What is the appropriate punishment for a high school student-athlete attacking a referee?
today at 11:18 am
It’s a scene that is rarely seen in the world of sports. Even at the professional level, touching an official is off-limits. An accidental bumping will get an athlete an automatic ejection and most likely, fined and suspended. At the youth levels, children are taught not to argue with the referees, no matter how egregious they think the decision is. Referees and umpires are to be respected for the thankless job that they do.
That’s what made what occurred in Texas last week so shocking. It happens so rarely that most of us were stunned to see the video of the event.
Emmanuel Duron is a senior at Edinburg High School. He was last season’s District 31-6A Defensive Player of the Year. He is also the team’s kicker and punter. He is also one of the state’s premier wrestlers.
In a report from The Monitor, a a McAallen, TX newspaper, here are the details:
Duron, the team’s star defender, was flagged on a play early during the second quarter after he shoved an opposing offensive lineman to the ground and attempted to make a tackle on PSJA High freshman quarterback Jaime Lopez after the whistle had blown the play dead.
Duron and referee Fred Gracia exchanged words after the play was over, and Gracia ejected Duron from the contest after back-to-back unsportsmanlike penalties on the same play.
Duron, who was leading the Bobcats in tackles (102) and sacks (eight) through four games, then charged onto the field as teammates raced after him in an attempt to hold him back. The senior defensive end collided with Gracia, checking him chest-to-chest at full speed and sending him to the turf.
Duron was escorted out from the stadium by a team of four Edinburg police officers who were working security for the game. He was not handcuffed, but was removed from the premises and did not return.
Referee Gracia went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with rib and shoulder injuries plus a concussion.
The next day Emmanuel Duron was charged with assault and given a $10,000 bond.
The Edinburg team went on to win the game 35-21. The win would have qualified them for the state playoffs. However, their season is now over after this announcement from the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District:
“The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020,” the district stated. “We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family. On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologize to the athletes, staff, and our school community. We will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident. The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation.”
All of this leads to the following questions:
a. What is the appropriate punishment for the student/athlete? Are legal charges too much for an incident that occurred on the playing field?
b. Was disqualifying the team from the playoffs too much? Was there a need to punish the other student/athletes because of an incident in which they had no involvement?
Obviously, Emmanuel Duron will not be playing high school football again. He’s a senior and with his team no longer in the playoffs, his football career is over. My guess is his wrestling career is over, too. Usually, I’m believer in second chances and redemption stories, but he had a similar incident with an official during a soccer game last year. This was his second chance. My guess is the school will give him a long suspension and bar him from attending any official school events, such as prom and graduation. I’m fine with that. I doubt he will also see any jail time over this. A lengthy time of probation and plenty of community service should take care of his legal issues.
As for the team, I have conflicting reactions to their disbarment from the playoffs. I’m not sure one bad moment from one kid should ruin it for everyone else. If you watch the video below, you’ll see Duron’s teammates trying to keep him from getting to the official. They then immediately got him off the playing surface….and yet their season is now over.
As for team’s coaches, they had to know about the soccer incident. Yet they allowed Duron to play football, most likely because he was their best player and gave them the best chance to win games.
Once again, winning over everything else.[embedded content]
Related Post: What’s the matter with kid’s sports parents?
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