Kentucky lawmakers push to make intimidating sports officials a misdemeanor

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HENDERSON, KY (WEHT) -Some Republican lawmakers in Kentucky say they plan to introduce a bill that would make intimidating sports officials a misdemeanor offense.

The bill stems from a spring incident in which a Kentucky referee was punched and knocked unconscious in Paducah.

Three Kentucky lawmakers are making it their mission to restore the respect for sports officials.

Those lawmakers introduced a bill that would make intimidating sports officials a misdemeanor offense, create a felony offense for physically assaulting officials, and an intimidation offense for threatening physical injury or property damage.

“There would probably be a lot of offenders I’m sure.”

Kentucky sports referee Greg Murdach says although they are trying to protect sports officials, he doesn’t think it will help.

“I don’t know that it would change anything. People are still going to complain. They’re going to complain at the officials. They’re going to complain about the coaching. It doesn’t matter.”

Murdach says he’s been a referee for 25 years and recalls some heated moments on the field.

“We had a guy chase us off the field last year. Butler county, waiting for us as we went to the locker room at our last football game.”

Luckily, for Murdach he’s been on both sides. As a father of an athlete, Murdach says he understands parents’ frustrations.

“They don’t mean anything personal by it. They just get caught up in the moment. I can say the same thing that happened to me. You get caught up in the game and you want to see things go your way.”

Murdach admits he wouldn’t trade the comments from the stands for anything in the world.

“I think that’s part of the thrill of officiating is the excitement that goes along with this especially a close game or a really good game where people are excited and they want to see the action. That just kind of feeds into it. That makes me focus a little bit more to try to do my job better.”

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(This story was originally published on Nov. 19, 2019)

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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