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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 02:44am
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Fan abuse to player

Had a situation Tuesday night that continues to bother me. Have disussed with several of our guys and I'd like to put it to you guys for your input because I have the winning team again next week.

We have a vert hotly contested game with the visiting team being clearly superior. The home team is becoming increasingly frustrated to the point wher we are forced to call a T for taunting, an intentional for excessive contact and many, many fouls.

While standing at C infront of the home student section, a fan yells "hey, # 23, you are terrible". The player atrts to respond but I stop him bt stating to just play ball and ignore the fans. His coach sees that he is agitated and subs him out. At this point, I am not alarmed. With about 2 minutes remaining in the game, an empty plastic bottle comes out of the student section and hits #23 in the head. Of course, he confronts the student that he thinks is the hurler. He doesn't leave floor and no punches are thrown. I am trying to get him back and 2 of his teammates join the fray. Still no punches thrown and still no play leaving the floor. Order is restored quickly by security as they escort out the student section.

My questions are:

Should I have become more proactive when the fan yelled at #23?

When do comments from the stands become abusive?

Would you penalize a player if he responded or gestured to statements from the stands? Would you consider him to be part of the problem?

Would you have penalized #23 or his teamates for confronting the student section after being hit by the bottle?
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 06:12am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronny mulkey
While standing at C in front of the home student section, a fan yells "hey, # 23, you are terrible". The player starts to respond but I stop him by stating to just play ball and ignore the fans. His coach sees that he is agitated and subs him out. At this point, I am not alarmed. With about 2 minutes remaining in the game, an empty plastic bottle comes out of the student section and hits #23 in the head. Of course, he confronts the student that he thinks is the hurler. He doesn't leave floor and no punches are thrown. I am trying to get him back and 2 of his teammates join the fray. Still no punches thrown and still no play leaving the floor. Order is restored quickly by security as they escort out the student section.

My questions are:

1) Should I have become more proactive when the fan yelled at #23?

2) When do comments from the stands become abusive?

3) Would you penalize a player if he responded or gestured to statements from the stands? Would you consider him to be part of the problem?

4) Would you have penalized #23 or his teamates for confronting the student section after being hit by the bottle?
1) By immediately trying to calm #23 down, you were proactive.

2) Abusive comments may relate to race, profanity, threats, etc. Saying "you're terrible" is relatively mild imo. Any player who responds to that is kinda thin-skinned. It may have been an over-reaction on his part.

3) If the response in itself included profanity, threats, racial comments, etc., I would penalize the player. Otherwise, I'd probably do exactly what you did.

4) No.

Sounds like security reacted well by unloading the whole student section. I'd make sure that I'd report this one though. You certainly don't want to see a repeat at that particular school.

Good job by you and the kid's coach in trying to calm the kid down imo, Mulk.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 07:02am
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I believe that the following is likely a minority opinion, but I would have penalized the home team for the thrown bottle. At the HS level that kind of unacceptable conduct needs to have harsh consequences. If the home site management cannot ensure that their spectators will conduct themselves in a sporting manner, then their team deserves to be penalized.

Team technical foul against the home team.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 07:55am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
I believe that the following is likely a minority opinion, but I would have penalized the home team for the thrown bottle. At the HS level that kind of unacceptable conduct needs to have harsh consequences. If the home site management cannot ensure that their spectators will conduct themselves in a sporting manner, then their team deserves to be penalized.

Team technical foul against the home team.
Nevada,

Among our group, we have beat this to death but we never raised this option. We felt at the time that home team administration did a pretty good job with THEIR decision to empty out the student section. Plus, we did have the old PA announcement to the rest of the audience.

But, I do like at least having that option in my tool belt.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 08:48am
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I know we've talked about this over and over, about not dealing with the fans except to ask game administration to take care of anything we see as a problem or potential problem. However, I have to say that once that bottle got thrown, a T should have been assessed to the home team regardless of what the game administration did afterwards. A thrown object that caused a disruption should be assessed a T. I know in Nebraska, we would be backed by the association for assessing this T because it falls in line with the "mandate" that we T the home team if they throw toilet paper after the first basket or any similar act.

