Soccer dad charged with assault after tackling referee

Michael W. Goodwin - Contributed Photo/GCSO

SAFFORD — Criticizing a referee’s call is generally accepted at sporting events. Assaulting the ref over a call results in arrest.

Graham County Sheriff’s deputies were called out to the Fairgrounds Saturday, Aug. 20, when multiple reports came in of a parent tackling a soccer referee.

Witnesses reported seeing the suspect, identified as Michael W. Goodwin, allegedly attack the referee after the referee separated two players who were fighting on the field, reportedly telling the referee to not touch his son.

Multiple other parents and soccer officials ran onto to the field to pull Goodwin off the referee, while others heard Goodwin’s 17-year-old son allegedly say he was going to the family vehicle to get a gun. The 17-year-old returned and multiple people reported hearing him say, “You’re lucky I didn’t have a gun or you’d be dead.”

The 17-year-old reportedly told deputies he was trying to a retrieve a gun that his father normally keeps under the driver’s seat of their vehicle, but was not there. The 17-year-old was charged with threatening and released to the custody of his mother.

Goodwin was booked into Graham County Jail on charges of assault and disorderly conduct.