Video: Referee attacked at youth football game - FOX 13 News

Video: Referee attacked at youth football game


Emotions ran so high during a youth football game in Sarasota, an upset coach charged the referee, and anger over his call spilled onto the field.

The coach and several others went after 41-year-old referee Jayme Ream, and seconds later, a boy on the Sarasota Youth Gators knock the ref right off his feet. Mob mentality seemed to take over, and it was all caught on video. It's absolute melee, and the Reams couldn't get off the ground.

FOX 13 showed the video to coaches and parents from other youth teams in the area.

"It's absolutely disgusting. I have never seen anything like that. The coach should be disqualified from coaching altogether. The team should be suspended for the whole year. It's not giving sportsmanship anything," said Greg Fabijanczuk, a football dad.

It was the Sarasota Youth Gators v. the North Port Huskies at Riverview High School Saturday. Both teams, for kids ages 13 and 14, are part of the Mid-Florida Football and Cheerleading Conference. Members of the league are in trouble: the Sarasota Sheriff's Office is reviewing the tape and considering criminal charges.

"We've seen it across the nation, but here in our agency. This is the worst I've seen regarding violence at a sporting event," said Chief Deputy Steve Burns.

According to Nadar Muhammad, director of the officials for the MFFCC, Reams has been officiating for 14 years. This is his first with the Mid-Florida league. Muhammad says Ream was put in an unfortunate situation.

"In youth sports, we have to set standards and we need to role model expected behavior. That is what youth football is," Muhammad said. "Refs should never be under scrutiny of being assaulted by anyone. It's a game for kids."

The Sarasota School District has terminated its contract with the Mid-Florida Football and Cheerleading Conference. That means league games will no longer be played at schools in the district.

"My son plays football here, and if my son ever pulled a stunt like that, he wouldn't play football for another day in his life," said Fabijanczuk.

Ream was not hurt. The Sheriff's Office says he will not press charges, but charges are still pending, and battery on a game official is a felony in Florida.

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