Deptford Township, NJ

New Jersey Little League provides a novel solution to rowdy parents in the stands

B.R. Shenoy

Anyone in the stands who confronts an umpire during a game must umpire three games before returning as a spectator.
Little LeaguePhoto byBen HersheyonUnsplash

“People are very comfortable making officials uncomfortable, so it’s about time that we’ve reversed the trend and started making people uncomfortable who are harassing officials,” said Brian Barlow, who founded Offside, a Facebook page that calls out bad behavior among youth sports parents, per GMA.

Are you familiar with the recent news about a Little League baseball town in New Jersey introducing a new rule to combat misbehavior from parents and spectators? If not, let me fill you in.

Recently, a suburb of Philadelphia called Deptford Township, New Jersey, has been dealing with parents and spectators yelling and berating umpires and referees during Little League games.

This behavior has caused an increase in volunteer resignations, making it challenging for the league to find enough officials to cover games.

To combat this issue, the Little League officials in Deptford Township have devised a unique solution. If a parent or spectator fights with an umpire or referee, they must volunteer to officiate for at least three upcoming games.

This rule aims to show parents what it’s like to be on the field and encourage them to treat officials more respectfully.

This innovative solution has received praise from Little League International’s President and CEO, Stephen Keener. He applauded the volunteer’s creative and fun approach to promoting sportsmanship and respect on and off the field.

The local organizers have emphasized that a certified umpire will be on the field to ensure all calls are correct.

The point of the rule is not to make parents and spectators experts but to show them that being an official is not as easy as it may seem.

Closing Thoughts

  • This new rule in Deptford Township is a great reminder that we should all treat officials with respect and sportsmanship.
  • It’s essential to keep in mind that umpires and referees are often volunteers and are not there to be yelled at or abused.
  • Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the hard work and dedication of all those involved in Little League, from players to officials.


What are your thoughts on this new rule? Let us know in the comments.

A version of this story originally appeared on Medium.

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