Harass a referee? Louisiana bill recommends fines, jail time for offenders

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Harassing a sports referee would become a crime all its own in Louisiana under a bill filed this week.

State Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) crafted the legislation, which would subject offenders to fines and jail time. The penalty would apply to anyone whose actions cause a school or recreational game official to fear for safety, particularly during a sporting event or near the venue.

Violators would face a fine of up to $500 and a maximum of 90 days imprisonment, as well as 40 hours of community service and mandatory counseling.

The bill comes roughly two months after the New Orleans Saints lost an NFC Championship game to the Los Angeles Rams. Referees did not call a penalty when Rams defender Nikell Robey-Coleman ran in front of a pass to Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. Los Angeles won the Jan. 20 game in overtime, with Saints fans firm that the referees’ “no call” doomed New Orleans’ hopes for a Super Bowl appearance.

Henry’s bill awaits consideration in the state House’s criminal justice committee. State lawmakers will begin their annual legislative session April 8.

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