A Washington father was charged with assault after he allegedly shoved an elderly referee at his son’s 8th grade basketball game, breaking his nose.
Mark McLaughlin, 31, stormed the court at Kenmore Middle School on Dec. 16 when he disagreed with a call. He slammed the 72-year-old ref from behind, breaking his nose and cheekbone when he hit the hardwood floor face-first, according to the Seattle Times.
He turned himself into authorities the next day, and pleaded not guilty to the second-degree assault charge on Jan. 3, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.
McLaughlin, who is 6’6” and 215 pounds, is a former standout basketball player at Central Washington University, where he averaged 22.4 points per game in the 2012-2013 regular season, the Times reported. He attended nine different schools in six years, including Seattle University and the University of Washington.
He only spent 4 months at UW and left the team after an on-court altercation with a teammate led to punches being thrown, sources told the Times.
The attack was caught on camera by spectators and quickly spread across social media.
“The defendant is 6’6 and 215 lbs and was likely able to generate a significant amount of force,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Brynn Jacobson wrote in charging papers, obtained by the Seattle Times. “The defendant is clearly unable to keep his temper under control, even in a room full of children and parents at a school basketball game.”
The ref’s nose bled for 90 minutes as he was treated in the school’s locker room, according to documents.
Witnesses said McLaughlin’s son intentionally fouled an opposing player which led to an on-court skirmish. A different referee broke up the players, knocking McLaughlin’s son down in the process. The ref then helped him to his feet.
McLaughlin yelled “No one touches my son!” as he charged onto the court and shoved the referee from behind. He then left with his son before police arrived.
The ref was transported to the UW Northwest Medical Center for treatment.