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(WPRI) — At any Little League field you can find proud parents cheering on their kids and sometimes, they forget it’s just a game.

In any level of sports, mistakes are part of the game, but when it comes to officiating or coaching, not everyone is on your side.

“They are people who love the game, it’s called youth sports, not adult sports,” said Mike Collucci, President of the Cumberland Youth Baseball/Softball League.

Umpires, officials and coaches have seen an uptick of hecklers in youth sports, with some situations even turning violent.

In early May, a Burrillville man was arrested after police say he assaulted multiple coaches during a Woonsocket Little League game.

Collucci said over the years his league has seen its fair share of incidents, but now it’s rare after they put together a new policy called EEM (education, enforcement, and mutual understanding). It allows coaches to take full responsibility of their parents and players.

“Why do we run it through the coach? Because the parents listen to the coach. Because little Johnny’s playing time and position are determined by the coach,” Collucci explained.

Barrington Little League President Aaron Aguiar said like most leagues across the nation, there is a player agent to deal with behavioral issues, and a code of conduct for players, coaches and those on the sidelines.

“Parents are always supportive, but there’s almost an entitlement that they get to be the coach on the sideline even though they’re not the official coach,” Aguiar said.

In Massachusetts, new legislation is being discussed to stop the issue. One bill — An Act to Prevent Assaults on Sports Officials — would impose fines of up to $5,000, or between three months to two-and-a-half years in jail for those who take things too far.

“Most sports leagues, they’re self-regulating and it should stay that way but if it leads to a level of criminal conduct gets involved, use the existing code it sufficient,” Collucci said.

Seekonk also has a zero-tolerance policy that has been around for six years — anyone heckling an umpire during a game can’t come back for 24 hours.

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