A disabled Army veteran umpiring a Florida high school baseball game was allegedly knocked out cold by an angry parent, according to video released by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Jorge Aponte Gonzalez was arrested on a felony battery charge after allegedly attacking 63-year-old umpire Ray Mora between innings at a high school baseball game, Fox 35 reported. Gonzalez reportedly told arresting officers he punched Mora because he was “defending his kid.”
“This is not his first time,” Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez told reporters of Gonzalez, explaining that the irate father had caused disruptions at other games. “However it never got to this level where he actually struck someone,” Lopez added.
Speaking of Mora, Lopez told reporters the disabled veteran was a kind man who had found umpiring games to be his niche during his retirement years. “He does this because he has passion for baseball, and he likes to give back to his community and he loves to dedicate his time to baseball and to kids,” Lopez stated.
Mora told Fox News 35 the alleged attack took him off guard. “At least the people who I faced when I was in combat, I saw them. I saw them in the distance. I knew they were coming. I was not even prepared.”
The President of Central Florida Umpires, the group that hired Mora, has condemned the attack, telling the outlet abuse of umpires is a growing problem.
The problem is not isolated to baseball. In 2017, the Washington Post reported that verbal abuse from parents was causing a shortage of referees and umpires across all youth and high schools nationwide. Many officials told the outlet they would rather spend their weekends with their families than being abused by parents in the stands. (RELATED: Massachusetts Teen Jailed After ‘Sucker Punching’ Ref During Basketball Game)
“There’s no moral fiber left in our society,” Northern Virginia Football Officials Association Commissioner Dennis Hall told the Washington Post. “People think because they paid to get into the game they can say and do anything they want, and they think they know the rules better than the officials because they watch television.”
“It needs to stop because I just got hit,” Mora told Fox 35. “Maybe tomorrow somebody gets killed, then what?”