Changes to recreation-center security coming

Published 11:02 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Washington Daily News

The Washington Youth Basketball League is looking to get back to the fun and games and move past Saturday’s stabbing incident involving two parents of Washington Youth Basketball League players at the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center on East Seventh Street.
The incident is being considered an isolated one by WYBL commissioner Wilson Edwards, who said he is both “shocked and disappointed” by the conduct of the two parents involved.
“I don’t think (the fight) had anything to do with the outcome of the basketball game,” Edwards said. “I think it had something to do with fighting over a woman, and it just got to a point where one guy couldn’t take anymore from the other.”
Edwards, who was out of town when the incident happened and has been commissioner since 2006, said that aside from an occasional dust-up nothing like this has happened during his time with league.
As a result of the incident, both parents involved have been banned from the center for the remainder of the season and potentially the remainder of their lives, according to Edwards.
Before each WYBL season, parents are asked to sign a code of conduct, and the hope is this incident will serve as a reminder to uphold that code.
“We ask parents to be responsible for their kids; make them act right, behave and have respect for others, but the same thing has to go for the parents,” Edwards said. “This kind of behavior in front of kids is unacceptable.”
Previously, security during the games was provided by center staff and included random check-ins from the Washington Police Department. But Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford said that’s about to change.
“We’re going to have new security measures in place, so the children will feel safe,” Drakeford said.
Drakeford said that he and city officials are working out a plan to have full-time police presence at youth-league games and limit the number spectators in the gym.
“I hate that we have to go to these extreme measures, but it’s our job to make sure our children have a safe place to play recreational ball,” Drakeford said.