NBA Refs Support Proposed Bill Making Harassing, Assaulting Refs a Class A Misdemeanor

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

On Monday, the National Basketball Referees Association took to Twitter to offer a strong endorsement of a pending bill in the Wisconsn legislature that would increase the punishment for harassing or assaulting referees and umpires.

It reads as:

THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL REFEREES ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS THE PROPOSED WISCONSIN STATE BILL THAT WOULD MAKE HARASSING AND ASSAULTING REFEREES AND UMPIRES A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR.

THE INCREASED VERBAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE THAT OFFICIALS AT ALL LEVELS HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO IN RECENT YEARS HAS LED TO A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF REFEREES, AND THIS BILL WOULD DIRECTLY ADDRESS AND HELP CORRECT THAT.

THE NBRA IS FULLY BEHIND THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION UNDER CONSIDERATION AND HOPES TO SEE THIS APPROVED, AND OTHER STATES FOLLOWING SUIT.

The bill would make harassing and assaulting referees and umpires a Class A Misdemeanor, which means a conviction could result in a nine-month jail sentence, a fine of $10,000, or both.

Supporters of the bill think this is very neccessary to address the verbal, and physical abuse sports officials endure.

“The average age of people entering into this [line of work] is growing,” said Jim Myers, who’s on the Southern Wisconsin Officials Association board of directors. “People are getting older and young people are not coming into the vocation.”

One of many examples brought forth was in February 2019 when former Packers coach Mike McCarthy was caught on video berating referees working his stepson’s basketball game.

The bill is expected to eventually make its way to the desk of Governor Tony Evers should it receive votes before the full Senate and Assembly.