Umpire Graylnn Moran Jr. is dealing with the aftermath of an “embarrassing” encounter with Moncks Corner Mayor Michael Lockliear after he called out Lockliear’s son during an adult league kickball game earlier this month.
Moran, a youth baseball coach and kickball umpire, was recently told he cannot officiate any more of the town’s games. The unofficial ban stems from an incident during a game on Aug. 6 between the Recreational Hazard and the team “Toe Jammers.”
Lockliear and his adult son play for the Recreational Hazards. During the game, Moran made a call on Lockliear’s son, saying he was out at the plate. According to Moran, the mayor then left the dugout and started yelling at Moran.
“I called his son out at the plate and he came out of the dugout just acting crazy; I couldn’t believe it,” Moran said. “He embarrassed me; it was terrible.”
Moran said he asked Lockliear to calm down, but Lockliear continued to angrily dispute Moran’s call. Moran said the mayor was so aggressive that he seemed like he wanted to fight and shouted at him, “I run this town.” Moran said Lockliear also told him that he would never again umpire for the town.
Mayor Lockliear disputed the claim that he said “I run this town.” In a prepared statement, Lockliear said he did argue a call at the plate and questioned the umpire’s judgment but “at no time, however, did I threatened an umpire, shake a fence, throw a water bottle or make any statement about owning or controlling the town I serve.”
“I am not making excuses, but I want you to know that I am passionate about Moncks Corner, and that doesn’t stop with a kickball game,” Lockliear said. “I recognize that I should be the example of the good sportsmanship that we encourage from everyone who is a part of Moncks Corner Recreation, and not allow competitiveness to overshadow that.”
Lockliear said he did not demand that Moran be removed his umpire position. He explained that Recreation Director Becky Ellison requested that Lockliear not participate in the final game of the season the following night and requested Moran to be reassigned for one night “to avoid any chance of controversy on the final night.”
Moran said after the game on Aug. 6, he learned he would not be officiating any future Moncks Corner games.
Moran posted on Facebook, describing the incident and his post has since been shared over 400 times. The Post & Courier reported a story that was picked up by other news agencies throughout the state.
Moran said he’s also been meeting with Tom Fernandez, a Berkeley County attorney, to explore litigation options.
Lockliear has served as mayor since 2016 and filed for re-election earlier this month. Prior to serving as mayor, he was on Town Council for a decade.