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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 12:46pm
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Do Official's Duties Extend to Peacemaker?

A referee colleague and I were discussing officiating aspects yesterday. We pondered the issue of: If a fight actually breaks out in a game, do we refs have the responsibility to intervene and break it up?
We both have had games where near-fights and fights broke out, and, we both said that we intervened (i.e., stepped in between the players) to break it up--ignoring our own safety but upholding the sanctity / civility of the contest. I can recall one such event wherein I broke up a fight and was congratulated by a coach for doing so. Also, gym security did not intervene--the cop just stayed in the background not intervening at all.
However, we both agreed that if ever another occasion arose where a fight / near-fight happened, then we confirmed with each other that we would not intervene in the future. The reason is becz we feel that in this time of "liability / infections/ contagions" we would be placing ourselves at very high risk for injury / infection. We agreed that we'll just let the coaches and gym security be the "first responders".
Agreeably, most near-fights / fights are ''wanting to be broken up" before they escalate; however, in the future I will not be the one doing so. I could not find in the manual that the Official's Duties included such, have you encountered a similar event?
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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 12:59pm
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If I can get between players before they start throwing haymakers, I will. But once it gets to that point and the benches empty, no way in hell am I getting involved. I think grabbing players and potentially letting an opponent get a "free shot" is a nightmare waiting to happen. What if it's a girls game and you accidentally grab someone's breast?

I do not get paid enough in the games I work to risk my safety and liability breaking up fights.

At the higher levels where the officials are getting paid significantly more and dealing with adult men, different animal.
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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 01:03pm
LRZ LRZ is offline
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This year, PIAA issued a POE, consistent with the change allowing assistants to come onto the court to help break up fights, stating that head coaches should have plans in place if such situations were to arise. This implicitly places the responsibility to control fights on the coaches and assistants, not the referees. So intervening is not in my job description.

Nonetheless, a near-fight? I might step in to prevent escalation, more spontaneously than as a considered intervention.

An actual fight, fists flying or people on the ground? No, I don't referee ice hockey.

Last edited by LRZ; Sun Mar 22, 2020 at 10:40am.
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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 03:47pm
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I will step in between players or be a presence, but once they start trying to fight with blows, I am out. I will let teammates and coaches deal with the group. Because all it takes is you to grab the wrong kid and someone punches them and now you are responsible for their injuries (yes we have had a lawyer who is an official state you could be liable for injuries). I will do everything to stop it without touching someone.

Peace
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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 05:37pm
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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 05:59pm
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As always in these situations, you won't know until it happens, and it all depends on "how near" to a fight it really is.
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Old Fri Mar 20, 2020, 09:24pm
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Advice on this that I received many years ago:

1 v 1 = stop it if you can do so quickly. Any more become involved = back away and observe from a safe location. Keep your back to a wall if possible, so that no one can take a cheap shot on you from behind.
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Old Sat Mar 21, 2020, 10:42am
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Lots Of Billable Hours ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SC Official View Post
I think grabbing players and potentially letting an opponent get a "free shot" is a nightmare waiting to happen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
... to grab the wrong kid and someone punches them and now you are responsible for their injuries (yes we have had a lawyer who is an official state you could be liable for injuries).
True.

Happened here in my little corner of Connecticut (actually the high school has since moved over to another local IAABO board) about thirty-five years ago.

The details from long ago are a little fuzzy, even though the official in question (and one of the coaches involved) was a friend of mine. To stop a fight involving many players and coaches, the official grabbed a coach, who was throwing punches in a player/coach confrontation, which gave the player a "free shot" at the coach, breaking the coach's jaw.

The attorneys made a lot of money as this situation ended up in both criminal court and civil court for a few years.
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Old Sat Mar 21, 2020, 03:26pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy View Post
Thanks Freddy, nice video.

When it comes to confrontations between two players, I'm doing the same that the official in your video did, try to step in between the two 'knuckleheads".

If they start throwing punches, or if other players join in, I'm outta there and backing away, trying to remember numbers.

While teachers and coaches may have some limited legal responsibility to break up fights, basketball officials, as far as I know, have no such legal responsibility.

But then again, as I've often said in the past here on the Forum, here in the United States, anybody can sue anybody, at any time, for any amount, for just about any reason, and one being sued will have to hire an attorney, and their billable hours aren't inexpensive.
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Last edited by BillyMac; Sat Mar 21, 2020 at 03:31pm.
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Old Sat Mar 21, 2020, 05:53pm
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I even think in the video the official was too much in a hurry to report the foul.

Peace
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2020, 10:28am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
I even think in the video the official was too much in a hurry to report the foul.

Peace
Jump (held) ball!?
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:21pm
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Sweet closure

Thanks to you all for the kind guidance provided on this issue; furthermore, you'all have cited some other issues that I/we had not considered that pertain to the issue. However, I must say that in retrospect the cop who was there at the gym and did not even try to breakup the fight was terrible optics for law enforcement. Now after reading what you'all have written, perhaps the cop was wisely avoiding any "liability". But the optics were terrible: I mean there was a grown-azz man who is a cop and he could not even intervene with trying to separate two teen-agers from fighting?
I must admit that when I see [the security] cops at my games standing in the corner munching on popcorn and drinking coke, I cannot help but to feel like I'm fending for myself with no backup.
But hey, I digress, and am venting now--this all occurred about 6 weeks ago yet I still cannot let it go/get over it! After reading you'alls comments I now have a "path forward", thank you Forum!
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:44pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thumpferee View Post
Jump (held) ball!?
You are right. He did not immediately give the signal so I thought maybe he had called a foul. I still think he needed to not leave the scene so early. But that is also understanding the temperature of the game as well.

Peace
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Old Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:17am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas Ref View Post
Thanks to you all for the kind guidance provided on this issue; furthermore, you'all have cited some other issues that I/we had not considered that pertain to the issue. However, I must say that in retrospect the cop who was there at the gym and did not even try to breakup the fight was terrible optics for law enforcement. Now after reading what you'all have written, perhaps the cop was wisely avoiding any "liability". But the optics were terrible: I mean there was a grown-azz man who is a cop and he could not even intervene with trying to separate two teen-agers from fighting?
I must admit that when I see [the security] cops at my games standing in the corner munching on popcorn and drinking coke, I cannot help but to feel like I'm fending for myself with no backup.
But hey, I digress, and am venting now--this all occurred about 6 weeks ago yet I still cannot let it go/get over it! After reading you'alls comments I now have a "path forward", thank you Forum!
Perhaps I'm wrong with my thinking, but I wouldn't expect (or necessarily want) a police officer to assist in breaking up a 1v1 fight. Now if something spills out (or in) where fans/parents are involved, I would expect involvement. However, for better or worse, a fight between players is part of the game and participants in the game should deal with it.

One other tool that has not been mentioned is the use of your whistle to try and get two players to stop before things escalate. There is nothing like a Fox 40 in your ear to get your attention.
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