September 9, 2015

Attacking referees is not tolerable

The Illinois High School Association released a statement yesterday regarding an incident in Texas where two high school football players intentionally hit, one helmet first, an official working their game in San Antonio, TX.

The play captured by video and posted to YouTube below shows two football players from John Jay High School plowing into back judge Robert Watts. Several news outlets report that the action was in retaliation for two teammates that were ejected earlier from the game on two separate plays.

It is not the first time an incident like this has happened in the Lone Star state. Back 2008, another video clip, unearthed Sports Day HS, shows a similar attack on a high school football referee.

"The video of a player maliciously taking a running start to level an unsuspecting official followed by a second player piling on have rightfully been played endlessly on TV and social media," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "Obviously these are actions that are not tolerable in any walk of society, but they represent an even more dangerous perspective on how we as a society view and treat the individuals who govern our games."

Texas, like Illinois, is one of 23 states that under the law that treats an assault on a game official as a criminal offense. The two students and an assistant coach have reportedly been disciplined by the school district while local law enforcement investigates the incident. The victim has retained legal counsel while the results are awaited by all sides involved in the violent act.

The IHSA response came after a photo from a parent depicting a referee and a coach's son from Monticello was forwarded to the Anderson. The photo was shot by Ann Wildman, mother of the Sages' starting quarterback.

"The photo from Monticello is a great representation of who IHSA officials are at their core," he said in the statement. "They are members of communities, who officiate to remain connected to the games that they often played and coached. They love the game and enjoy being around it. They sacrifice time away from family and friends to give back, and most find more value in the comradery than the modest game check they receive."

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