The show was spawned by the recent tragedy in Utah in which a recreation-league soccer referee, Ricardo Portillo, was punched by a 17-year-old player and later died from his head injuries. It is the first officiating-related assault death during an organized game in U.S. history. NASO’s perspective shed light on the fact that roughly 3-5 officiating assaults are reported to NASO’s Racine headquarters monthly.
Jon Frankel, HBO veteran reporter, conducted the interview with Mano on Tuesday, May 14, in Racine. A nine-person crew, including four cameramen and three sound technicians, were on hand for the recording.
“Sportsmanship issues are of great importance and concern for all leaders, not just those in the officiating community,” said Mano. “As with any video production, we don’t know how much of the Racine-based footage will make the show’s final piece, but we very much appreciated HBO shedding light on the subject.”
The National Association of Sports Officials is the world’s largest organization for sports officials at every level and all sports. More than 19,000 sports officials from around the world belong to NASO, enjoying member benefits and supporting an organization that advocates for sports officials and that helps them maintain the highest level of officiating skills.