Parents Gone Wild: Soccer Ref's Facebook Page Calls Out 'Epidemic' of Adults' Unruly Behavior
A high school soccer referee started a Facebook page to shine a light on what he calls "deplorable" behavior by parents at their children's sporting events.
Brian Barlow's page, called "Offside," routinely posts videos sent to him by parents showing other parents yelling, cursing, threatening and even assaulting referees.
In a video recently posted on the page, a Pennsylvania man is seen walking out onto a wrestling mat and punching a referee in the face.
In a recent op-ed, the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations wrote that, "According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit. And 80 percent of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistle blowing. Why? They don’t need your abuse."
Speaking on "Fox & Friends" Friday, Barlow said the op-ed rings true and the behavior is an "epidemic" across the United States, with parents "sucking" the enjoyment out of athletic competition for their kids.
He said he's been escorted off soccer fields by police officers out of concern that unruly parents would attack him after games. Barlow stressed that referees make bad calls sometimes and don't have the benefit of instant replay like in the NFL, MLB or professional soccer.
Barlow said he believes social media is driving some parents to take the games far too seriously and they feel a pressure for their children to do well.
"We have to have that picture of little soccer Sammy or Sally holding the trophy. ... I think that's just the society we live in," he said, adding that these parents create entitled behavior in their kids.
"All the discussion these days is about the wall. I want the wall between the parents and the game!"
Watch the "Fox & Friends" interview above.