Unsportsmanlike Conduct ?

Punched unconscious by the opposing player.

Should this kid be charged with a crime ? Or, as his coach says, was he simply going a wee bit too far in reacting to being elbowed in the face?


He needs to be charged with a crime, convicted of a crime, and sentenced to a juvenile detention facility for the maximum amount of time possible.

Yep. Bring back public whipping. Barring that, what UB said.

I am definitely using this line for defense myself sometime:

“It wasn’t a vicious attack or a malicious attack, it was retaliation”

The videotape is quite distressing.

Then again, the Rodney King cops got off…

Convicted of self-defense?

Not a big fan of using criminal law to deal with in game problems. If that becomes a regular thing, any pitcher that brings the high heat inside is risking a felony indictment.

Obviously in this incident the player should be ejected, his team charged with a 2-shot technical foul plus a flagrant foul. Beyond that, I can see the league suspending the player for several games, perhaps the remainder of the season, and disciplinary action by the school/coach.

A criminal charge? Seems awfully harsh, in light of the other highly likely consequences outlined above. From what I saw, there was no weapon involved, nor was there serious bodily harm. Misdemeanor assualt, maybe, could stick…but again, I’m resistant to the notion of prosecution for in game conduct. Problems of obtaining a “fair trial” for a visiting player notwithstanding. Athletes fight sometimes. Some of them take cheapshots. There’s an adequate remedy available outside the criminal courts in most cases.

I don’t consider beating somebody into unconsciousness an in-game problem.

If you tried to charge a pitcher with assault for throwing inside, you’d be laughed out of court, because it’s part of the game. Same thing with football or hockey - actions that would qualify as assault in day to day life are a normal part of the game, and they’re covered by the rules. Sports are rough, and occasionally taking an elbow to the head is part of playing basketball. So’s occasionally giving an elbow to the head.

Those elbows aren’t intended to hurt people, though - the reason you throw elbows around is to clear space or prevent opponents from getting a grip on a loose ball. They’re a normal part of the game. A situation like this is so far outside of the rules that it no longer qualifies as a part of the game. It’s analagous to Todd Bertuzzi’s hit on Steve Moore a couple of years ago. In that case, Bertuzzi punched Moore in the back of the head from behind, leaving him with a cracked vertebra in his neck and ending his hockey career. When Moore took the ice that night, he expected to play a game of hockey with all the risks it involves. He didn’t expect (and nobody would expect) to have his neck broken by a sucker punch.

The rules of the sport aren’t written to cover offenses like that. If you don’t want to involve the courts, what remedy would you suggest?

Yes, it’s part of the game. However, in theory, it also would meet the definition of aggravated assualt. A guy with a 90+ mph heater could kill somebody with a beanball. How do you give a guy a pass for that, but then throw a basketball player in the slammer for a fist fight?

As for remedies other than criminal, I mentioned several in my first post. If we extend the discussion to pro athletes, then obviously heavy fines/suspensions are on the table.

I was uncomfortable with that hockey situation you described. Yeah, a guy got seriously injured in a fight…but fighting has been part of pro hockey for as long as I can remember. Some might say it’s a big part…more so than in other sports, even.

I’m not anything like an athlete anymore. But back in the day, I played various sports. Sometimes, it the heat of the moment, it’s easy to take a swing at somebody. It’s not a good thing to do, but it happens. Everybody knows it happens. Cheap shots are not uncommon. It’s within the range of forseeable risk, in my opinion. Not condoning the conduct at all, just don’t think it rises to the level of criminal conduct in most cases.

I agree with you - in most cases. But there’s a huge difference between taking a swing at someone in the heat of the moment and beating somebody until he’s unconscious. It’s the same difference between a “normal” hockey fight and what Bertuzzi did.

The difference is intent and expectations. When a batter comes to the plate, he knows that the pitcher may consider the inside corner his own. He knows that pitches might be thrown there, and he’s aware that he may actually be hit by the pitch. He knows all these things and he steps into the batter’s box anyway. And when a pitcher throws inside, he’s not intending to actually hurt the batter. Hell, even when a pitcher intentionally hits a batter, he’s not usually intending to hurt him. Hit batsmen, accidental and otherwise, are part of baseball, and the rules of the game govern what happens to them.

