Youth sports referee wants to stop parents’ bad behavior at kids’ games

WASHINGTON — A referee is blowing the whistle on parents who act out and even start fights at their kids’ games.

Oklahoma dad and soccer referee Brian Barlow was fed up with parents behaving badly at games, so he started the “STOP” initiative, which stands for Stop Tormenting Officials Permanently. Part of the effort includes posting videos of the ugly behavior on a Facebook page called Offside.

“More than 150,000 people see those videos. It publicly shames the person, and that alone changes and modifies people’s behavior usually,” Barlow said.

Barlow offers $100 to people who submit the videos. What’s on them? The “F” word plays a starring role and “a lot of cussing,” Barlow said.

But, he added, “The worst part of what I’ve witnessed is when there’s actual physical violence that transpires.”

Over 64 percent of referees said they have had to eject spectators from youth games for bad behavior.

Barlow said there’s no excuse for parents to lose it. “All these players are watching, and they’re sponges, so they’re not learning how to play soccer, they’re learning how to fight when the whistle doesn’t go their way,” he said.

Here’s an example of a video from the Offside Facebook page. There’s a brief flash of violence and lots of yelling.

Soccer season winding downCheeseburger season in full swing!!! You idiots. And watch the kid player trying to contain and control adults, if this doesn’t change your ways get off my page and join WWE, this is what you’re making youth sports, unreal.#stop

Posted by Offside on Sunday, June 3, 2018

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