Fists were flying in Kansas City Saturday at a basketball tournament where a ref was attacked by a coach, a player, and fans who rushed the court to join in the melee. According to eyewitnesses, the disgusting behavior went down at The Hardwood Classic X RecruitLook Summer Finale at the Staley High School gymnasium.
As if the coach and ref trading punches before fans started punching the ref wasn't a bad enough look, high-quality video shows a player from Team GameSpeed kicking the ref as he's being ganged up on.
In a Facebook thread, Caleb Mcconnell says he was the ref in the middle of this nonsense.
"I had just called a tech right before the camera came to me. That's why he was pushing up on me like that. F--k another tech at that point. He had to catch one," McConnell, who says he's a 9-year referee veteran, explains.
"That coach was just looking for a reason to start something, he couldnt take the ass whooping like a man," the ref added.
Let's go to the footage so you can see exactly how this all went down:
As many of you know, incidents like this aren't the least bit out of the ordinary for a travel basketball circuit that consistently finds itself in the headlines for fights on the court. In April, a particularly brutal incident took place in Georgia where a ref was attacked by players at a church gymnasium. The ref suffered serious injuries from the scumbag players who sent him to the hospital.
Last summer, a girls' basketball ref traded punches with a fan who walked onto the court to confront the man at a Pacers basketball facility.
And it's not just random parents out there having trouble with travel basketball. Ohio State football coach Ryan Day's son was punched by a travel player during a game and that led to a wild barrage of messages from the kid's mother who claimed Day's son was throwing "cheap shots" at her son.
When will it all end?
With a select number of states now allowing name, image and likeness deals for high school athletes and millions to be made off NIL deals at the collegiate level, you're going to keep having tournaments featuring delusional parents, coaches, and players looking to cash in at all costs and the includes punching a ref here and there.
“Are you ready to spend a thousand bucks to play a weekend out of town, and then your kid’s team loses its first game and no college coaches see her play?” Jesse Washington wrote in 2018 about the world of AAU basketball for ESPN.
“You ready to see your son’s team bring in a new player at his position, and then your son has to come off the bench? Are you ready to skip vacation for basketball? Because that’s what this journey is about. You in or out? There are 9,406 Division I basketball scholarships for men and women. Less than 2,000 spots are up for grabs each year.
"Hundreds of thousands of kids play AAU. Your kids and mine aren’t one-and-done prodigies, or even big-time recruits — they’re in that gray area of players who have to really grind to get a scholarship.”
Kansas City was just another weekend for travel basketball. On to the next.
*Correction: A representative for AAU says this wasn't at an AAU tournament. It's just travel basketball, according to the representative.