Avery Krut’s farewell letter to the parents of Beverly Hills is the literary equivalent of a flying kick to the shins.
“This will be my last year as your referee administrator and I will no longer be the game scheduler,” he wrote, announcing his decision to step down from the American Youth Soccer Organization’s (AYSO) branch in Beverly Hills.
“And there’s a reason, I have come to despise so many of you and I hold so many of you in contempt. Your behavior on the sidelines has, for far too long, been disrespectful and you are damaging the children. You have said nasty things to and about too many referees and it must come to an end. I can no longer be involved with so many people who feel so entitled.”
The letter, first revealed by the Hollywood newsletter the Ankler, is a cry of anger directed at the soccer moms and dads of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades and other gilded neighbourhoods in west Los Angeles.
Krut, 57, is a native New Yorker and political consultant who, like other coaches and referees, volunteered to help run games for 1,800 children in Beverly Hills, aged four to 17.
His letter lamented parents who shouted aggressive, disrespectful comments from the sidelines.
“Impulse control is incredibly hard, particularly when it involves our children … please let the coaches coach, the referees referee and the players play.” Most parents were wonderful people but Krut said he needed to “depart the land of entitlement” because of the obnoxious minority. “You may not like my tone but everything I have written is the truth.”
The Beverly Hills AYSO board did not agree. Hours after Krut sent the email to more than 2,000 people last week, Alex Grossman, the regional commissioner, responded with his own email calling the missive “unfortunate”.
“While we respect and appreciate all of the years he has given to our region, the views stated in his e-mail are his personal opinions and do not represent the Beverly Hills Region 76 Board,” he wrote.
One source said Krut had worked too hard and had burnt out – and offended many people, shredding any chance he had of staying on as a regular referee.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Krut was unrepentant, saying his letter was a plea for a civilised society. “The idea that parents have the right to yell at referees, what kind of message are they sending their kids? People are channeling their inner Donald Trump. They have no filter. Something has to change because we are damaging the children.”
Too many parents spouted expletive-laden, toxic sentiments, he said. “It’s the venom. ‘Kill them; get in there, girls, hit them hard,’” he said, quoting sideline exhortations.
One father smuggled an older child on to a son’s team because it was losing, said Krut. The last straw, he said, was a mother who complained about a referee who wore a post-surgery protective boot. She worried he wouldn’t keep up with play and perhaps make bad calls. “You’re taking the fun and joy out of it because you think your kid is going to be Lionel Messi.”
Krut, a Democrat who wrote a book about Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, said he had received more than 200 responses from colleagues and parents, all positive.
Some, he said, were from “egregious violators” who did not realise they were his target. “You’re agreeing with me? I’m talking about you. My whole email was directed at you.”