The 17-year-old youth basketball referee who got into an argument with Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young rebuts some of the county official's claims, his mother said Wednesday.
Stacy Allwein said her son, Michael, was not the aggressor in the Jan. 5 dispute, and the New Life Christian School senior reacted only after Young, 41, made an obscene comment.
Allwein said she was not at the game, but believes her son's explanation of events.
Allwein, of New Market, said in an interview with The Frederick News-Post that although her son did not want to talk publicly about the event, she felt a need to balance the claims made by Young.
“I was furious when it all happened,” she said. “We decided to let it go. We wanted to set the right example for Michael.”
But after reading that Young told The News-Post the referee initiated the confrontation, Stacy Allwein decided to come forward.
“I just thought it was very arrogant and (Young) was twisting things to make himself look like a victim,” Allwein said. “It just appeared he had ulterior political motives. Taking the blame off him and putting it on a 17-year-old.”
Allwein said she was shocked by Young's comments to her son.
“You might call someone a lot of things, but who calls somebody those obscene words?” she said.
Young, who is campaigning for governor, is a volunteer coach for his son's team, the Heat. The players are fifth- and sixth-graders.
The Linganore, Oakdale, Urbana Youth Athletic Association disciplined Young with a one-game suspension. Young said he decided to call the teenager to apologize.
“If I thought it was appropriate, would I agree to sit a game or would I agree to apologize?” Young said. “Have elected officials or human beings made mistakes? Sure.”
Allwein was not suspended for his actions, but was told how to better handle similar situations in the future, according to a league official.
“They both agreed the situation escalated to an unacceptable level,” the league's president, Jamie Dailey, said Wednesday. “We addressed the situation immediately and took action. As far as we're concerned, the situation is over and was handled appropriately.”
LOUYAA Vice President Arnie McGaha called both the coach and referee to get their versions of what happened, Dailey said. No one witnessed the altercation.
“Just the simple fact that there was a heated argument that took place, that is not acceptable on our playing field,” Dailey said. “Whatever happened, it shouldn't have.”
David Crawmer, coach of the opposing team, said Wednesday that he heard some banter between Young and Allwein during the game.
“Nothing I had never seen before,” Crawmer said. “A coach not happy about a call. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.”
After the game, Crawmer shook hands with Young's team and the referees and walked away, he said; he did not see or hear the postgame altercation.
Who said what and when is still up for debate. Allwein said her son gave the following account:
After the game, Michael was sitting on the floor changing his shoes when Young confronted him.
“Blaine was hovering over him,” she said.
After a brief exchange, Allwein said her son told Young to “get out of my face.”
That's when Young made an obscene comment, she said, and her son responded with mild profanity.
Young's account of events differs. While he would not say specifically what was said, Young reiterated Wednesday that the referee initiated the verbal dispute.
“What he said to me, I found extremely offensive,” Young said.
The situation bothered him for the rest of that weekend, he said.
“This was an isolated situation that got out of hand on both sides,” Young said. “It bothered me that I allowed somebody to get to me that way.”
This is the first problem the league has had with either Young or Allwein, according to McGaha.
“I think Michael is a young man who has a lot of passion toward basketball and likes to be around the game,” McGaha said. “I think they are both good people, and I think they are involved because they have a passion for basketball.”
Young's team won the game by 19 points and remains undefeated this season, according to the league's website.
Allwein, who is in his first season as a referee for this league, will continue to work games, his mother said. Referees are paid less than $20 a game, according to a league official.
Her son, who has played basketball since the first grade, is a starting guard on his high school team.
“He literally is doing it because he likes to do it,” Stacy Allwein said of Michael's decision to be a referee. “He gives up a lot of things, but he likes to be in the gym. ... He knows basketball, and he loves kids.”