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Referee pushes basketball player, coach is disciplined for asking why

Some parents say a referee pushed a young boy during a game. Now, they're upset the referee didn't get in trouble, but the coach who questioned the ref, did.

News on Six reporter Lori Fullbright says the parents say the ref was upset with the timekeeper and in his rush to talk to the timekeeper, shoved a couple of nine-year-old boys out of the way. Despite the fact these parents say they witnessed it, the parks department says it didn't happen.

This is home video of the game on February 16th at McClure Park. Some parents say during the game, the male referee got frustrated with the timekeeper and in his effort to express that frustration, pushed aside a young boy.

Mary Hollopeter, parent: "I saw him lean on the table with his hands on the table and as he moves around, he shoves the kids away." Kim Reed, parent: "I saw the referee put both hands out and push the kids and I was just dumbfounded." Henry Hollopeter, parent: "I asked him why he pushed the kids and he said, you don't understand the circumstances. I said there is no circumstance for pushing the kids." This man didn't see it but it was his child. Todd Miller, parent: "He said, Dad, did you know I got pushed. It really shocked me."

The parents told their coach, Walter Evans about it after the game and Evans says he asked the referee what happened in this office. Evans is a police officer and negotiator for the SWAT team. "My demeanor was calm, I kept my hands to my side, I was aware of his personal space and didn't violate that." But, the league coordinator saw it differently and did not discipline the referee but disciplined Coach Evans. She says he violated a rule that says coaches must wait 24 hours before lodging a protest with an official and because Evans did not conduct himself according to the code of ethics.

She first told him to write letters of apology and when he refused, she gave him a year's probation. Leann Crawley, league coordinator: "I've interviewed parents, officials and spectators not associated with the team and saw the videotape and determined that there was not an alleged pushing incident and no violation on behalf of the official."

These parents say they were never interviewed even after some left phone messages and wrote letters. Leann Crawley: "I would have to dispute that." The parents want their coach reinstated and want the referee disciplined, their biggest frustration is they weren't allowed to tell what they saw during the two disciplinary hearings.

The league coordinator says closing the meetings is a common practice to protect privacy. She says if Evans writes the letters of apology, he will be reinstated. Of course, he feels it would be wrong to apologize since he doesn't believe he was in the wrong.
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