OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s something that’s become a big problem on the sidelines — out of control parents.
“We get mad. We go on a tirade when Little Sally or Little Sammy gets kicked. Guess what? It’s soccer! She’s going to get kicked,” said referee Brian Barlow. He’s created a page online that showcases videos of parents throwing fits.
He says the page is supposed to be funny, but serious.
“I do point out some of the stuff as officials that we hear that make the game more toxic than it needs to be,” said Barlow. “I’m the referee that’s going to make fun of you for saying ‘offsides.’ I’m the referee that’s going to make fun of you for saying ‘handball’ all the time. I’m the referee that’s going to make fun of every time Little Sally or Little Sammy gets knocked down, you’re screaming and yelling for the foul.”
He even pays people.
“I said, ‘listen, if you capture referee abuse like this and I post it on my Facebook page, I’m going to give you a hundred dollars," he said.
17-year-old referee Hannah Knehans knows how the game works.
“Probably my worst experience was I made a call and one of the coaches told me, didn’t agree with my call, and they said, ‘that’s why women belong in the kitchen,'" she told News 4.
She says her boss has even faced threats.
“Some guy threatened to stab her and so, that wasn’t good,” said Knehans, who also says parents are teaching their kids the wrong thing. “That it’s okay to be rude to people and that’s never a lesson you want to teach. Everybody deserves kindness and respect."
Meanwhile, Barlow says he’s already received thousands of videos and from people outing angry parents.
“People are looking for it. They want to be part of the solution, not a part of the problem. And nobody wants to be publicly shamed, I promise you,” said Barlow.