A 72-year-old youth baseball umpire was left with a fractured jaw after an ejected coach leveled him with a sucker punch at a 13-and-under tournament, the U.S. Amateur Baseball League said in a recent social media post.
The incident occurred in Branchburg, New Jersey, per NJ.com. The league claims the coach in question had been seen drinking between games and was ejected after "aggressively" arguing a call with the umpire. The following punch reportedly fractured the umpire's jaw in two places, requiring his jaw to be wired shut and extensive dental surgery.
The coach allegedly fled the scene before the police arrived, while parents on his team were heard shouting at the injured umpire and claiming "he deserved it."
The full statement from the USABL:
This past weekend at a 13U baseball tournament, a coach (who was witnessed drinking between games) got ejected from the game for aggressively arguing a call with the umpire, which is prohibited.
This coach, who is built like a linebacker, then proceeds to walk up to the 72-year-old veteran umpire with 35+ years of experience umpiring games and sucker punch him in the face. The umpire's jaw is fractured in 2 places, wired shut and requires extensive dental surgery. The coach fled the scene before police arrived like a coward. Even as police and EMT's were providing medical attention to the umpire, other parents from the same team were heard shouting expletives at the umpire and saying things like "he deserved it".
THIS NEEDS TO STOP
The matter remains under investigation by police in Branchburg, according to NJ.com, while the coach and his team, a travel team from Staten Island called New York Prospects, have been banned from the USABL.
New York Prospects president Frank Cambria released a statement apologizing for the incident and denouncing not just the coach, but the parents who allegedly jeered the umpire:
There is never, never, ever an excuse to hit an umpire nor another human being when at a sports venue, especially involving children. When has winning a plastic trophy become more important than the welfare of another human being? What are we teaching our kids today? It's supposed to be about teaching team work, sportsmanship and respect.
What I found also disturbing was some of the families instead of coming to the aid of the umpire were complaining about his calls. People need to get a grip and have an ounce of compassion for a fellow human being. I am appalled by what happened and have taken immediate action against this person.
NJ.com reports the umpire is recovering from his injuries and was able to recently attend a game involving the other team from the incident "to show the kids he was OK and support their team, as the kids were pretty shaken witnessing this."