provide Stiffer Penalties For Attacks On Sports Officials

Assemblyman John Burzichelli

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to ensure that parents are better sports at their children's games.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says parents can get overly involved in the sporting events their kids are participating in and physically attack the umpire or referee if they don't like a call. He's proposing tougher penalties for such behavior.

"It becomes a crime of the third degree punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five and a fine of up to $15,000 or both. So if you don't like the official's call in the game, you should think long and hard about whether to charge the field and physically assault that person."

Burzichelli says attacks on umpires and referees defeat the purpose of using sports to teach kids about fair competition and sportsmanship.

"It seems odd that we even have to pass a law like this. These are kids. This is a sporting event. Sports are designed to teach children structure, how to get along, how to play together. Sometimes parents don't help that process. So I would hope that this law is never exercised, but it will be there if parents can't control themselves."