If you’re not a fan of AAU basketball, well, Sunday’s incident in Georgia won’t help.
A youth basketball game between R.A.W. Athletics and the Houston Raptors at an AAU tournament in the Atlanta area descended into chaos when several R.A.W. players actually attacked a referee and threw punches at him while he was down on the floor.
The melee apparently broke out after the referee assessed a R.A.W. Athletics player a technical foul with under a minute remaining in the game. But there are, of course, conflicting reports about what sparked the incident.
R.A.W. Athletics coach Howard Martin claimed the ref pushed one of his players first.
“At the end of the game, one of my players was complaining about a call,” Martin told ESPN.com. “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.”
Meanwhile, Raptors coach Bobby Benjamin insisted the R.A.W. Athletics player bumped the referee with his shoulder following the technical foul before knocking him to the ground.
“The referee definitely didn’t attack the kids,” Benjamin told ESPN.com. “Absolutely not. Once things got going, and he was attacked … he got assaulted. They were too outnumbered to even try to defend themselves.”
Either way, the R.A.W. players’ actions are pretty indefensible. They could result in legal ramifications, too: Police arrived at the scene immediately after the game, and the Emerson (Ga.) Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident, according to ESPN.com.
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