CARTHAGE, Mo. — A youth football parent is calling for stronger disciplinary action after a referee shoved his 9-year-old son to the ground. It happened this past Saturday (9/23), after the 4th grader ran into the referee during a play.
A video of the incident, being shared on social media, is inciting strong emotions on both sides.
Video of the Referee Shoving the 4th Grade Player
“When I showed this video to pastors, to football coaches, to referees that are long term, they said it was gut wrenching. They were appalled,” said Caleb Frakes, the father of the 4th grader involved in the incident.
“My son accidentally ran into a referee and the referee settled himself, and then struck my son across the shoulder pad into the face mask, knocking my son to the ground. After that, he said, ‘Punk.’ He called my son, ‘Punk’ and then realized his mistake and apologized to my son,” said Frakes.
At the end of the video, the referee apologizes to the boy and pats him on the back.
Frakes says he’s grateful for the apology but says the video shows excessive force. The man in charge of scheduling referees for the youth league, Jim Hogelin says he recognizes the gravity of the issue and thought they were being proactive by handing out the punishment right away.
“I’m almost most shocked that they didn’t even ask my son about the situation. They asked the referee, but when it came to my son, they say they saw the video. I don’t think it’s fair that they would ask the defendant or someone that’s the accused, but not ask the victim their side of the story,” said Frakes.
Hogelin told us they didn’t talk to the boy because they know he did nothing wrong. He said they’ve never had this type of issue with a referee before, and because there are no protocols in place, the decision was made to treat it as if it had been a coach — giving him a one-week suspension. Frakes says it’s not enough.
“Very simply, I would just like an outside source to take a look at this. Again, a non-biased third party. If I were the referee, I would seek some counseling. I would take a step back from the game and consider why I got into refereeing in the first place,” said Frakes.
The president of the Southwest Youth Football Conference issued the following statement, calling it, “unacceptable.”
First of all, the league is thankful the player was not injured. The safety of our players is a priority and the officials are an integral part of that safety. Saturday’s incident was an exception and the official did console the player and apologize on the field. However, the results of the initial reaction was unacceptable. The conference representatives and our official’s assignor delivered immediate disciplinary action. The Southwest Youth Football Conference strives to create a safe, positive, educational athletic experience for our players, coaches, officials and spectators.
Southwest Youth Football Conference Representatives
Frakes says he was advised to file a police report to make sure the incident is on-record. He is also keeping an eye on how the whole incident is affecting his son.
“He did say that his elbow hurt, but we’re not 100% sure if it was from that contact or another. Also, on Tuesday, he went to practice, but did not dress out, so we’re monitoring where his mind is at and what’s going on with him there,” said Frakes.
We reached out to the referee and were told he would not be commenting to the media.