Police in DeKalb County is investigating an assault on a referee during a youth basketball game at Stronghold Christian Church.
According to a video posted on social media, multiple individuals pursued the referee after the game ended, surrounding him so he could not escape.
Seemingly, the referee attempted to protect himself from the group; however, both players and spectators continued to hit and kick the man.
Authorities have not released the names of any individuals arrested. Furthermore, it is unclear if the two teams participating are connected to any individual school or association.
In a statement after the incident, the host church condemned the violence.
“It is truly unfortunate about the turn of events that took place during the basketball game held at our facility this weekend. We open our doors to serve our community and our goal is to provide an atmosphere conducive for enjoyment, enrichment, etc. While we can not control people, it is our hope and prayer that those who enter our facility will conduct themselves in the best manner. Our prayers go out to all those involved in this current situation,” Senior Pastor Dr. Benjamin Gaither said in a statement written on Facebook.
According to some officials, violence and unsportsmanlike conduct against referees are becoming more common.
“It’s becoming too commonplace now that we’re having contest officials be assaulted by parents, players, coaches,” said Ernie Yarborough, assistant executive director for the Georgia High School Association, told WXIA. “It was very disturbing for me to see that. It’s important that you do have an adequate number of officials to cover all those games or else you become restricted on the days you can play and the number of games you can play and the levels of teams that any respective school may have.”
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