An AAU game turned ugly over the weekend when members of Chicago’s R.A.W. Athletics team got into a violent fracas with referees at The Association tournament finals in Emerson, Georgia.
Police had to be called to the LakePoint Sporting Community complex after several members of the R.A.W. Athletics team threw punches at an official when he called a late technical foul against them, according to ESPN. The players reportedly also brawled with other officials who tried to break up the fight.
R.A.W. Athletics coach Howard Martin said members of his team were merely reacting to a referee, who pushed one of them as he argued a call.
“At the end of the game, one of my players was complaining about a call,” Martin told ESPN, adding that one of the refs who ran onto the court actually trying to join in the brawl rather than break it up. . “He made a comment to the referee. The ref didn’t like it. So the other team inbounded the ball, walked it up, the ref said to my player, ‘Say it again.’ Then he T’d him up and kicked him out of the game. 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.”
But Bobby Benjamin, head coach of the opposing Houston Raptors, told a different story, saying the melee began after players on Martin’s Athletics team started throwing punches.
“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.”