'All-out brawl' mars GSSSA season opener


Senior Sports Reporter


AN all-out brawl broke out between players, coaches and fans on the court in the DW Davis Gymnasium on Monday as the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association kicked off its 2012 senior boys basketball season.

In the feature game between rival CI Gibson Rattlers and the CC Sweeting Cobras, a free-for-all melee broke out with about five minutes left in the third quarter. At that point, the Rattlers were holding a 53-46 lead, but it was obvious that the game was unable to continue.

“I felt the coaches had no control,” said Tony Williams, who along with Kennedy Polidor officiated the game. “If we keep letting this happen, we will destroy the game. Every year we have this same problem. We just have to stop the game and plan where we go from here.”

Before the game started, Williams said he requested from the GSSSA president Alfred Forbes and Evon Wisdom, the Sports Director of the Ministry of Education, to call for police to be on hand, but only one officer showed up and it was quite obvious that he was not able to contain the crowd, he claimed.

However, one of the coaches involved said he blamed the referees.

Declining to identify himself, the coach said he believed if referees had a better handle of the game in calling fouls when players were attacked during a play here and there, it would have been a different story.

“When we asked why the fouls were not called, the referees said they were just soft fouls and there was no need to call them,” the coach said. “But if one referee was calling the fouls on one end of the court, why weren’t the calls being made on the other end of the court?”

In their defence, Williams said he felt they called the game fairly, but, in his view, the coaches didn’t do their job.

Even after the brawl broke out, Williams said it turned out to be an ‘open season’ as ‘all hell broke loose.’

He said players were on the court fighting each other, some players came off the bench and fought each other and even some fans came out of the stands and were fighting.

Williams said he ended up finding himself in the middle of the melee trying to part players and fans from fighting each other.

As a result of what happened, Williams said the officials are refusing to go back on the court and continue calling any more games until they meet with the GSSSA and resolve the issue of fans’ control in the gym.

The GSSSA were in a meeting today and were unable to comment as yet.

Neither Mario Bowleg, the coach of the Cobras, or Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson, coach of the Rattlers, were available for comment.

GSSSA president Alfred Forbes was not contact able.

But Evon Wisdom said the Ministry of Education was reviewing the issue and would make a statement.


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