NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia police say a parent could face assault charges after he slammed a high school wrestling referee onto the mat. The referee tells FOX 29 he suffered a concussion.
The incident happened Saturday at a match between Archbishop Ryan and St Joe’s Prep, according to investigators. After the match was over, the referee moved the St. Joe’s Prep athlete out of the ring. Video then shows a St. Joe's parent shoving the referee to the ground.
Video of the incident was sent to FOX 29. Police say the referee was just doing his job.
“It just catches you by surprise when you see it and it happened so fast and out of nowhere. Obviously, the referee didn’t know it was coming,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum.
He also says it’s against the law to assault a sports official.
“Referees are a protected class so in Pennsylvania it’s upgraded where if a regular citizen is assaulted it might not be the level or same grade as a sports official. Same as police officers and teachers,' Lt. Rosenbaum explained.
FOX 29 asked St. Joe’s Prep if the parent will be suspended from the next match.
In a statement, the school says, “St. Joseph's Prep espouses the value of sportsmanship for all involved in our athletics program. We are aware of this situation and are addressing it internally at this time.”
Lauren Dugan also spoke with the referee over the phone who says he has been doing this for 11 years and has never been shoved by a parent. He says the incident is not stopping him from finishing the season.
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