A massive brawl broke out during a Chicago team’s youth basketball game in Georgia over the weekend, except it wasn’t between players of the rival teams, it was between players and the referees.
Multiple videos posted to social media Sunday showed the fight unfold at LakePoint Champions Center complex.
In the footage, multiple players are seen hitting and kicking an official on the court floor during the fourth quarter of Chicago’s Raw Athletics’ match against the Houston Raptors.
The videos show both the players and a referee fighting as others rush to break up the fight, prompting a larger fight to break out.
It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the fight.
Raw Athletics’ coach Howard Martin could not immediately be reached for comment, but according to Yahoo Sports, he tweeted and then deleted a statement accusing the ref of attacking a player.
“A ref actually walked up on one of our players and attacked him,” the tweet reportedly read. “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.”
A coach for the Raptors, Bobby Benjamin, told Yahoo Sports tensions were already high as the Chicago team headed into the final minutes losing to the Raptors.
“When I looked up, the kid was swinging at the ref,” Benjamin said. “At that point I told my assistant coaches to get our kids on the other side of the court. I didn’t want them involved in that at all. If you watch the video, you will probably not see a single purple jersey.”
LakePoint Sports posted a statement to Twitter saying “we are disappointed in the incident that occurred this morning at The Association basketball tournament.”
“Behavior like this by any party will not be tolerated,” the tweet read.
The venue reported the Emerson Police Department was investigating the incident.
“We will continue to work closely with our tournament operators to ensure that good sportsmanship is expected and any inappropriate behaviour is sanctioned,” the statement continued. “The safety and security of our athletes, families and staff is paramount.”
The Amateur Athletic Union said the event was not licensed by the AAU organization and called the incident “unfortunate.”