A growing number of referees for youth sports are speaking up about a problem they say is getting worse: unruly and disrespectful coaches, parents, and student athletes who sometimes go so far as to harass or threaten game officials. They say that the adults on the field are giving a terrible example of sportsmanship for young people, and are losing sight of what really matters in any game or match.

Jim Braude was joined by Mary Fitzgerald, whose decision to stop officiating high school soccer was recently profiled in The Boston Globe, and Beth O’Neill Maloney, executive director of the New England chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance.