South Jersey little league team implementing new rule to curb wild behavior from unruly parents
DEPTFORD, N.J. - As youth sports gets more competitive, parents across the country are taking things too far, causing teams to put a stop to wild behavior from unruly parents in the stands.
The Deptford Little League has introduced a new rule to keep parents in line.
The organization's President, Don Bozzuffi, Vice President, Jim McDevitt, and a parent, Dewey Hatton, joined Good Day Philadelphia to discuss the behavior they are looking to stop.
Hatton said he's heard the use of expletives from irate parents in the stands, which has then influenced some children to use foul language on the field.
McDevitt, who also serves as an umpire during games, says he has had parents heckle him about calls he's made.
Bozzuffi says that while 99% of parents serve as positive reinforcements to the young team members, 1% make it difficult for everyone, especially when violence is involved.
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In an effort to create change, McDevitt says they called in younger umpires who may have a better appeal with the children's parents, but that move was not enough.
"After about two and a half three weeks they went, ‘That’s it Don. I had enough. I thought I had tough skin but these parents are incredible,'" McDevitt said.
Now, to combat the lack of available umpires and stop wild behavior, the league is advancing a rule that would make unruly spectators umpire three games or be banned from the facility for up to one year.
Spectators who must umpire the games will undergo background checks and be fully trained before hitting the field, according to the league.
"We don't want them per say to be able to go out there and call a game," Bozzufi said. "We want them to understand what it's like out there and it's not just calling balls and strikes."
Hatton thinks the new idea will serve as a "catalyst for change" that will shift the paradigm of character and sportsmanship.