ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Abilene coach says he takes “full responsibility” for shoving an umpire during a youth baseball game, sending him to the hospital.
Robbie Johnson was coaching his select team, the Texas Phenoms, while they were playing two games in The Colony over the weekend.
Johnson says the first game was played without incident, but during the second game, one of the umpires, identified as Sam Phelps, was making unfair calls.
During the game, Johnson says he and Phelps had multiple disagreements, resulting in verbal disputes involving not only Johnson but his wife as well.
The disagreement between the men became physical after a particularly contentious call where Johnson says Phelps yelled at one of his players.
Johnson says he then called a timeout to confront Phelps and the situation escalated from there.
Video footage from the game shows Phelps point as he ejects Johnson from the field, following by Johnson shoving Phelps to the ground, where he remained immobile for some time.
In a phone interview with KTAB and KRBC, Johnson said he shoved Phelps because he put his hands in his face multiple times, even hitting his hat right before the shove.
However, Johnson says that the shove was “totally wrong” and that he takes “full responsibility for what happened.”
“By no means necessary do I condone pushing an official,” Johnson said.
L’Erin Hampton, founder and president of tournament host 24 Sports, said Johnson has been indefinitely banned from the organization and that his team must get a new name and coaches if it was to continue participation.
Hampton also confirmed Phelps is planning to press assault charges on Johnson, which Hampton believes is an actionable step to take toward keeping incidents like this from becoming more and more prevalent in youth sports.
“We’re in a place where we’re forgetting that the kids come first,” Hampton explains. “The kids don’t care – they just want to have fun.”
Johnson plans to step down as the head coach and president of the Texas Phenoms and says he hopes his team is able to rebrand and play again in the future.