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WASHINGTON – Funeral services for Ricardo Portillo, the Utah referee who died after being punched by an angry soccer player, will be held Wednesday. And as mourners hold vigil, the incident continues to raise awareness about poor behavior at sporting events.
Bad sportsmanship isn’t new. Washington Times writer John Haydon says threatening comments from parents and coaches ended his career as a soccer referee 13 years ago.
“And we see these bad habits from players. Players swear at the referees and that’s gotta change.”
Local youth leagues, including youth sporting franchise i9 Sports, educate parents on being supportive and encouraging rather than combative.
“Well, it’s about civility isn’t it? It’s about a campaign for people to be nice,” says Haydon.