BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — The coach of an Amateur Atthletic Union basketball team is defending his players, who can be seen hitting a referee, on camera.
The attack happened Sunday morning at the Lakepoint Sporting Facility in Emerson near Cartersville.
Players and coaches told Channel 2's Michael Seiden the brawl broke out at the end of a semifinal game between Chicago's R.A.W. Athletics and the Houston Raptors.
“It’s just disgusting to watch something boil to this point when we are trying to something for kids," said Howard Martin, Head Coach of R.A.W. Athletics.
Martin told Seiden he and his team were disqualified from the tournament, but he asked Channel 2 Action News to speak with him, so he could let the world know what really happened before the melee.
“One of my players, he had words with the referee. I think he was complaining about a call or something," Martin said.
Martin says a video he sent to Channel 2 shows the referee handing out a technical foul before ejecting his player.
You can hear the crowd's reaction just before punches started to fly.
"The player was walking back toward the bench and the referee pushed the player and they squared up," Martin said.
Seiden also spoke with Bobby Benjamin, the head coach of the Houston Raptors, who told us he saw a player bump into the referee, but he's not exactly sure what started the fight. "Talking about shoulder bump," Benjamin said.
We reached out to the referee management to try to get in contact with the referees, but they haven't returned our calls and emails.
They did release this statement on Twitter:
"We are disappointed in the incident that occurred this morning at The Association basketball tournament and are taking the appropriate action with authorities. Behavior like this by any party will not be tolerated."
Cox Media Group