The rules of basketball don’t deal with penalties for beating opponents until they’re unconscious, and the rules of hockey don’t deal with breaking your opponent’s neck. In that play, a guy didn’t get “seriously injured in a fight,” as you put it; he was attacked out of the blue from behind. He didn’t know it was coming and couldn’t prepare to defend himself. It wasn’t anything close to a typical hockey fight. There’s an expected level of violence in hockey, but Bertuzzi escalated the violence worlds above what was expected.

Imagine the kid was playing a pickup basketball game rather than a league game. There’s nobody to call a technical foul and give the other team two shots and the ball, there’s nothing to suspend the offender from, and there’s no school or coach to take any other disciplinary action against him. Should he be exempt from criminal prosecution just because he was on a basketball court?

I agree that “cheap shots are not uncommon,” and also agree that the rules of the game are set up to handle such things.

The elbows are understandable, and probably shouldn’t be penalized; the shoving should be a foul; the punch warrants ejection. All those events are things that could be well handled by game’s rules. However, continuing to attack a downed opponent in a basketball game is deserving of criminal charges in my book.

This is junior high basketball, not the UFC.

I think it would be a good thing if the assailant was charged for his own benefit. I think there is something very wrong with someone who can sit on the back of a helpless person, pummeling the back of their head until pulled off by other people.

I have seen plenty of fights break out in sports events before but can’t recall anything remotely as creepy as this. I can’t recall any fight where anyone followed up decking the other guy.

As for the baseball pitcher question, I think the pitcher would be charged with a criminal offence if he beaned some opponent in the back of the head while he wasn’t looking.

This is self-defence like me shooting you in the back tomorrow for trying to rob me yesterday.

He wasn’t pummeled into unconsciousness. This is a big part of it, to me.

The kid suckerpunched the offending player, knocking him out immediately. This is borne out by statements from the father/coach as well as others who rushed out. The boy continued beating an unconscious person while pinning his immobile body to the ground.

A two game suspension? Acceptable behavior because it is a sporting event? Fortunately, the only Coliseum where people do combat these days is on Long Island, NY.

He punched him SO hard that he rendered him unconscious immediately. Then, that wasn’t enough. So he straddled a prone unmoving body and kept punching.

Outside of that arena, that is the stuff of criminal assault. Why it should be marginalized and minimized and considered just a part of a rough man’s game because they were both wearing basketball shorts is simply beyond me.

It wasn’t rough defensive play. It was an assault. What part of the videotape leaves that unclear ?

From what I can see on the video, I don’t see any way this is not assault. In fact, I’d expect that if an officer had been present at the game when this was happening, that the kid would have been arrested on the spot. It wouldn’t have surprised me if the cops had been called immediately when this happened.

I would like to know what the game situation was when this happened. I suspect the game was a blow out with the Showtime team on the loosing end. I’d also like to see footage of the elbows supposedely exchanged between the players leading up to this, and see if they were incedental or inadvertant, or blatant cheap shots. My guess would be that there were several factors causing the kid to get frustrated and fired up enough to go after the opposing player.

I do agree with some of Oakminster’s comments about this type of assault in sports, but I think this specific sitiatuon goes above and beyond something that could or should be handled on the court or by the league. I don’t think an assault like this would fly in the pros, and in this case it was 8th graders.


(http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/14892378.htm) from the Showtime coach today:

Yeah, way to blame the kid your player cheap shotted and knocked out. I thought this coach was a class act for the way he got out on the court immediately to break up this “fight”, but quotes like this make me suspect he’s as classless as his player.

That article is full of prize quotes from that coach.

Add the one that Blunt already mentioned, and you’ve got a pretty definitive portrait of an asshole who shouldn’t be teaching kids anything about sports.

Not trying to be provocative here, just curious…but how many of the folks that are calling for criminal charges here are athletes or former athletes?

I am.

Me. There’s really no question about this one in my mind. This was an assault that may have been prevoked by actions on the court, but beyond it by such a degree as to remove it from the realm of sport.

I think the proper basball analogy would be if the pitcher threw a fastball to the back of the batter’s head when he was walking back to th edugout. It’s not a part of the game and not expected.

That sort of hit can give somone permanent brain damage. The video link was bogged down so I looked on Youtube and the first hit was a different thing, a basketball referee who was sucker-punched and will never have normal vision out of one of his eyes again. I don’t think it’s acceptable for children to be in a situation where they can be assaulted without consequences. They don’t even have any money to lose so they may as well do anything they want if they’ve lost or they don’t care. Can the team of the victim just gang up and kill the kid who did it and then sit out a season or two? You can’t let kids go into a situation where they don’t have normal protections against deliberate, potentially life-altering assaults.