A call at a recreational kickball game resulted in one man being out of a job after the mayor allegedly used his power to have an umpire fired. The umpire is now suing the mayor for slander, conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with a contract. The mayor has since denied these allegations.
The incident began when Graylnn Moran Jr. was officiating a kickball game in an adult kickball league on August 6. Moncks Corner Mayor Michael Lockliear, from South Carolina, was upset with Moran’s officiating after he called his son “out” on a pivotal play towards the end of the game, NBC News reported.
According to Moran’s lawsuit, Mayor Lockliear threw a “tantrum” over Moran’s claim that his son was out. “The Mayor shouted as he approached Graylnn, ‘He was passed the plate. Are you stupid?'” the lawsuit said.
“Graylnn did not respond to the disparaging question from the Mayor and just stared at him, believing him to be just another kickball player passionate about an umpire call of ‘out.'”
The argument reportedly got so intense that Moran tried to remind Lockliear that he was representing this town and advised him to calm down.“He called me stupid and just kept right on arguing the play,” Moran told The New York Times. “He was yelling. I told him to calm down.”
“I own this town!” Lockliear retorted, per the lawsuit. “You won’t have to worry about representing this town anymore because you won’t be back out here.” The mayor’s tantrum lasted the remainder of the game.
Two days after the argument, Moran received a text message that told him he was fired. He used the $1,200 job to help cover bills.
Mayor Lickliear has since defended his actions. “I’m very competitive, and I would have argued that call even if it wasn’t my son,” Lockliear said. “Because we were down 4-3 in the bottom inning. And then I thought he was safe, he looked safe, he was past the bag when he got hit by the ball. I said, ‘He was past the bag’ three times and then walked away.”