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Youth Basketball Game Ends In Brawl Between Players and Referees; Organizer Calls Incident “Sickening”

Over the weekend, chaos erupted at a youth basketball game in Atlanta after a full-blown brawl between referees and players broke out during a game. 

The incident occurred on Sunday morning at the amateur basketball game between R.A.W. Athletics from Chicago and the Houston Raptors, late in the fourth quarter with R.A.W trailing, 77-68. 

As the incident escalated, videos began to surface online, most of which showed the players as the aggressors. However, R.A.W. head coach, Howard Martin, shared his side of the story, accusing the referees of initiating the incident. 

“A ref actually walked up on one of our players and attacked him,” Martin wrote. “Everyone tried to break it all up, then the ref’s father (who was working a game on a different court) ran over to our court and rushed our guys…everyone in the gym, the other team and the directors saw everything.” 

The following day, Martin elaborated in an interview with ESPN, saying “at the end of the game, one of my players was complaining about a call. He made a comment to the referee. The ref didn’t like it.” 

“So the other team imbounded the ball, walked it up, the ref said to my player, ‘Say it again.’ Then he T’d him up and kicked him out the game,” he continued. “And he walked behind him, still having words. Then the ref pushed my player, and they squared up right by my bench. When they squared up, another one of my players jumped off the bench and took [the ref] down. We separated them,” Martin said, that is when one of the other refs came over to “join in,” and it “all went to hell.” 

However, on the other hand, Bobby Benjamin, coach of the Houston Raptors, said that’s not exactly how it went down. 

Although he did say it started with the tech, he said Martin and his team instigated it. 

“The referee definitely didn’t attack the kids,” Benjamin said. “Absolutely not. Once things got going, and he was attacked….he got assaulted. They were too outnumbered to even try to defend themselves.” 

In fact, according to Benjamin, Martin told the ref he would “whip your ass” before the game even started, setting an edgy tone from the jump. 

“They started arguing with each other and their coach,” Benjamin said of the moments before the brawl erupted. “During a timeout, I said, ‘I think they know they’re not gonna beat us in basketball, but I think they might try to challenge us in something else because they’re challenging their coach.’ Five minutes before the fight, God gave us a sign that something ugly was about to happen,” so he pulled his team off the floor. 

Although no arrests have been made, the organizer of the tournament called the incident “unfortunate,” “saddening,” and “sickening,” adding that the Emerson Police Department has launched an investigation into the matter.

Despite recent reports, AAU released a statement, denying all involvement in the tournament. In fact, the organization said the invent was not licensed by the AAU and therefore should “not be referenced as AAU,” as it “is regularly and wrongly used to describe all nonscholastic travel basketball. Not all basketball events in the summer are run by the AAU organization.”

Clip I received…team actually jumps the refs! Can’t make this up…see for yourself! @aau_bingo pic.twitter.com/UH9oSsiUFQ

— Doug Jones (@djones8301) July 8, 2018

About MsJennyb

Small town girl from Dirty Jerz.

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