Youth sports are supposed to be about learning life lessons. Youngsters become better people by learning how to win and lose graciously. They play for the love of the game and the camaraderie of being a part of a team.
Parents often exhibit the exact opposite behavior. Overzealous moms and dads frequently intervene in their children’s games. It is not uncommon to see fully-grown adults heckling volunteer officials and embarrassing their kids in the process.
That was the case recently at a youth basketball game in King County, Washington. TMZ Sports has reported that 31-year-old Mark McLaughlin has been charged with second degree felony assault after he struck a referee during the December 16 contest. The 72-year-old official was seriously injured in the attack.
Police say McLaughlin became upset when the referees touched his son after an on-court incident. He ran out on the floor and shoved the elderly official to the hardwood. Spectators in the bleachers caught the entire thing on video.
The ref took a very hard fall. He needed assistance getting back to his feet. Meanwhile, Mark McLaughlin fled the gym on foot.
The referee bled for nearly an hour and a half. He suffered a broken nose and a broken cheekbone. Fortunately, the injuries weren’t more serious. McLaughlin now faces up to ten years in prison if he is convicted of the assault. That’s ten years of his son growing up McLaughlin will miss because of his bone-headed behavior.
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