Parent facing stiff penalties for assault

The parent of a Colts Neck Pop Warner League football player has provided his hometown children’s league and the state of New Jersey with its latest youth sports black eye. It is another in a growing litany of parents behaving poorly in front of children.

On Sept. 30 after Pop Warner youth football play at Colts Neck High School, the parent of a Colts Neck player was arrested after allegedly punching his son’s coach and knocking the man unconscious.

The genesis of the incident was reportedly the playing situation involving the son of the accused attacker.

The parent was charged with assault while attending a community sponsored youth sporting event while juveniles under 16 were present. The law, enacted in 2003, upgraded the charge from disorderly conduct to a fourth degree offense that carries a potential penalty of 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines.

This particular charge generally results in the case against the attacker being sent to state Superior Court instead of being heard in municipal court. The very serious nature of the attack warrants more attention and stiffer penalties than what was previously permitted under the disorderly persons offense.

The upgrade in the New Jersey law was a response to a rash of incidents that had occurred throughout the United States over the previous decade: reports of parents fighting with coaches and parents fighting among themselves, oftentimes resulting in serious injury or death, as occurred in Massachusetts at a youth hockey game in 2000. In 2002, the parent who beat the other parent to death was sentenced to between six and 10 years in prison.

The parent accused in the Colts Neck incident should thank God that the attack in which he allegedly played a role did not result in a death.

Previous incidents reported by Greater Media Newspapers that have dealt with assaults at local youth sporting events indicate that the accused individual can expect the legal process to take about one year to resolve and result in a fine, probation or entry into a pretrial intervention program.

You can be sure that will be a year of heartache, expense, worry, regret and uncertainty for the accused individual and the members of his family.

The attorney for the individual accused in the Colts Neck incident has been quoted as saying his client’s side of the story has yet to be heard. We will wait to hear what could have led his client to allegedly punch another man at a youth sports event.

Coincidentally, “there are two sides to every story” is exactly what the attorney for the man who was eventually convicted of beating the hockey dad to death in Massachusetts said seven years ago.

The only side that needs to be understood by everyone who attends a youth sporting event is this: Keep your mouth closed and keep your hands to yourself. The lesson you will learn if you do not do that is a harsh one.