I know many of you would say there's no real justification in the rules for assessing a T for the home team in this situation, but if that bottle had been full, and the kid ended up with a head injury from it (and trust me, that CAN happen), and the officials did nothing except let the game administration take care of it, the officials may end up with some liability in some states. Some states' high courts have ruled that passing the buck increases the liability of the person who did so. Something to think about.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 08:58am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ref Ump Welsch
I know many of you would say there's no real justification in the rules for assessing a T for the home team in this situation, but if that bottle had been full, and the kid ended up with a head injury from it (and trust me, that CAN happen), and the officials did nothing except let the game administration take care of it, the officials may end up with some liability in some states. Some states' high courts have ruled that passing the buck increases the liability of the person who did so. Something to think about.
My thought about this is how do you determine which team's fan threw the bottle. Could have been the players own classmate, who didn't like him. The management responded promptly and accordingly. If the game was close the Team T could have decided the game. Let the players decide not the fans. Just my 2 pennies worth.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 09:01am
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Nevada, just curious -- which rule sanctions the team technical you'd assess?

I can certainly see the rationale for it: jeers don't interrupt the game, but thrown objects do (they also are far riskier).
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 09:16am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurassic Referee
1) By immediately trying to calm #23 down, you were proactive.

2) Abusive comments may relate to race, profanity, threats, etc. Saying "you're terrible" is relatively mild imo. Any player who responds to that is kinda thin-skinned. It may have been an over-reaction on his part.

3) If the response in itself included profanity, threats, racial comments, etc., I would penalize the player. Otherwise, I'd probably do exactly what you did.

4) No.

Sounds like security reacted well by unloading the whole student section. I'd make sure that I'd report this one though. You certainly don't want to see a repeat at that particular school.

Good job by you and the kid's coach in trying to calm the kid down imo, Mulk.
JR,

Report into GHSA already.

What I'm trying to come to grips with is razzing a player, constantly booing a player or holding up signs considered fan abuse? Take out profanity or vulgarity, should a high school player be subjected to constant razzing? Picture the kind of stuff the Dukies do when they target a particular player. Would you stop this kind of behavior in a high school game?

If the student section does get the player's goat and he responds "mildly" by screaming back, laughing, pointing or shaking his head, ec., would you penalize the player? Is the player expected to ignore any comments from the stands?

Who is more at fault IF this razzing escalates into something similar to the situation that we had the other night? The player or the student section?
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 09:24am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbyron
Nevada, just curious -- which rule sanctions the team technical you'd assess?

I can certainly see the rationale for it: jeers don't interrupt the game, but thrown objects do (they also are far riskier).
2.8.1 Situation
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 09:37am
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I don't have my rule books at work, but I know there is a provision in there that allows for a technical foul against a team if the behavior of its fans warrants one. There is also a caution to use the provision very carefully.

I found it at the NFHS on-line site.

2-8-1
Quote:
Art. 1... Penalize unsporting conduct by any player, coach, substitute, team attendant or follower.
Note: The home management or game committee is responsible for spectator behavior, insofar as it can reasonably be expected to control the spectators. The officials may call fouls on either team if its supporters act in such a way as to interfere with the proper conduct of the game. Discretion must be used in calling such fouls, however, lest a team be unjustly penalized. When team supporters become unruly or interfere with the orderly progress of the game, the officials shall stop the game until the host management resolves the situation and the game can proceed in an orderly manner. In the absence of a designated school representative, the home coach shall serve as the host management.

Last edited by Ignats75; Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 09:41am.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 10:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
I believe that the following is likely a minority opinion, but I would have penalized the home team for the thrown bottle. At the HS level that kind of unacceptable conduct needs to have harsh consequences. If the home site management cannot ensure that their spectators will conduct themselves in a sporting manner, then their team deserves to be penalized.

Team technical foul against the home team.
While this is allowed, I'm not sure it should be used in the OP's case. ronny did not see the specific person who threw the bottle. The player confronted who he thought threw the bottle. So, I'm not sure guessing on this call is the right thing to do, especially since the Fed. mentions it is also a call we should use discretion in making.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 11:36am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronny mulkey
What I'm trying to come to grips with is razzing a player, constantly booing a player or holding up signs considered fan abuse? Take out profanity or vulgarity, should a high school player be subjected to constant razzing? Picture the kind of stuff the Dukies do when they target a particular player. Would you stop this kind of behavior in a high school game?

