09
Dec
09

Surely a government official must know how to conduct himself at a soccer game, right? WRONG!!!

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1 Response to “Surely a government official must know how to conduct himself at a soccer game, right? WRONG!!!”


  1. December 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    Copyright 2009 The Clarion-Ledger
    All Rights Reserved
    The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi)

    December 9, 2009 Wednesday

    SECTION: NEWS; Pg. B1

    HEADLINE: Pickering scuffle with coach in hands of city judge

    BYLINE: By, Leah Square
    Any possible charges related to an incident at Liberty Park in Madison between former Congressman Chip Pickering and youth soccer coach Chris Hester will be up to a Municipal Court judge.

    Madison police finished interviews on Tuesday, and that information and the simple assault complaints filed by Pickering and Hester are with Municipal Judge Dale Danks. Danks will decide whether to issue a warrant or warrants for arrest, Madison police Master Sgt. Robert Sanders said.

    Danks had not made a decision as of Tuesday afternoon.

    A misdemeanor simple assault charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

    Police were called to Liberty Park after Pickering approached Hester about the way his son was treated at a soccer match. The incident escalated from there, Sanders said.

    Physical conflicts between coaches and parents are uncommon in Madison, Sanders said.

    “We don’t see a lot of it, maybe one or two a year at Liberty Park,” he said.

    Hester, who also is a nurse, coaches a South Madison County Soccer Organization team for 10- and 11-year-olds that played against Pickering’s son’s team.

    Hester, 38, and Pickering, 46, both allege in affidavits they were hit by the other. Neither asked for medical treatment afterward.

    Hester, who was wearing a neck brace because of a recent surgery, said Pickering approached his Nissan Armada. “He proceeds to start threatening and yelling at me. It scared the crap out of the kids in the car,” he told The Associated Press on Monday. They had to be pulled apart by spectators, he said.

    Pickering, in a statement on Monday, said Hester “verbally abused and physically intimidated my son, visibly upsetting my son to the point of uncontrollable crying. I approached the coach, who was sitting in his vehicle, and asked him to not address my son in such a manner again. I did not say anything further to him, nor did I ever threaten him.”

    In the statement, Pickering said Hester removed his seat belt, exited the vehicle and assaulted him.

    “I was forced to defend myself by restraining him,” Pickering said in the statement.

    The incident stemmed from what Pickering told police was rough-housing between his son and a friend on the opposing team during an after-game handshake. Pickering told police Hester then began yelling at his son: “You’re pathetic. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

    Ron Rychlak, law professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law and the father of six children who either play or have played soccer, said he has seen tempers flare at such events.

    “I’ve seen yelling,” he said, “but I’ve never seen a conflict result in physical assault.”

    Sanders said incidents as such are preventable.

    “If a parent or coach doesn’t necessarily agree with an official or if a parent doesn’t agree with a coach, there are other channels. They can go through the youth association,” he said.

    Though not involved in the conflict between Pickering and Hester, Rychlak said, “It does sound like the kind of thing where the parties need to shake hands and let bygones be bygones.”

    Pickering, a Republican who served 12 years in the U.S. House, ran on a family values platform, but he and wife Leisha Pickering filed for divorce last year.

    In July, she sued a Jackson woman, alleging Chip Pickering had an affair with her that ruined the Pickerings’ marriage and his political career.

    The couple has five sons.

    Pickering chose not to run for re-election in 2008 and now works as a lobbyist for Capitol Resources LLC in Jackson.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    To comment on this story, call Leah Square at (601) 853-7615.


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