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Mason Holland Assaults Referee, Deserves Second Chance

Mason Holland pushed referee Jim Hamm before throwing him to the court.

A Florida high school basketball player lost his temper during a game on Monday night. Now, his future hangs in the balance. Eighteen year old Mason Holland was restrained by his coaches and a police officer after a bizarre and sudden attack against one of the referees calling the game between Holland’s team, DeSoto County, and their rival, Port Charlotte. Holland now faces expulsion as well as potential felony charges for his actions.

Jim Hamm had called a technical foul on Holland for pushing one of the Port Charlotte players in the face as the two were coming up the court. Holland took exception to the call, at first pleading his case, then pushing the referee. Holland starts towards the bench, then suddenly reverses direction and charges the surprised referee, pushing him again before picking him up and slamming him to the ground.

That’s when his coaches and the police officer surrounded the youth to make sure the situation didn’t escalate further. DeSoto County Superintendent Adrian Cline told ABC News that Holland can never again participate in any school-related extracurricular activities. Holland has also been suspended for 10 days and may face felony charges for assault. If that happens, Holland will likely be expelled.

Holland, however, told ABC News that, “I am going to finish school—I’ve already come this far and am not giving up now.”

And I, for one, hope that he’s right. While what he did was reprehensible, kicking him off the team and a suspending him for 10 days from school is punishment enough. He’s stated clearly that in spite of everything, he doesn’t want to give up on finishing school. It seems to me that if officials forbid him from ever returning, they’d be the ones giving up. On him.

Holland was adopted when he was 6 years old. According to Samuel Holland, his adoptive father, Holland was born to a mother who was addicted to crack-cocaine. He has received counseling for anger management since puberty.

Holland hasn’t contacted the referee since the encounter, but did tell the reporter, “If I could take it back I would.”

But he can’t. And he has to live with it. Just like DeSoto County Superintendent Adrian Cline will have to live with it if he doesn’t allow Holland a chance to get his degree.

I’m actually surprised this type of stuff doesn’t happen more often. Just last weekend, New York Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi was suspended without pay for the rest of the year after intentionally tripping a player from the Miami Dolphins as he made his way down the field to cover a punt. With examples like these set at the highest level of competition, it’s a minor miracle we don’t read about stories like this all the time.

Below is a video of the encounter. The confrontation happens around the 1:25 mark.

John Cave Osborne’s personal blog.
John Cave Osborne’s book website.

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