UPDATE, Tuesday noon: Assistant coach Dion Robinson was arrested Monday on a battery charge, but the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports the incident revealed unsettling details:
Robinson, of West Park, has an extensive criminal record that includes aggravated assault, assault with a firearm and multiple arrests for cocaine distribution, Lamberti said.
"He was coaching the West Park Saints, but he was far from a saint," Lamberti said. "He has got an extensive record. It calls into question, 'Was a background check ever done on Mr. Robinson?'"
Lamberti added, "The bigger question is why was he allowed to have contact with kids?"
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
South Florida youth football hasn't exactly been drama-free (we're shocked -- shocked! -- to find gambling in this establishment), but a new video out of Broward shows this weekend, it got violent.
Broward Sheriff's Office investigators confirm an assistant coach for the West Park Saints may face charges after he was captured on video assaulting a referee after a Saturday night game against the Miramar Patriots at Mctyre Park.
The clip, which was uploaded to YouTube by the account "Wishit Couldbeaboutthekids," shows a man identified as Saints assistant Dion Robinson, 43, run up to referee Andrew Keigans and slap him on the face.
According to an incident report, Keigans called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Robinson after hearing him make derogatory comments on the sidelines.
Incensed, Robinson ran onto the field to confront Keigans, who decided to end the game because a coach entered the field of play. But though he was initially being held back, Robinson broke free and ran from behind to slap a departing Keigans in the face as parents and coaches flooded the field.
The smack sent Keigans sprawling to the ground. Police indicated Robinson will be charged with assault as soon as he can be located.
Youth league play in the football-fertile grounds of Broward and Miami-Dade has long been controversial and sometimes dangerous, with three people shot at a game in September in Overtown. Former 2 Live Crew hypeman Luther Campbell, who founded the Liberty City Optimist program more than 25 years ago, described it as a pressure-cooker in a 2010 interview with Every Day Should Be Saturday:
You play on a field. Grown men watching. No police. Everybody's betting. It's the most intense game around. Their dad's betting, their mama's betting, some guy coming up to you after the game says "Motherfucker, you fucked my money up." Everyone ends up on the ground at the end of the game sometimes. Friday Night Lights is a joke compared to Miami football.
According to ESPN's Outside The Lines, the South Florida Youth Football League alone is made up of nearly 30,000 kids from Palm Beach to Miami. But even in areas where it's not such big business, youth sports can bring out the worst: last year, a brawl erupted during a Sarasota junior football game when a team's argument with a ref became a melee after a player tackled the official.