The Washington Post is reporting that the Georgetown Hoyas got into a bench-clearing brawl with the Bayi Military Rockets during an exhibition game. The turbulent ending to Thursday night’s contest marred what had been billed as the second game of a two-day “China-U.S. Basketball Friendship Match” in Beijing. Georgetown intended the team’s 10-day trip to China to be an athletic, cultural and educational exchange designed to promote the school internationally.
Gene Wang reports that a State Department official and a Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington both called the melee “unfortunate.”
“We look to these types of exchanges to promote good sportsmanship and strengthen our people-to-people contact with China,” said the U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak for attribution.
“We believe the organizers of the matches and the two teams will address the issue properly, the sportsmanship and people-to-people friendship the matches are meant to represent will prevail,” said the Chinese spokesman, Wang Baodong, in an email.
The melee started when a Bayi basketball player pushed Georgetown player Jason Clark to the ground. Clark had words for the player, at which point both benches erupted. Fans jumped into the fray, fighting Georgetown players and hitting them with chairs and other objects. As the Georgetown team exited the floor, fans threw cups and water at the players and coaching staff.
In the words of Mister Señor Love Daddy of Do the Right Thing, “Time out!” How does what should have been at most a skirmish become an all-out brawl? What’s up with fans kicking players in the chest, especially when the Bayi team started this foolishness? That would not have gone over very well here in D.C.
Clearly, goodwill turned to ill will, to say the least. Hopefully this “unfortunate” and embarassing incident won’t be repeated as they resume their “goodwill” itineraries.
Read more at the Washington Post.