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A youth sports punch can get you six years in the clink

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I haven’t seen a punishment this severe for an assault on youth sports personnel, but maybe six years in prison should be a warning to any parent who goes nuts over kids’ athletics — at least to any parent with priors.

From the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn.:

A Minneapolis man will serve six years in prison for punching the commissioner of a Burnsville youth sports association in the face after a sixth-grade basketball game [Feb. 13]

Robin Johnson, 49, also was ordered in Dakota County District Court to pay more than $14,200 in restitution and have no contact with the victims, who were not identified in court Wednesday. Johnson pleaded guilty in June to felony first-degree assault.

According to witnesses, Johnson was taunting at a player to make him miss — during a sixth-grade house league game. Commissioner Jeff Shaud asked him to stop, and when Johnson didn’t, Shaud got out his cellphone to call police. Johnson slapped it out of his hand, and then punched Shaud in the face to register his disagreement with the commissioner.

Police said Johnson landed multiple punches before being subdued by others in the crowd, most notably by a crowd member who kicked him in what my 7-year-old likes to call the “sheen.” (Not named after Charlie, but it could be.)

One of the amazing things about men is that no matter how many times they watch this, they will find it funny. And they will grab their man parts.

As youth sports parents and coaches, we’ve all dealt with nuts, and I don’t mean the kind that Robin Johnson was holding after he was kicked. Often, when writing about these folks, the assumption is they are otherwise normal people who get caught up in the youth sports moment. Alas, if that were always true. Often, many of these nuts bring their nuttiness with them. Johnson, for example, had issues that ranged far beyond his feeling on sixth-grade free throws.

Again, from the Pioneer Press:

In a separate case, Judge Michael Mayer also sentenced Johnson to a year of jail for violating a protection order, a gross misdemeanor, said Monica Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Dakota County attorney’s office. Johnson will serve the sentences concurrently. …

Previously, Johnson was convicted in June for violating an order for protection, in 2007 for giving police false information and violating an order for protection, and in 1997 for fifth-degree assault and fifth-degree domestic assault.

So if you’re the type who punches people at random… well, stop. But, please, don’t come to the kids’ games. If you do, there might already be a prison bunk being made up for you.

Written by rkcookjr

November 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Sixth-grade basketball league commissioner gets a beatdown

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“You can usually get people aside and let them vent a bit. Then they usually realize, ‘What am I doing here?'”

Those are the words of Jeff Shand, commissioner of the Burnsville Athletic Club’s in-house basketball league in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul, describing the crazy parents that he deals with from time to time in his gig. I know the feeling.

I had a mother in my fifth- and sixth-grade coed league that, ahem, had a few differences of opinion with my methods of coaching, particularly the method in which I didn’t play her son every minute of every game. That, ahem, conversation climaxed — on the first word — with her screaming obscenities at me out front of the gym. I’ve never seen everyone stop at once in the parking lot and stare with big kitty saucer eyes like that before or since. But after a little while, she calmed down, and we were able to have a civil conversation. Sometimes a parent just gets frustrated in the heat of the moment, and as long as you, as Shand advises, let them vent, it won’t be pretty, but it will end well.

Alas, Shand’s comment to the the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis came after an incident that did not start OR end well, according to police.

A youth basketball commissioner was assaulted by a dad and possibly another person at a sixth-graders’ game over the weekend in a dispute over officiating at the end of overtime, according to the league and police.

Jeff Shand, 50, had his jaw dislocated, suffered a concussion and has dental damage from the attack immediately after a tournament game Saturday at Burnsville High School, according to Rich Hardegger, an assistant commissioner for Burnsville boys’ in-house basketball.

A 48-year-old man from Minneapolis was subdued after being kicked in the groin by one man and then tackled by several adults, said police Sgt. Jef Behnken. The man was arrested, booked in jail and then released on his own recognizance, Behnken said. …

Behnken said the dad hit the commissioner, but Shand said it was a teenager or man in his early 20s who “sucker-punched” him from behind. Shand said the dad had thrown a basketball at him.

Behnken said authorities are looking for another suspect, a 15-year-old boy.

This kind of stuff never happens to David Stern. (Video of the altercation is here. Fox 9 in Minneapolis identifies the alleged assailant as Robin Johnson, and that he, his family — including his son who played that day — are banned from the Burnsville league.)

Nicole Lavoi at One Sport Voice, which gets the hat tip for this article, said in her research as a psychology and sports sociology professor at the University of Minnesota, the so-called “Background Anger” at youth sports events comes from two things: perceptions of injustice and perceptions of incompetence. In other words, you fucked over my kid because you were so stupid.

Thankfully, few parents take their anger to such a violent level. The problem is, you never know who is capable of getting this upset, and when it will manifest itself in such extreme ways. As Shand put it: “The only people we can’t do background checks on are the parents.”