I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s still interesting how the media seems to relish in highlighting the behavior of soccer parents when other sports have their issues too. A few years ago, Raleigh’s Parks and Rec department put up chain link fences to keep parents away from the (pointy) football fields. This was in response to some fairly serious issues with the parents, though it still seemed a bit harsh.

Well, recently Raleigh’s soccer league, the largest in North Carolina by far, had some parents get into it over shade among other things. The parents were immediately suspended and that’s that. The league handled it quickly and properly. They even have been running public service ads on sports talk radio this season, imploring parents to behave. But their issues are NOT exceptional. All leagues have problem parents and coaches they have to deal with over time. Some do it more than others, but suspending 5 parents in a league of 9000 players is NOT abnormal.

Yet it’s news apparently:

A rash of parent-on-parent confrontations and clashes with referees last weekend — some prompted by the quest for shade — prompted the area’s largest youth soccer league to suspend five adults.

Clashes??? For real? I mean referees suffer a lot of abuse, but clashes? Sensationalize much?

CASL handled this very well and that’s that. What would be news is if they HADN’T done anything. As Michael Kanters, a professor of sports management at NC State, noted in the article:

incidents such as those documented by CASL remain isolated, but leagues need a zero-tolerance policy for any aggression.

“Every parent out there, even the ones that are jumping across the field and confronting referees and coaches, they’re there because they think they’re doing something great for their kids,” Kanters said. “But if this parent is creating an unsafe environment, then absolutely, they should not be there. Period, end of story.”

That’s absolutely correct. Even a league as small as ours has taken action to suspend and even expel adults from the league for inappropriate behavior. if you let it slide, you’re just asking for trouble.

And while the N&O article was balanced and cast CASL’s actions in a good light, the intro made you think parents were beating the referees with folding chairs or something! It’s not like anyone pulled out a gun – THAT’s news.