A group of parents behaving poorly officially cost two Washington youth football teams on Tuesday when they were informed that they were being banned from the playoffs because parents from the teams had engaged in a fight when the two teams met in early October.
As reported by Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO, the 9-10 year old teams from Bothell and Renton were banned from the Greater Eastside Junior Football Association playoffs after two parents from the Bothell squad engaged in a nasty brawl with two counterparts from Renton in a fight that eventually expanded into a full-on brawl between parents of both teams.
Here’s how one parent characterized the fight to KOMO:
“I jumped in to try and break them up that’s when one of the coaches from the Bothell team jumped over the fence and attacked me,” says Courtney Stephens, who has a son that is a player for the Renton Five Stars. “It was total chaos and people were coming out of stands trying to break it up.”
Of course, while no one is defending the fight, plenty are disappointed that their children are now being penalized for the overreaching actions of a few.
“It’s about the kids, it’s not about what happened on the sidelines,” Stephens told KOMO. “Our kids had nothing to do with this, and they’re being punished.”
No one is arguing that this is the parents’ fault rather than the players, but league organizers insist that this can be a teaching moment for all.
“Our values are sportsmanship, fair play and good behavior and that is going to supersede any record,” says Ryan Scott, vice president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue, the organization that oversees the Greater Eastside Junior Football Association, told the ABC affiliate. “There is no winner in this, there’s no question. But I think for us to put safety and sportsmanship in a second position behind a football record is not something we’re willing to do.”