Youth football leader says unruly parents are ruining the fun for everyone
Abusive fans at a New Jersey youth football game forced police to escort referees from the field for safety reasons and had the league briefly considering a new rule allowing refs to throw the penalty flag on parents.
In a letter sent to parents, Frank Sinatra Jr., president of the Freehold Revolution, described a league game last week after which two referees quit because of abusive behavior by fans. The game was between a team from Sparta and a team from Elizabeth, according to parents.
"Just when we've hit rock bottom, we find a new trap door," Sinatra wrote, describing the worsening of fan behavior at New Jersey American Youth Football games.
The letter says four game officials had to leave the field under police escort after being verbally abused by angry parents and fans, including one incident that occurred in the restroom. Neither team responded to inquiries from News 12 New Jersey.
While the incident did not involve Freehold teams, Sinatra says he sent the letter to reiterate to Freehold parents that there would be zero tolerance for such behavior at Freehold games.
The letter from Sinatra also warned of a new rule in which referees could throw a penalty flag and penalize a team 15 yards for unruly fan behavior.
Kevin Hester, president of New Jersey AYF, said that was a proposal that was on the agenda of a recent board meeting, but not passed.