It’s shameful to need sportsmanship law

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 10, 2002

It’s a shame that we have to make good sportsmanship a law in Alabama, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a law making it a crime to "harass, menace or assault sports officials." And that law is quite likely to be called into play at baseball and softball parks across the state during rec league play if parents and fans get carried away with their protests or opinions.

We’ve all heard the stories of the parents who yelled and screamed at a coach or an umpire; or the fans who chastise the players and coaches and officials from the stands.

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The parents and fans who should set the best examples for our young players can actually set the worst examples. They teach all the wrong lessons in a sport that is supposed to teach our youngsters the value of teamwork, the spirit of sportsmanship, a little bit of confidence and, hopefully, a love of an American pastime. But when sport turns too serious, and emotions rage, the situation can get out of control.

And we’ve all seen the effect those actions have on the young players – shame, humiliation, embarrassment.

Now, the rec department and others have legal recourse against the fans and parents who lose their cool at the ballparks. And we think it’s about time.  

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