Posted on September 1, 2011

UPDATE: Four Suspects in Youth Football Brawl

Carrie Wells and Todd Ruger, Herald-Tribune, September 1, 2011

It started with a disputed call, followed by some disgruntled coaches throwing water bottles at the referees.

What happened next, captured on video and now being investigated by authorities, is shocking: more than a dozen youth football coaches and players attacking at least one referee, including a player in full gear except for his helmet flying into a referee and tackling him to the ground.

Felony charges could follow an investigation into what happened Saturday–and who did what–during the game between the age 13-14 junior teams of the Sarasota Gators and North Port Huskies played at Riverview High School.


“The video speaks for itself,” Sarasota County Sheriff’s Col. Steve Burns said. “It was disturbing.”

“I saw adults, entrusted in a mentoring position with the youth of our community, acting and behaving in a manner that is absolutely unacceptable,” Burns said.

At the game, the video shows a coach or parent confronting a referee who was walking out of the end zone.

Punches were thrown between the two men, who started grappling, until a Gator player wearing the number 6 dives in and levels the referee. The boy then celebrates his hit on the official, the video shows.

As another referee tries to protect the referee on the ground, other Gators coaches, players and fans swarm the field, and one man appears to try to kick the grounded referee in the head.


Attacking an athletic official is a felony in Florida.


Burns would not say if the player who tackled the referee would face charges.

“Obviously, he’s not getting a real good mentor from his role model, his coaching staff,” Burns said.

{snip} The age group involved in the incident caught on tape was 13- and 14-year-olds.



The referee who was assaulted by youth football coaches and players at a Saturday game told detectives he did not want to press charges.


However, authorities can still decide to pursue battery charges without Ream and the Sheriff’s Office has announced they have identified four suspects.


According to a Sheriff’s report, Ream says an unnamed suspect threw him to the ground.

The suspect, who said Ream was being unfair to his team, told deputies that Ream pushed him first.

Then a player in full gear, and presumably 13 or 14 years old, is seen in the video rushing through the field and tackling Ream.