After watching this video, it's possible that football referees throughout the country are going to start asking for shoulder pads and helmets just like the players on both teams.
In the middle of a youth football game between the Sarasota Gators and North Port Huskies in Sarasota, Fla. on Saturday, a melee broke out after the Gators' coaching staff vehemently disagreed with a referee's call.
At the start of the video above, the Gators' coaching staff is arguing with the official who made the disputed call. One of the coaches then appears to attack the ref, but the situation explodes when one of the players flies over from the sideline and tackles the ref. Both teams rushed the field as an enormous brawl ensued.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said that they are conducting a criminal investigation based on the video.
James Jackson of WFTS.com reported that the sheriff's office was told by the referee that the coaches started yelling at him because they thought he was being unfair to the team. Per Jackson's report, two to three people in the video will face battery charges.
"There was no excuse for it," Huskies coach Mike Cody told his team a few days after the incident, via The Tampa Tribune. "One of the most disgraceful things I have ever seen in my 24 years of working with children."
As shocking as this video may be, attacking the referee has become an increasingly common response to a disputed call by athletes in many sports all around the world. In December, a high school basketball player in Desoto County (Fla.) grabbed the ref and threw him to the ground after he was ejected. The player was suspended and his coach said he would never play there again.
Ref attacks have also happened several times recently in low level soccer leagues overseas.
Paraguay soccer player Jose Pedroso was suspended for 27 games after he attempted to choke the referee during during a Chilean second-division match.
Earlier this month, a soccer player threw the ball at the official after receiving a yellow card. The referee then gave him a red card, causing the player to overreact and kick him.
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