Referee Body Cams Coming to Youth Sports in New York?
Should youth sports referees in the Hudson Valley wear body cams during games to stop parental abuse?
If you have children that play sports you are well aware that at some of their games, things can get a little out of control. Parents yelling and interfering in games is not something new to youth sports but over the last few years, things have gotten so bad that many Hudson Valley organizations are reporting that they can't find anyone to referee games because they are deterred by overly aggressive parents and their actions at games.
Parents Out of Control at Youth Games
Many of us have been to games in the Hudson Valley where we have witnessed a parent lose control. Cheering on the kids is always encouraged but at some games, there are parents that go overboard when it comes to routing on their child. Personally, my 17-year-old daughter is currently a soccer referee in Dutchess County, NY, and after almost every game she comes home with a story of a parent who screamed at her because they thought she made an incorrect call on the field. There have been nights where she has said she doesn't want to ref anymore because of it. Thankfully she hasn't given up yet but it really has become a serious issue, not only in New York but all over the world.
Body Cams for Referees
Fields and courts in New York aren't the only places that some parents lose control, up north in Canada, youth referees are also facing similar issues, and officials in one soccer association have announced a new pilot program to try and deter aggressive parent behavior. Ontario's Soccer Association (OSA) recently had some of its referees start wearing body cameras to deter "parental abuse" according to CBS.
Parental Abuse at Games
Abuse of referees at games is the main reason many organizations can't find referees for games and the OSA hopes that by making 50 body cameras available to its roughly 6,000 referees it will deter parents from abusing the referees. Ontario Soccer CEO Johnny Misley told CBS,
"We feel there's an opportunity here, that we can show some leadership and try to curb the culture of referee abuse, which is the number one reason why referees leave the game and sport in general. This is not acceptable. And honestly, seeing these referees with cameras on them today is a pretty sad state of where our society is."
The body cam pilot program's number one objective is determining whether the cameras act as a physical deterrent for vocal and physical abuse, or not according to Misley. The program is the first of its kind in North America and if it shows any positive results don't be surprised to see cameras on fields in New York before long. Do you think that body cams would work in Hudson Valley sports? Are things so bad that they are needed? Let us know through our station app.