WICHITA – A new proposed bill would put sports officials under similar protections that police officers and judges have against assault and battery in Kansas.

Teon Wilson has been reffing for years, and Wednesday was the Holy War between Kapaun and Bishop Carroll. He said sometimes the games can be a lose-lose.

“No matter what we do, we always get attacked,” said Wilson. “People in the stands feel like it’s just okay to attack refs and say whatever they want, when it shouldn’t be like that.”

In 2018, cell phone video caught former Wichita Police Captain Kevin Mears shoving a teen referee at a youth basketball game. He was later found guilty of battery and disorderly conduct.

The proposed law would make the penalty for assault or battery of a sports official a class B or class A person misdemeanor.

But what exactly does this mean?

“Screaming at a referee from the stands, ‘bad call referee’ is simply not either an assault or a battery. However, if that same fan goes down onto the basketball court floor, approaches the referee and threatens to punch him unless he changes his call, that is clearly an assault,” said defense attorney Dan Monnat.

According to Monnat, under the current law, assaulting a referee can cost you $500 and 30 days in jail. If the new law is passed, it would increase to $1,000, and 6 months in jail.

“Nobody wants to be attacked. You know, we’re out here trying to do a job. We are trying to do the best we can,” said Wilson. “If I had to say something to anybody, just let it be about the kids. We’re out here doing the best we can. Just let it be about them.”

The Committee on Federal and State Affairs heard the proposal Wednesday in Topeka. The next step would be whether to send the bill on to the full House for a vote.

See full story at KAKE.com