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Ohio Bill Would Increase Penalties For Attacks On Referees

A Hudson High School baseball coach and an umpire argue a call during a game in Hudson, Ohio on April 11, 2019.
K.M. Klemencic
/
Flickr Creative Commons
A Hudson High School baseball coach and an umpire argue a call during a game in Hudson, Ohio on April 11, 2019.

Referees at sporting events are used to being heckled by fans but, sometimes, they are victims of actual assault. A new bill has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature to address that problem.

State Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) is also a college basketball referee. He says he hasn’t been assaulted by over-zealous fans but he’s aware of some of those situations.

“Officials have either been attacked on the field, on the court or in the act of officiating or even afterwards walking out to their car or after the game at a location nearby where maybe they have stopped to eat or drink and people have accosted them," Miller says.

Miller, along with his Republican colleague Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) are sponsoring a bill that would make assaulting a sports official a fifth-degree felony. That is the current penalty for assaulting teachers, school administrators and bus drivers.