New Jersey lawmakers warns parents to behave at their kids sports games

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

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

Assemblyman John Burzichelli said parents can get overly involved in the sporting events their kids are participating in. It has led to incidents where they have physically attacked the umpire or referee because they didn’t like the 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,” he said.

Burzichelli said attacks on umpires and referees defeats 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,” said Burzichelli.

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