For Release September 8, 2015
NASO Statement on Texas High School Football Incident
In Marble Falls, Texas this past weekend, an officiating nightmare took place. It took place and nobody was sleeping. Fortunately someone was videotaping the game. Without any room for equivocation, that video shows two players from John Jay High School in San Antonio purposely and with malice physically assaulted back judge, Robert Watts during the final moments of the game. He was viscously and without warning knocked to the ground by a Jay player and then, while prostrate on the turf, was helmet-speared by a fellow Jay teammate.
Robert is a long-time member of the National Association of Sports Officials. That fact energizes us to take a stand on his behalf. But, make no mistake, had Robert not been a member of NASO, we would be taking to the ramparts in his defense and in that of all men, women and young people who officiate our games.
What occurred that night on that field is unacceptable and we in the officiating community will not accept it. NASO has taken steps to ensure that Robert is provided the full benefits of NASO insurance, legal and consultation services. Whatever course of action he intends to take in order to have his assault properly redressed, NASO will stand in support of him.
NASO president, Barry Mano, has been a frequent and often quoted media interview about this horror. He has presented NASO’s firm belief, backed unanimously by the NASO board of directors, that commensurate consequences must result from this act, wherever they may lead. Certainly calling to account the two players will be just a starting point. An investigation by the proper authorities and jurisdictions is underway now. The facts and the broader truths will be of interest to all of us in the officiating world.
NASO works in partnership with the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) and the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in a number of officiating programs. The three organizations embrace the belief that assaultive behavior against sports officials will not be tolerated nor accepted at any level.
Contact: Chris Szolyga
Referee Enterprises, Inc.