Sportsmanship should come first in sports

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, February 19, 2009

A fight during any high school sporting event is unacceptable, but the brawl that happened Tuesday during the Central Region Tournament in Montgomery is appalling. The Alabama High School Athletic Association thought so, and they issued stiff penalties to Carver-Montgomery and Valley high schools after their schools were involved in a massive scuffle.

Both schools have been put on restrictive probation, meaning they were both disqualified from the postseason tournament. Carver was actually leading the game with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter. Carver was initially declared the winner, but the game’s status was downgraded to suspended indefinitely. After further review of the video and photos of the incident, AHSAA officials couldn’t allow either of the teams to continue participating in the tournament.

“We’re very disappointed for the student-athletes of our state,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “This is not what we’ve taught and stressed in our sportsmanship emphasis over the last three years.”

What made this incident so bad was the fact the fans of the schools got involved in the fight. If the fans never got on the court and started fighting in the stands, this situation might not have gotten out of control. The officials could have stopped the fight and made the appropriate player/coach ejections to finish the game. However, it took police officers basically clearing the court and the arena to get the situation under control.

Granted, players should never get into fights, but the fans should never rush onto the floor like that.

“We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our program,” Savarese went on to say.

We’re glad that AHSAA made a stand here, but in the future, we also need to look at what causes these kinds of brawls. Hopefully, we can stop a future fight from happening. In any case, fans need to keep their place, stay calm and not make a bad situation worse.