There are conflicting reports as to who started this melee, but no matter what the resulting brawl between players from a Chicago AAU team and referees down in Georgia was ugly and a terrible thing to see.

The fight involved players from Chicago’s R.A.W. Athletics who fought with referees at The Association tournament finals in Emerson, Georgia.


According to Josh Miley, the organizer of the tournament, multiple officers arrived at the LakePoint Sporting Community complex immediately after the incident. The Emerson Police Department has launched an investigation, which could result in legal ramifications for those involved in the brawl.

Here’s one side of the story from Howard Martin, R.A.W. Athletics coach.

“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.”

Martin told ESPN that one official who ran over from another court was trying to “join in” the brawl.

“I’m telling him, ‘Hey, hey, it’s all good.’ [And he says], ‘Who hit the ref?'” Martin said. “He’s running to the ref’s defense. He’s coming over to join in whatever’s going on. … He finally calms down some. Then the kid who was involved in taking the ref down comes over and says, ‘It’s me, trying to take responsibility for it.’ [The ref] charged the kid. And it all went to hell.”

The opposing coach gave a completely different story, saying the kids from Chicago’s AAU team started it all.

“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.”

Benjamin said Martin told the referee that he would “whip your ass” at the start of the game, which was edgy from the beginning.

You hate to see this stuff happen, but Martin does make a good point here.

“Now it’s all over social media, news outlets, that my kids are a bunch of thugs and a bunch of gangbangers,” he said. “They’re all teenage boys. One guy came to the aid of another guy, which he shouldn’t have. He should have let us handle it.”

Martin added, “I’m not condoning anything my players did, but they’re kids. They’re minors. That’s why they need adults. My job is to protect them. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

You can read more details on ESPN here.