News headlines remind us almost daily that sportsmanship is on the decline and simple civil behavior at sporting events can be hard to find. Fans, players and sometimes-even coaches think that their participation or admission ticket gives them a right to attack officials. The pace of assaults against sports officials has quickened, especially at the recreational and youth levels. Sports officials represent the only authority on the field or court, and are therefore in a position – by the nature of the job – to be the object of praise and ridicule. If officials are unable to control the situation, it is likely that chaos will occur.
Premier Referees along with the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) is committed to working toward passage of legislation that provides an extra measure of protection from physical assaults for all sports officials. This legislation is not intended to crowd the already full courtrooms with frivolous trials, but rather to provide prosecutors the tools they need to prosecute such behavior.
As a society we need to act on our belief that respect for authority, whether you agree with it or not, is critical to living, working and playing together. Sports needs to be a beacon, highlighting positive accomplishments and the need for sportsmanship and fair play. Public education about sportsmanship continues to be of importance, but the raising frequency of assaults point out the need for strong sanctions against those who engage in bad behavior at sporting events.
With NH State Senator Sylvia Larsen’s help, Premier Referees’ supports a four-part enhanced penalty proposal:
- Crime – any assault on a sports official shall be deemed a simple assault misdemeanor;
- Fine – assailants shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500);
- Counseling – assailants shall attend counseling and/or community service (as determined by the court);
- Future Participation – temporarily prohibited from attending sports events (as determined by the court);
- Exclusion – assaults involving the use of a deadly weapon or the present ability to use a deadly weapon does not qualify under this law.
Currently, twenty-one (21) states have specific assault laws to protect sports officials. They include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. Idaho & Washington have supportive resolutions for the same.
Premier Referees is not a political action committee nor does it employ a legislative lobbyist, however we do feel it is important to support the protection of sports officials. Please support the petition for expanded legislation in the protection of sports officials against assault.
Thank you for signing this very important petition and showing your support. Lastly, please forward this petition to five fellow officials to help gain the momentum needed to pass this legislation in the NH State Legislature.
10/25/13 – NH State Senator Sylvia Larson submitted a bill to protect NH Sports Officials from Assault. We are in the process of finding co-sponsors and clarifying the language of the bill.
12/10/13 – The bill has officially been titled SB320 RELATIVE TO ASSAULT OF A SPORTS OFFICIAL with sponsor from Sen. Larsen (Dist 15), and co-sponsors from Sen. D’Allesandro (Dist 20), Sen. Carson (Dist 14), Rep Wallner (Merr 10) and Rep S. Chandley (Hills 22). Link to bill: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2014/SB0320.pdf
01/28/14 – The NH Senate Judiciary Committee will take testimony at 9:15am at the NH State House in Room 100 – ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Sign the petition below.
- Report any assaults against you as an official to email@example.com. It’s important that we know about as many cases as possible as we prepare to gain support from the legislatures.
- Contact your local representatives and ask them to support NH Sports Officials.
- Stay involved and keep spreading the word. Together we can make a difference and protect sports officials.