Following Florida Ref Attack, Others Protest Until Arrest is Made

February 9, 2023 / Athletic AdministrationBasketball
After an attack by a spectator on a referee during a Florida high school basketball game in early January, other referees are joining together to say they will not officiate another game for the host school until an arrest is made.

According to a Duval School Board Police report, Michaelangelo Duggins was punched in the face after Ribault High School beat Impact Christian Academy, 58-41. The attacker fled in a 2020 Black SUV and was never caught, according to police.

attackA recent story from detailed the events of a spectator attacking a referee. Below is an excerpt from the story.

News4JAX reached out to the victim, who had a swollen eye and deep cuts to his head, but the law firm representing him, Pajcic and Pacic said, “Thank you for reaching out regarding the January 5 incident. Our client will not have any comment at this time while everything remains under investigation.”

Basketball officials say they don’t feel safe working games for Impact until the attacker is arrested. Gregory Bing is the commissioner for Southern Association of Basketball officials.

“The officials have opted not (to officiate games) because we know he (the attacker) is associated with the Impact of Christian Academy crowd,” Bing said.

Bing went on to say, “That is so rare for basketball officials to be attacked. And after the pandemic, we’ve lost nearly 50 people and this doesn’t do anything to encourage anyone to continue to officiate basketball.”

Bing believes Impact Christian Academy is withholding information that would help find the attacker. News4JAX talked with Randall Johnson, Executive Director of Operations of Impact Christian Academy. He disagrees with Bing’s opinion.

“Obviously, we are extremely sorry for what happened to that official. There’s no official who referees any game anywhere that should be subjected to the threat of assault or anything like it,” Johnson said. “So we’re appalled by what did happen to him, but we have given every bit of information and assistance that we have at our disposal and available to us.”

It is believed that the attacker was at the game with a parent, and the parent has a player on Impact’s team. However, no one has revealed anyone’s name.

To read the full story from the attack on a referee and ensuing protest, click here.