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Bad Acts: April to June, 2009

In my continuing effort to shine light on the worst behavior in youth sports, here's what happened during the second quarter (April to June) of 2009:

 

Post-game is violence flash point

 

You would think that the worst behavior would occur during a sports contest, but it seems that the period after the game continues to have its share of poor conduct in youth and high school sports.  Consider these incidents:

  • In New Jersey, the post-game handshake became a post-game headbutt as a Little League coach allegedly headbutted a rival coach after the post-game handshake after a game in June.

  • Upstate New York would not be outdone by their New Jersey neighbors. An Albany baseball player got the bad end of a post-game handshake incident in June. The player was allegedly punched in the handshake line. He reacted by pushing his attacker away and kicking a helmet in frustration. The attacker got expelled from his youth baseball league, but he didn't go quietly. The attacker's father filed charges against the young Albany player on the grounds that he damaged property when he kicked the helmet and committed a battery against the attacker by pushing him. Now, the combination of a post-game handshake line incident and a parent who couldn't accept his son's punishment will tie up the legal system for a while. This is a bad act, and it's also rough judicial justice.

  • Colorado had an extremely ugly - and dangerous - post-game incident in June when a girls' softball game exploded into a post-game parking lot, bat-swinging brawl. Four people were ultimately arrested.

Attacks on umpires

Sports officials continue to be attacked. 

  • In May, an Oklahoma junior college coach's wife allegedly entered the umpires' locker room and grabbed one of the umpires by the throat after her husband's team lost a playoff game.

  • In June, an Ontario (Canada) 19 year old baseball player allegedly punched out a 16 year old umpire.

The umpire strikes back

Some umpires have had enough of the bad behavior and are striking back.  In an incident that gained national publicity, Iowa high school umpire Don Briggs decided that an entire stadium was unruly.  He then literally cleaned house, ejecting all of the fans and becoming part of a national story.

Not all the news is bad

As is my practice, I don't want to give the impression that appropriate steps aren't being taken to reduce violence in youth sports and make it safer.

This time it's time to shine the spotlight on St. Joseph's College in American Samoa where the principal of St. Joseph's College High School shut down the athletic program in response to a wave of violence at interscholastic sports contests. The principal understood that if you're repeatedly doing it wrong, then shut it down until you can get it right. How out of control did things have to get to prompt such drastic action?  How about spectators throwing Molotov Cocktails, throwing rocks at each other, and attacking each other with metal bars!

We also note the State of Washington's tough stand for youth sports safety. In May, Washington's governor signed the Lystedt Law, requiring youth athletes to obtain medical clearance after a concussion before returning to play. This law is considered the toughest youth sports concussion bill in the nation. Kudos to Washington.


 

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