If the student section does get the player's goat and he responds "mildly" by screaming back, laughing, pointing or shaking his head, ec., would you penalize the player? Is the player expected to ignore any comments from the stands?

Who is more at fault IF this razzing escalates into something similar to the situation that we had the other night? The player or the student section?
I"m just wondering if you could have game management address the crowd earlier, without tossing them. It might also depend on the level of play. At varsity, with two relatively good teams, or where the winning team is taking the harassment, I'd be inclined to let a lot more go. But if there really is some emotional damage being done, I'd be tempted to nip it in the bud.

edited to add: looking back at OP, sounds like you handled it just about right. V team way ahead, player getting harassed is managed, game management stepped in when boundaries were crossed.

Last edited by rainmaker; Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 11:38am.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 11:53am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainmaker
I"m just wondering if you could have game management address the crowd earlier, without tossing them. It might also depend on the level of play. At varsity, with two relatively good teams, or where the winning team is taking the harassment, I'd be inclined to let a lot more go. But if there really is some emotional damage being done, I'd be tempted to nip it in the bud.

edited to add: looking back at OP, sounds like you handled it just about right. V team way ahead, player getting harassed is managed, game management stepped in when boundaries were crossed.
Julie,

In trying to prevent this type of situation in the future, my main question becomes:

Do you consider razzing, trying to get a player's "goat", ridicule aimed at players, etc. as being abusive? Do you stop it if it is not profane, vulgar, racial or threatening? I have always kinda thought that was home field advantage.

And, if the the player lets the crowd get to him and responds in a non-threatening, non-vulgar manner, do you penalize the player?
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 11:57am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronny mulkey
Had a situation Tuesday night that continues to bother me. Have disussed with several of our guys and I'd like to put it to you guys for your input because I have the winning team again next week.

We have a vert hotly contested game with the visiting team being clearly superior. The home team is becoming increasingly frustrated to the point wher we are forced to call a T for taunting, an intentional for excessive contact and many, many fouls.

While standing at C infront of the home student section, a fan yells "hey, # 23, you are terrible". The player atrts to respond but I stop him bt stating to just play ball and ignore the fans. His coach sees that he is agitated and subs him out. At this point, I am not alarmed. With about 2 minutes remaining in the game, an empty plastic bottle comes out of the student section and hits #23 in the head. Of course, he confronts the student that he thinks is the hurler. He doesn't leave floor and no punches are thrown. I am trying to get him back and 2 of his teammates join the fray. Still no punches thrown and still no play leaving the floor. Order is restored quickly by security as they escort out the student section.

My questions are:

Should I have become more proactive when the fan yelled at #23?

When do comments from the stands become abusive?

Would you penalize a player if he responded or gestured to statements from the stands? Would you consider him to be part of the problem?

Would you have penalized #23 or his teamates for confronting the student section after being hit by the bottle?
I've got a T here.

No, I don't think you needed to be more proactive. You did well in the first case involving 23 and the students. 23's coach even took him out of the game. That was a good move.

If the comment from the stand was a one-off, I let it go, but if they get to the point where it is visibly affecting the players, I talk to game management to deal with it.

If a player responded, at the very least both coaches would be talked to, and game management would be dealing with the stands.

I would penalize 23 if he did something illegal. It doesn't sound like he did anything illegal.
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Old Fri Dec 14, 2007, 12:01pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronny mulkey
Julie,

In trying to prevent this type of situation in the future, my main question becomes:

Do you consider razzing, trying to get a player's "goat", ridicule aimed at players, etc. as being abusive? Do you stop it if it is not profane, vulgar, racial or threatening? I have always kinda thought that was home field advantage.

And, if the the player lets the crowd get to him and responds in a non-threatening, non-vulgar manner, do you penalize the player?
Yea, it's an interesting set of questions. I have only one experience. Girls' varsity. close rivalry game all the way through, although home winning. V player had attended home school at some point and was definitely the flash point for the fan yelling and chivying. She finally lost her cool and flipped one certain guy off. I whacked her, and simultaneously, game management stepped in and shut up the home fans. Everyone in the whole gym thought it was enormously amusing. Visitors came back and won by 3. Justice was served, I guess.

I expect it's gonna be one of those touchy-feely things. Gotta keep your finger on the pulse, feel the atmosphere and do what seems best in that situation.
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