Grandpa Assualts Umpire

This 55-year-old man may be facing serious prison time for going too far during a girls softball game.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

The biggest thing that children today need to grow up and have a great shot at success, is the love and backing of family and friends. Having constant support for anything and everything you do are the building blocks of a confident, happy person. In fact, there is little wrong with loved ones having your back and building up your self esteem. Unless, that is, those loved ones take supporting you just a little too far.

Such was the case for the 55-year-old man who took support for his granddaughter a little too far, and may end up in prison for it.

Daryl Keeton, the man in question, is facing felony assault charges after he allegedly punched the umpire after his grandchild's softball game. Keeton took offense to the way the 20-year-old umpire was calling the game, and after heckling him all day, decided to confront him in the parking lot at Mt. Olive ballpark following the game. The confrontation soon turned heated with Keeton topping it off with a punch that bloodied the nose of the umpire.

An off-duty Birmingham police officer witnessed the confrontation and restrained Keeton until the sheriff's department got there. Now, with felony assault charges pending, Keeton is potentially facing 10 years in prison for that punch.

"A bloody nose most of the time will get you a misdemeanor, and that's wrong, but yeah, there's a law on the books that if you assault an official it's a Class C felony, that's a serious crime, and it should be," said Chief Deputy Randy Christian of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept.

As crazy as this event sounds, it is not an isolated incident from an overall perspective. Umpires and officials alike routinely take heat from parents during games, to the extent that incidents like these are fast becoming normal.

"Being confronted, that comes with the territory and it can exemplify itself in any number of ways," says high school umpire and Pizitz Middle School Assistant Principal Tom Callahan.

"Most parks need to take care of the parents ahead of time," Callahan said. "Have some kind of sportsmanship or code of ethics. Talk to these parents, and the onus is on the head coach to let the parents know with some kind of email or meeting "look, we're not going to have any kind of confrontation."

With all the talk of violence going wrong in the professional games and what to do to stop it, the simplest solution would be to nip it in the bud at a young age; set some boundaries for the parents of children and have strict punishment for those who cross them. That way, the message can be sent to the kids early and may follow them throughout the rest of their lives.

Photo Credit: AP

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on