Hoops star could face felony charges for attack on ref

Cameron Smith
December 17, 2010

If Mason Holland was already having a bad week, a look at the police report filed in the case of his attack on an official Monday night is sure to make it even worse: Holland could be charged with felony battery because of the attack.

According to the official police report of the event filed by officer Michael Snow, who was the security official on scene who pushed Holland away from referee Jim Hamm, Holland committed the crime of battery on a sports official, a charge which qualifies as a felony in the state of Florida. (The Sunshine State distinguishes between traditional battery and battery on an official). Making matters worse, the report, which was obtained by TheSmokingGun, shows that Holland is already 18, which means the high school senior could be charged as an adult, and the penalties for the action would be much more severe.

Hamm, who spoke with Snow after the attack ended the Desoto County High School game against Port Charlotte, said in the report that he didn't want the high school senior to be arrested or go to jail, but did feel he needed to file a report. Yet, by filing that report, Hamm might have ensured that those two things will happen, both because of the nature of Holland's attack and his age. The case is being reviewed by the state attorney's office, WTSP.com reported.

For his part, Holland, who has since been banned from the high school team and suspended from school for 10 days, was "remorseful" about the attack, and said he would like to apologize to Hamm.

"When I saw video of it, I said 'Wow, that's not me.' It was shocking," Holland told WTSP.com "I didn't know at the time on the court, I didn't feel I knew what I was going to do. It just happened. And I didn't think. I couldn't control [Holland's emotions].

"I feel like I let the team down, I let the coach down and the community down. What happened on the court wasn't acceptable. I just want to apologize to everybody about that."

Holland wouldn't be the first to be charged with felonious battery on an official in the state of Florida, though he could become only the second high school student to be charged. According to the National Association of Sports Officials' assault archives, only one other high school athlete has attacked an official in the past 13 years.

That incident, in which Pine Ridge (Fla.) High soccer player Brian Weaver punched referee Dan Griffin in the mouth and pushed him from behind, led to a felony battery on an official charges. Like Holland, Weaver was 18 at the time of the attack, which was particularly bad timing for Weaver because it fell on his 18th birthday.

We may not know the outcome of the Holland case for some time, but one thing seems certain: He won't be back on a basketball court for a long time.

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