Massachusetts Teen Jailed After ‘Sucker Punching’ Ref During Basketball Game

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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

The 16-year-old Excel High School student was taken into custody after allegedly striking the referee in the face. He reportedly thought he was being charged with another foul after the referee called the other team for traveling, Boston 25 News reported.

Photographer Dan Leahy witnessed the “full nelson” on the referee, telling Boston 25 that once the teen brought the victim down with one punch, he continued the attack, even as the ref was bent over and unable to defend himself. “There’s so much anger built in to assault an authoritative figure in that manner. And it was vicious, not like he went up and bumped him or anything like that. He went at him with a full fist, it’s a shame,” Leahy added.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) responded to the assault, stating “there is no place for violence or physical anger in sports. Our schools work to develop young athletes within the structure of interscholastic competition. Our students play the game for the love of sport. Behaviors that run contrary to this have no place in our athletic fields, courts, or hockey rinks.”

In a statement the Massachusetts State Basketball Officials Association (MSBOA) expressed their anger at the incident, alleging that “abhorrent” treatment of officials by fans, coaches and players is a main reason for the nationwide shortage of gaming officials. (RELATED: Police Say Mom Punched Several Kids And A Referee During Middle School Basketball Game)

“We call on the local authorities, Boston Public Schools and the MIAA to take swift action that includes appropriate punishment for anyone sharing in the responsibility for this dangerous attack…Unfortunately, the displeasure and outright anger directed at officials has risen to a completely unacceptable level, which can result in an attack like the one in Cohasset. That is wrong and must be addressed,” the statement read per Boston 25 News.

The teen is scheduled to appear in Quincy Juvenile Court on a charge of assault and battery some time in the future, Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley told the outlet. The investigation remains ongoing.