Boys' football game turns into adult brawl injuring referee in Broward
Adults behave badly during childrens' sports event at Sunview Park
BROWARD, Fla. – After boys ages 10 to 11-years-old lost a football game, a coach and a few parents unleashed their wrath.
After the referee made several calls against the East Miramar Dolphins, a crowd rushed to beat him up. Some used their hands, feet and teeth. He suffered a broken jaw and other injuries.
A few memes poking fun at the Saturday afternoon attack at Sunview Park, 1500 SW 42nd Ave., in Broward, were circulating on social media Wednesday.
"Scared refs be like, we not refs, we work at Footlocker," a meme one of the parents shared on Facebook said.
Broward Sheriff's Office deputies were taking the incident seriously. When deputies arrived at the park, there were dozens screaming and cursing in the field. Referee Emanuel Hodge, 58, of Fort Lauderdale, was in severe pain.
Southwest Seminoles youth football team president Lee Jackson, who works out of Sunview Park, said the teams were part of play off games for rapper FloRida's Florida Youth Football League.
"That never happens. There is kids out there," Jackson said. "I don't understand how they got so out of control."
According to the referees the East Boynton Wildcats from Palm Beach beat the East Miramar Dolphins 12 to 6. But the Miramar coaches disagreed. Witnesses told police Miramar coach Mack Payout wanted to get close to Hodge, but his brother Fernander Jones, who is also a Miramar coach, stopped him.
"The coach was inciting the fans and screaming 'This how you going to do us? This how you going to do us?' And officials are taught not to talk back to coaches," said Chester Smith, the referees' commissioner. "They came down to the field. The other officials tried to shield him."
But some in the crowd got through to Hodge. Smith said he saw cell phone video that showed two men and a woman beat up Hodge badly. Timothy Smathers, of Miami Gardens, said he was there.
"There were a couple of arguments between the referee and the coach, and when they lost there was shouting and before I knew it there were punches flying," Smathers said.
A man, who was there to watch his nephew play, and was wearing green shoes and a white shirt sucker-punched the referee, witnesses said. He did so, as a woman and another man were also attacking him.
Some parents said on social media that they suspect the referees were getting paid on the side. Smith said that is not true. East Miramar Dolphins mom Jessica B. Jackson said the team was cheated. Dominique James said the referee deserved what he got, because he was stealing from kids.
"Our kids will continue to ball and keep their heads held high," Jackson said on Facebook. "Yes the situation could have been handled better. I believe some parents were just totally fed up with the mistreatment."
BSO spokeswoman Alesia Furdon said the case remained under investigation, and that deputies had video of the incident that they could not release. The video was up on Facebook Sunday morning, but was later removed.
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