Canadian tennis player Denis Shapovalov was defaulted for "hitting the umpire with a ball" during a davis cup match against Great Britain, it was revealed on the BBC. But as we come to terms with this, two questions need to be asked. First of all, are there other instances of abuse against an official in any professional sporting contest and what appropriate action should be taken against those who are guilty of such behaviour?

The story

First of all, what exactly happened? According to the Daily Mail newspaper, the 17-year old Shapovalov had just been broken to trail 6-3 6-4 2-1 against Great Britain's Kyle Edmund and hit the French umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye when he "angrily smashed the ball away from mid court".

As a result he was defaulted which enabled Britain to progress to the quarter-finals.

Other cases

Let me now address the first question. Have there been other instances of abuse against an official in professional sport? In Football there have been a few examples. In 1998 Paolo Di Canio pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground during a Premier League game, as reported in the Sun newspaper. A couple of years later a number of Manchester United players, led by their captain Roy Keane confronted and acted aggressively towards the referee Andy D'Urso. According to the BBC D'Urso stated that "if I had stood my ground I would have been pushed over". In the National Hockey League (NHL) Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames delivered a "vicious crosscheck" to the back of linesman Don Henderson as he was leaving the ice, according to Newsweek.

Even in Rugby Union, widely considered as a "leading example" is terms of cracking down on abuse, is in danger of "slipping", according to the Pitchero website. In a Telegraph report from March 2016, it found that 67 percent of officials said that they had been subjected to abuse, with 74 percent claiming that it was increasing.

How do we deal with such behaviour?

The next question to ask is, what is the appropriate action that should be taken? First of all, it is important to state that such behaviour cannot be tolerated. Within professional sport most players do have enough money from salaries so I do not really think a fine is sufficient alone. But what all sportsperson's want to do is to play so a large suspension from the game a good starting point.

In the long term, however, it has to be about education. Whilst tempers do flare in the heat of the moment, sportsmen/women need to learn to respect the officials and to act respectively during the match that they are playing. A lot of youngsters will be looking up to those who play football for example, and these players need to remember that when they take to the field. If they do not, it could have serious repercussions to those playing a grassroots level.