Deptford, NJ Little League turns the tables on obnoxious parents (Opinion)
Abusive parents hassling coaches and officials from the stands has become an enormous problem and it's killing youth sports. The kids don't want it. The umpires and refs don't need it. It has to stop.
Deptford Little League has come up with a terrific plan that ought to make even the most obnoxious parent think twice before getting in someone's face. League president Don Bozzuffi had two umpires quit in the past two weeks due to mistreatment. That's when the idea came to him.
He has instituted a new policy. A parent who goes over the line with screaming, arguing, threatening or interfering will have a choice. Step up and serve as an umpire themselves for three games, or not be allowed as a spectator until they do. Almost like community service with a much-needed lesson.
We want to enlighten them to understand what an umpire goes through,” Bozzuffi said and explained that there will also be a certified umpire on site. "Maybe, just maybe, they will understand that this is not the easiest thing in the world.
What a great way to call out these meatheads. It can show them a little of what officials have gone through from the stands and that it's not an easy job on the field. Not to mention it puts the offensive parent on full display for three games in front of the other parents. The public shame of it is perfect since that's what these hateful outbursts are meant to do to youth sports officials, shame them.
If something doesn't change the Neanderthal behavior could greatly diminish youth sports opportunities. Then what would the loudmouth know-it-all parent who thinks his kid is going to the majors do?
It’s been escalating,” said Bozzuffi. "About 99 percent of spectators are wonderful, and they give positive reinforcement. It’s the one percent that don’t get it.
He got the blessing of town officials before moving forward with the punitive measure and everyone was on board. In fact he's now getting contacted by Little Leagues across the country and many more might implement this strategy.
“It’s refreshing to know that everyone is on board. I’ve had phone calls, emails and texts from Little Leagues across the country. Two of our district towns say they are going to try to implement this," said Bozzuffi.
It's long overdue and let's hope it works.
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