Referee Publicly “Shames” Parents for Behaving Badly

Referee Publicly “Shames” Parents for Behaving Badly


Youth referee, Brian Barlow, has had enough of overzealous parents. He says parents are aggressive and critical. They yell at refs, over-coach their children from the sidelines and sometimes fight parents from other teams. This type of poor parental behavior has gone too far. He now runs a website that “publicly shames parents.” He pays $100 for videos that show parents behaving badly at youth sporting events. He has received over 4,000 of such videos. He hopes that this public shaming will encourage parents to objectively look at their behavior and change.

Joe’s Perspective: I created a program to develop the character, leadership and sportsmanship of high school athletes. Many high school coaches tell me that the program should target parents instead of athletes. My guess is referees would agree. I, for one, like the message to parents: “Cheer on your kids. Let the coaches coach, the referees ref and the players play.”  Such a simple message. So, to parents, please remember that this is just a game. Most of the referees are volunteers or get paid minimal money to do this job. Give ’em a break. My guess is they are doing the best they can.

Your Turn: Do you think it is okay for this referee, Brian Barlow, to “publicly shame” parents by posting pictures on his website to help change behavior?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Yes, parents become to involved and get to feeling a certain way. The referee will make mistakes, miss a call, etc. screaming and hollering gains nothing

  2. I think that it is ok to a extent to do what the ref did, I would say that it isn’t appropriate for smaller cases and if you have to I don’t think it is worth disrupting the game to yell at a parent.

  3. I don’t think it’s okay to publicly shame them. I think he should have approached it in private instead of posting on social media about it.

  4. I believe that it is fine to show how parents behave in order to change their behavior but not to that people had to pay for it and call it shaming

  5. I would say that I agree that we should encourage parents to have better sportsmanship but I do not think it was fair to post pictures of the parents. But I do think that people should encourage parents to have professional conduct at games and be more lenient to refs.

  6. I think that “publicly shaming” parents can help put into perspective what their actions look like. Though I am not sure how I feel about the referee giving out $100 for each video, because what if they are staged for money?

  7. I don’t think that it is okay for this referee to “publicly shame” parents by posting pictures on his website because that won’t help change behavior. It is embarrassing to the people that are on it and can cause more problem in the future. Parents should only cheer on positively, not try to coach because that isn’t their place but there are other ways to go about that communication.

  8. I don’t think it’s okay by posting pictures and videos of the parents but if he wanted to change how the parents act then he probably should have just posted a little paragraph instead of pictures of parents

  9. Yes and no, I think some parents should be “publicly shamed” but it should be in a non-violent way. I feel like his reasoning is off.

  10. Yes, if parents do not want their actions to be posted online, then they shouldn’t be acting that way in the first place.

  11. I think that it is okay to shame the parents who are behaving disrespectfully. What they are doing isn’t okay and needs to stop.

  12. I think that there are certain aspects that can be beneficial for posting pictures on his website and will potentially embarrass the parents for their behavior but it could eventually be taken too far.

  13. I agree with him that parents are definitely the reason why sports are sometimes ruined and not fun because of them going overboard just cause their kid got a bad call.

  14. Absolutely, parents have taken sports in the wrong direction. I see a lot living their failed dreams through their kids which ends in kids quitting eventually.

  15. I don’t know if I would say it is okay to publicly shame them. But if they had not received that message then how else are they supposed to? I feel like there could have been another road taken by Barlow that is in a less harsh way. But I also see where he is coming from with the parents because that is definitely unacceptable.

  16. I’m a volleyball official and had an interaction with a parent today. It’s about judgement, you make the call you feel is appropriate. It’s not about what the coach or a parent judges to be different than the original call. Stick to your guns. Wish I had a photo or video to show what this particular parents behavior looked like. Sports, at all levels is about overcoming adversity. Complaining about the officials never accomplishes anything other than humiliating the parent, the official, distracting attention from the game and it models nothing beneficial for youth athletes. As hard as it is to recruit and retain officials, it is disappointing that parents and coaches continue to abuse youth sports officials. As it has been said, a game without officials is no better than recess. Thus, a poor official in a youth match or game is better than no official at all.