A brawl broke out at an AAU tournament in Georgia.

An AAU tournament in Emerson, Georgia descended into madness Sunday thanks to a giant brawl between players and officials. As per Cam Smith of USA Today, this took place in a game between Chicago’s  R.A.W. Athletics and the Houston Raptors. This first came to light Sunday thanks to Doug Jones of Houston basketball site RCS Sports, who covers the Raptors; he tweeted several videos of the brawl he was sent.

That’s certainly quite the brawl, especially when it comes to that second clip, which appears to show multiple players pummeling one shirtless official before another official comes flying in. But the sequence of events isn’t clear. ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf writes that the two teams’ coaches (Houston’s Bobby Benjamin, who supplied at least one of these videos, and R.A.W. Athletics’ Howard Martin) tell different stories:

“At the end of the game, one of my players was complaining about a call,” Martin told ESPN. “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.”

Benjamin gave a different account of the brawl, saying Martin and his team instigated the incident. He said the clip that shows an official pursuing some of the players occurred after the official had been assaulted. Benjamin said one player “body slammed” an official, who appeared to have injured his neck.

He said the referee in the video, who is on the ground taking punches from players, called a technical foul against a R.A.W. Athletics player, who then bumped him with his shoulder before he knocked him to the ground. That started the altercation, Benjamin said.

“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.”

Martin also claimed that another official ran over from another court after the initial incident and “charged the kid,” while Benjamin said Martin previously told the ref he’d “whip your ass” at the start of the game. But regardless of who started it, that’s a pretty significant altercation, and it led to the Emerson Police Department being called; they’ve since launched an investigation, so there could be legal consequences here for one or both sides. Tournament organizer Josh Miley also told Medcalf that the tournament is reviewing video from the “sickening” incident, and could ban anyone found responsible. So we’ll see what this all leads to, but it certainly created a social media firestorm.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.