Referees, especially referees in charge of officiating youth sports, can admittedly be the worst. They miss calls, they don’t always knows the rules as well as they should, and they aren’t exactly experts when it comes to dealing with angry parents in the stands. Most of them have full-time jobs elsewhere and are just looking to make a little extra money on the side, which is why they don’t always put forth their best effort on the court or field.
But despite all of this, punching a referee in the middle of a youth sporting event is still a very, very bad idea.
A 21-year-old Missouri man learned that lesson the hard way during a recent junior varsity girl’s basketball game at Raytown South High School in Raytown, Missouri. Dwan Lamont Marshall Jr. was at the school to watch his younger sister take part in a game against the Raytown High School team. During the course of the contest, Marshall Jr., his father Dwan Lamont Marshall Sr., and several other parents were upset with the way 33-year-old referee Dallas Bryant was calling the game. Marshall Jr. also took issue with the way Bryant spoke to his sister after she tossed the basketball along the sideline at the end of the first quarter rather than simply handing the ball back to him. So the fans voiced their displeasure with Bryant in between the first and second quarters as the two teams huddled on their respective benches.
At some point, Bryant decided he had heard enough and reportedly started yelling back at the fans. He threatened to throw them out of the gym if they didn’t be quiet and allow him to do his job, and according to Marshall Sr., he even seemed to suggest that he would be willing to meet them outside if they wanted to go that route. "I bet you won’t be discussing no elbow call in the parking lot," Bryant allegedly said.
That led to the verbal argument turning physical. According to a police report obtained by The Kansas City Star, Marshall Jr. walked out onto the court while Bryant was speaking with his fellow referee and punched him in the face. Bryant was knocked to the ground immediately and later claimed Marshall Jr. came up behind him and sucker-punched him while he wasn’t looking. The game was stopped immediately, and Bryant was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Marshall Jr., meanwhile, was placed under arrest at the scene and charged with assault and disorderly conduct. An off-duty police officer who was working security during the game spoke with a witness who said Marshall Jr. admitted to punching Bryant right after the alleged incident took place.
"I regret punching the ref in the face," Marshall Jr. told the witness. "It was an emotional response. I shouldn’t have done it. I’m sorry."
There is reportedly surveillance video of the attack on the referee. Marshall Jr. is scheduled to make a court appearance at the end of February to answer to the charges filed against him.