GERMANTOWN, Wis. — A public address announcer in Germantown told fans to “shut up” this past weekend during a high school basketball tournament.
It came as the PA announcer tried to slow growing intensity of spectators who were apparently getting too worked up and directing their feelings towards referees.
It happened during the Warhawk Invitational tournament, which featured several boys basketball teams from around the Milwaukee area. The PA announcer made the remarks during the final seconds of a game involving Brookfield Central and Cedarburg. A foul occurred right as the game ended that elicited a reaction from some in the crowd.
The frustrated PA announcer said, “I would like to take this opportunity to tell all fans, I should have done this a lot earlier, shut up! The WIAA is always looking for officials, and since you do such a good job from the stands, get down on the floor in a striped shirt and do it yourselves."
While the announcer’s choice of words have garnered criticism from some, while many others commended him for stepping up to diffuse a situation.
Barry Mano is President of the National Association of Sports Officials. The Racine-based organization, which also publishes Referee Magazine, said incidents of fans interfering with sports officials is a problem nationwide.
“I haven’t spoken to the PA announcer, I don’t know personally the PA announcer, but he felt at this moment in time that a boundary had been breached, and something needed to be said so I really commend him for doing that,” said Mano.
Mano said that increased pressure from parents and fans unhappy with officials' calls is a big reason why many leave the profession.
Former Marquette University basketball player, Joe Chapman, tweeted a clip of the PA announcer speaking out. Chapman, who now owns a basketball academy, was watching the live stream of the game when he captured the video. That live stream has now been taken off the Germantown School District’s YouTube channel.
The video in the tweet now has over 1.5 million views. Chapman said he isn’t surprised it has elicited such a response. Chapman said he hopes it sparks a conversation about the importance of respecting officials.
“All kids are there to have fun, to get better, to cheer on their teammates, to enjoy the game and not think the perception of the parents,” said Chapman. “It makes it hard for high school coaches, hard for youth coaches, and referees."
Spectrum News 1 reached out to the Germantown School District in an effort to learn the identity of the PA Announcer. A district representative told us they would not release the name of district employees to the media to be interviewed.