Video of Youth Coach's Attack on Ref Goes Viral

California coach was fired the next day
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2022 10:20 AM CST

A youth basketball coach has lost his job and could face charges after setting a terrible example for his 10-year-old players. Video of the coach lunging at the referee and putting his hands around his neck went viral after the Saturday incident at Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., KTLA reports. The brief video shows bystanders intervening as the coach apparently tries to choke the ref. Chris Balasinski, a spokesman for the referee's union, tells NBC4 that the coach was suspended immediately by the Los Angeles-based Cavs Youth Basketball team and fired the next day.

A spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department tells ABC7 that police were called, but both parties had departed by that time. The spokesperson says the video suggests that a charge of misdemeanor battery is possible. Balasinski says the union will encourage the referee to press charges, because not doing so could set a bad precedent. He says the hundreds of referees in the union are facing growing hostility from parents and coaches who are obsessed with possible NBA futures for kids.

"We all say we're here for the kids, but your behavior shows,” referee Steve Peters, who wasn't involved in the incident, tells KTLA. "What is that teaching the kids when we say sportsmanship?" Darryl McDonald, founder of the Cavs program, tells TMZ that the altercation happened after two technical fouls, and that the coach was fired before the video went viral. "It's completely unacceptable to behave that way in front of our youth," he says. (More coach stories.)

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