Softball umpire speaks after parent attack leaves her with severe nerve damage

Laurel softball umpire Kristi Moore speaks out about being attacked by a parent and the umpire shortage nationwide. (Source: WDAM)
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 3:41 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM/Gray News) - An umpire in Mississippi is speaking out while she recovers from being punched in the face after a softball game for 12-year-old children.

Kristie Moore was filling in for an umpire who got sick, something she said she has been doing for several years with 10 years of experience calling games.

However, during this game, the coach asked one of the athlete’s mothers to leave the game for excessive cursing. Instead of going home, the woman is accused of waiting to confront Moore after the game, punching her and then running away.

Moore told WDAM that the parent became irate after a call she made at second base, but the coaches and other officials had no opposition to the call.

The 10-year umpire said abuse to referees, whether physical or verbal, is becoming too familiar and leading to an umpire shortage.

“This is not a Laurel thing or a Mississippi thing,” Moore said. “This is a nationwide thing for officials across the board. It’s harder and harder, every weekend because of the abuse that umpires and officials across the board are experiencing.”

According to police, the parent in question, Kiara Thomas, was arrested after the incident and charged with simple assault.

Moore said she wants people to understand that umpires are just human.

“Officials in any sport are expected to be perfect and we’re not,” Moore said. “We never will be.”

Moore experienced a severe contusion and nerve damage in her left eye, but it won’t stop her from umpiring.

She hopes that her story will bring awareness to the umpire shortage and brings consequences for similar actions.

“There definitely needs to be stricter consequences and laws to stop and to deter this from happening to anyone else,” Moore said.

Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the legislature that would make assaulting a referee or umpire a felony as aggravated assault. That bill, however, did not make the calendar.

Moore said she hopes after this incident lawmakers will take a second look at the bill.

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