Audio: Legislation aimed at protecting referees and sports officials to be heard by Missouri House Committee

General Sports

Bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting sports referees, officials, and umpires will be heard Monday before a Missouri House committee in Jefferson City. Raytown State Representative Jerome Barnes, who’s been a high school football and basketball referee for 27 years, tells Missourinet that officials are being threatened by parents and fans.



Barnes says a referee was attacked and knocked out in Raytown in 2018, during a JV girls basketball game.  Barnes says recruiting officials is a problem in Missouri, because of the threats and harassment they face.



The legislation would create the offense of harassment of a sports official. It’s defined as “verbal or nonverbal behavior by a person that would cause a reasonable person to be placed in fear of receiving bodily harm.”


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