FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A youth football coach was arrested after tempers flared and a punch flew at a weekend match up.
Dion Robinson, 43, was taken into custody Monday afternoon. As he was led out of the Broward Sheriff’s Office substation in Pembroke Park he did not answer questions from reporters.
The incident happened at McTyre Park on SW 56th Avenue when the West Park Saints battled the West Miramar Patriots. It was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube.
The Patriots were ranked number one before the game and the Saints were ranked number two.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office during the game, referee Andrew Keigans called a penalty on the Saints after someone in the stands made a derogatory remark.
After Keigans threw the flag, he told investigators that he accidentally bumped into a player and then moved to the side to talk to the head coach.
Robinson reportedly decided to challenge the ref’s call and stormed onto the field to confront Keigans. The Saints head coach, Antonio Lane, tried to hold him back to no avail.
Seeing Robinson run out onto the field to confront Keigans, the head referee decided to call the game. When he did, the Saints entire coaching staff and some parents also ran out on the field to confront Keigans, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office incident report.
When Robinson reached Keigans, he allegedly hit him in the face causing the ref to fall down. Robinson took off.
“We were just wow, I can’t believe he hit him like that,” said Michelle Virgilio who was at the game. Her son Branden plays for the Patriots.
“I saw the coach run up and hit the ref, he went down. I thought the whole park was going to get into a big fight,” said Branden Virgilio.
Robinson’s sister, Candy James, said the altercation began because Robinson said the ref bumped one of his players.
“He felt that he done it intentionally that’s why he went to him and said you owe him an apology for elbowing him and the referee said, I don’t owe anybody an apology. I’m not saying nothing,” James told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.
After the incident, it emerged that Robinson has a criminal record for numerous charges including firearm and drug charges.
“What happened is inexcusable,” said Sheriff Al Lamberti. “He’s got an extensive record. It calls into question was a background check ever done on Mr. Robinson?”
Officials with the Miami Extreme Youth Football league say they are trying to sort that out and that each team is supposed to submit an affidavit showing that the coaches passed a background check.
The league’s executive board met Monday night to begin answering those questions and consider sanctions after the incident.
CBS 4 News also spoke with Gerardo Gomez, president of the South Florida Football Officials Association. He said Keigans has been a referee for more than a dozen years and officiates multiple sports.
“He’s a little shaken up,” Gomez said of Keigans. “It’s the first time anything like this has happened to him.”
Gomez is also concerned about the coach in question having a criminal record.
“It does concern me that the vetting process of his background didn’t raise any red flags.”
Robinson’s sister responded to the allegations that her brother did not belong in a coaching position because of his criminal past.
“Just because you have been to jail doesn’t mean you haven’t changed and trying to give back to the youth to make the youth not go where you have been,” she said.
Others who know Robinson defended his actions.
They say he was reacting to the ref pushing two of Saints players to the ground during the commotion.
“He was looking out for his players,” said one football player. “He treats the players like they were his own children.”