Massachusetts teen jailed after ‘clown punch’ referee during basketball game

A Boston high school basketball player has been charged with assault and battery after he “punched” a referee during a basketball game Wednesday night.

The 16-year-old Excel High School student was taken into custody after allegedly punching the referee in the face. He reportedly believed he was being called for another foul after the referee called for the other team to travel, Boston 25 News reported.

Photographer Dan Leahy witnessed the “full nelson” on the referee, telling Boston 25 that once the teenager took the victim down with one punch, he continued the attack, even as the referee was bent over and unable to defend himself. “There is so much anger to attack an authoritative figure in this way. And it was vicious, not like she went up and hit him or anything. He punched him, it’s a shame,” added Leahy.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) he responded on the attack, stating “there is no place for violence or physical anger in sport. Our schools work to develop young athletes within the structure of interscholastic competition. Our students play the game with a love of sport. Behavior contrary to this has no place on our sports fields, arenas or hockey rinks.”

In a statement, the Massachusetts State Basketball Officials Association (MSBOA) expressed its outrage over the incident, arguing that the “despicable” treatment of officials by fans, coaches and players is the main reason for the nationwide shortage of gaming officials. (RELATED: Police say mom punched multiple kids and a referee during high school basketball game)

“We are calling on local authorities, Boston Public Schools and the MIAA to take swift action that includes appropriate punishment for whoever is responsible for this dangerous attack… Unfortunately, the resentment and outright anger directed at officials has grown to a completely unacceptable level, which can lead to an attack like the one in Cohasset. This is wrong and needs to be addressed,” the statement to Boston 25 News reads.

The teenager is scheduled to appear in Quincy Juvenile Court on assault and battery charges sometime in the future, Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley said. The investigation remains ongoing.

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