CARROLLTON, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – The scene of fans storming the field, threatening referees, and shouting obscenities at the players is usually reserved for some of the rowdiest European soccer matches. But this behavior found its way into the unlikeliest of sporting events last weekend: an 11- and 12-year-old recreation football game in Georgia.
Three coaches were cited for disorderly conduct and obscene language following the Oct. 8 incident in which about 100 spectators of a recreation youth football game rushed the field after a controversial call.
A Carrollton police report says some of the parents in the stands were yelling profanities, threatening a referee, and attempting to pick fights with the young players. Both the Carrollton and Central youth recreation teams involved in the incident are suspended for their respective games this week.
It’s an incident as bizarre as the circumstances surrounding it. The melee began when the Central punter was tackled and injured, enraging the fans and the Carrollton team, according to the police report. A referee claimed it was a legal tackle as the punter did not directly receive the ball from the center, making any hit on the punter a fair play, explained Chris Robinson of Carroll County’s youth recreation league in the report. Three plays later, two opposing players began to fight, resulting in parents and fans from both sides to clear the stands and rush the field.
What happened next amid the chaos remains unclear. Witness accounts have parents and coaches on the field attempting to fight the children. One account detailed how one parent, allegedly, held down one youth player, attempting to get his helmet off so that the parent’s son could jump on the player being held down.
Another instance in the report has the referee stating that three men were cursing at him, with two of them — both suspended coaches for previous incidents — having placed their hands on him. One of the men, Danny Shane Helton, has been placed on one-year probation and isn’t allowed to coach for his alleged role in the fight.
“The parents were over-reacting to the game and its plays, and were carrying the incident into a highly disorderly status,” the report read.
Carrollton police told CBS Atlanta that nothing else is being done at this point. Carrollton Police Capt. Chris Dobbs said some parents have talked about filing juvenile complaint forms following the incident. The youth recreations department, however, would not expand on the details of last weekend.