An Ohio parent could be charged criminally after police said he headbutted a referee during a basketball game involving fifth-grade girls.
The parent has been identified as the father of one of the girls in Sunday's game between teams from Graham and Troy at Graham Middle School, according to police.
"There were some comments and remarks being made to the referee regarding some calls that he made," St. Paris Police Chief Erica Barga said. "The parents were upset about that."
The referee, Doug Thompson, told WHIO’s Katy Andersen the situation escalated during the second half of the game when parents in the crowd started becoming rowdy.
Thompson said he asked the Graham fan to leave after he used profanity toward Thompson during a timeout. Thomson said he had asked the fans who were yelling at him if there was a problem.
“He flipped me the middle finger and said the ‘F’ word to me again, and then he jumped down, and he headbutted me in the face,” Thompson said.
The official suffered minor injuries in the incident.
The game was part of Dayton Metro Basketball’s season.
"Dayton Metro has a zero toleration policy for any physical abuse of players, coaches, and officials in its league,” said Brett Bush, director for the Dayton Metro Winter League. “The gentleman from Graham involved in the recent altercation has been banned for life from attending any Dayton Metro league games.”
The police chief said the assault is sad for the Graham community to be dealing with.
“It’s just disheartening,” Barga said. “It makes an effect on the kids when this happens.”
Thompson said officiating has become more intimidating in recent years and said he prefers working bigger games, where additional security is in place.
“It’s getting very scary to be a referee,” he said.
Thompson said he was supposed to referee again tonight [Tuesday] but is questioning whether he will be able to because of continuing neck pain from Sunday’s scuffle.
The parent has not been charged, according to court records. Police said they are working to get the prosecutor’s office to approve charges.
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