Mom Who Told Daughter to Hit Basketball Rival Must Apologize, Pay $9,000

From a Washington Post story by Julian Mark headlined “Mom who told daughter to hit basketball rival must apologize, pay $9K”:

During a youth basketball game in Southern California, Latira Shonty Hunt’s daughter took a shot, missed and then fell backward onto the court, bringing a player on the opposing team down with her. That player appeared to have touched Hunt’s daughter as she shot.

As both players got up to resume play, a video of the moment captured a voice scream out: “You better hit her for it!”

Seconds later, Hunt’s daughter swung hard and punched the opposing player in the neck, causing the girl to fall facedown to the ground, the video shows.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged the 44-year-old mother with misdemeanor counts of battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, saying Hunt had encouraged her daughter to throw the punch.

Now, a judge says Hunt must apologize to the victim and her family, pay $9,000 in restitution and complete anger-management courses to attend basketball games again, prosecutors announced this week. Hunt has also been ordered to stay away from the victim. The requirements are part of a diversion program, an alternative to prosecution that requires Hunt to meet the terms in exchange for her charges being dismissed, according to prosecutors and Hunt’s attorney, Brett Greenfield.

“This was the appropriate result,” Greenfield wrote.

He said that because of the diversion, Hunt does not need to enter a plea, and he expects the case will be dismissed in the next six to 12 months. It’s unclear if Hunt’s daughter is facing charges. The district attorney’s office said in a news release that it is prohibited under state law from “discussing anything related to juvenile investigations.”

The ordeal highlights the long-running and widespread problem of bad behavior from parents during youth sporting events. The problem grew so bad that, in 2019, the National Federation of State High School Associations issued a memo, telling parents to “cool it,” as harassment and criticism was causing a shortage of referees. That year, a Minnesota youth soccer league barred parents from standing on the sidelines in an attempt to give the young players more space and focus, WCCO reported. And multiple organizations have issued guidelines to parents on how to control themselves.

Experts say parents’ bad behavior can be driven by outsize expectations on their children, as well as a way to compensate for their own shortcomings.

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