While I was at cheerleading camp last week I kind of fell behind in the sporting world. While I was tucked away from the real world and in a land where beautiful girls roamed seemingly every square inch around me and instead of speaking in the English language you spoke in cheers, quite a bit happened. On Sunday night I had a little time to catch up on my passion and beyond all of the NFL preseason hype, the college football previews, and the escalating baseball pennant races, one thing jumped ahead of them all and grabbed my attention…
Could you believe the Georgetown-China basketball exhibition brawl on Thursday night? I only have one word to describe that scene: Scary. I love how Georgetown was trying to do something to give their athletes some culture, an exposure to a different kind of high level basketball, and an experience of a lifetime but come on, you had to do it in China?
Going to a foreign country where relations are icy with your home country is risky in itself. But did Georgetown do any research on the opponents they were going to play once they got to China? Georgetown was playing a professional Chinese basketball team, the Bayi Rockets. The professional league the Rockets play in is characterized by on-court fighting and skirmishes. When you take your team to the other side of the world into a vastly different culture and into the middle of a league that functions more like a fight club than a basketball association, don’t you think there is the potential for problems?
Okay, so maybe it was not a bright move by Georgetown but there is still absolutely no excuse for the bizarre conditions that the game was played under. The various articles I read when researching this story said there were a half dozen altercations before the main brawl in the fourth quarter. A half dozen altercations? In a league that is known for fighting, any single altercation that happens should result in an ejection (s). If this was the case, at least one of the teams would have been hurting to continue the game because they would be so low on players and the youtube sensation would never have happened. Well, it became obvious that Georgetown had their work cut out for them to begin with. Forget the team of hooligans they were playing against and forget the hostile crowd, their main opponent might well have been the referees. I still laugh at this stat because of its complete absurdity: The Bayi Rockets outshot Georgetown on free throws by the count of 57 to 15. Enter as many synonyms for ridiculous that you can think of and mash them altogether and that phrase will only do about half way justice to that free throw disparity line. That is a complete joke.
So on Thursday night when a Bayi player mobbed a Georgetown player on a rare foul that was actually called, of course the Georgetown player was going to tell the Bayi player what he thought about it. However, there was no need for two of the Chinese players to pummel him for doing so. This of course set off the brawl. If you have not watched this video yet, you got to take look. Karate kicks and defenseless blows were what the Chinese team resulted to. After they had thrown enough of those in, they decided to throw something else: chairs. You can’t get more bush league than using chairs in a fight. The way they were swinging those things was crazy. Yes, I do realize that one Georgetown player ended up with a chair in his hands as well but that was after he was hit with one. The poor freshman player had to have thought his life was in danger. And you know, the sad thing is, it very well could have been. The security was more non-existent than Kevin Durant at Rucker Park. There was no one but the Georgetown coaches to restore any order in that situation. Several members of the crowd which was full of idiots were down on the floor throwing chairs as well. One fan was even swinging around a stanchion. That situation could have gotten a lot uglier if Georgetown did not have the presence of mind to quickly get off the court and to say the hell with the rest of the game.
So Georgetown was dumb to play the game in the first place and smart to end it when they did but they still had one more decision to make: Finish their tour with a game against the Shandong Flaming Bulls or cancel the rest of the tour and go home. If it was me, I would have gotten the hell out of that country that night. But Georgetown stayed and the game went on without incident. You can say Georgetown either had guts or stupidity, you make the call.
I admit it, sometimes I like seeing teams brawl in sports. However, I like the kind where it is in a controlled atmosphere with professional game officials and a strong security force that has a firm handle on everything. I don’t like seeing two different cultures battling it out in an out of control, chair throwing, one sided nightmare. Next time, Georgetown might just want to stay home during the offseason. Don’t Blink.