DODDS officials still trying to sort out post-game fight
October 31, 2007
RAF MILDENHALL, England — About a dozen high school football players could face disciplinary action this week in connection with a fight Saturday after a game between Lakenheath and Kaiserslautern.
Principals and football coaches at both schools either declined to speak about the incident or didn’t return requests for comment this week, referring all questions to DODDS-Europe administrators.
The altercation came at the end of the Lancers’ 13-8 victory over the visiting Kaiserslautern team at RAF Lakenheath, England. During the post-game handshake, “there was an altercation,” DODDS-Europe chief of staff Sue Gurley said Tuesday in an e-mail.
But what caused the fight and how it all went down is not clear, Gurley said, as officials from both schools have offered different accounts.
“We’ve had some discrepancies in who initiated the contact between the students,” Gurley said. “I’m seeking clarification. I’ve got two versions of who did what.”
Both sides reported name calling among the players before the incident, she said.
“They were kids getting emotionally engaged in the game,” she said. “When they were going through the handshaking line, they let their emotions get the better of them.”
According to Lakenheath players interviewed Tuesday, tensions rose throughout the game as players talked trash and personal fouls were called.
“I had everybody’s back, and [Kaiserslautern players] had their own backs,” Lancer Chris Grimsley said.
Somewhere in the post-game handshake, shoving turned into punching that eventually involved much of each team, he said. “It went on for a while,” Grimsley said of the fight.
After the teams were separated, security forces squadron members were on the field to keep the teams separated, senior and team captain Eddie Alford said. However, base representatives said Monday that “security forces weren’t called to the scene.”
“So many of us, so few of them,” Grimsley said of efforts by teacher and parents to break up the fight, which he said lasted a few minutes. “Everybody’s throwing punches.”
No players were injured in the fracas, Gurley said.
Gurley said she would not name the students involved due to privacy regulations. But seven Kaiserslautern players and five Lakenheath players were identified as being involved, she said.
Disciplinary action for the involved students could range from missing a game if they compete in other sports, to a ban from future sports or not lettering, Gurley said.
Late Tuesday, Gurley said in an e-mail that “the principals of the schools ... are working together to determine an appropriate course of action regarding the sportsmanship of the teams,” but did not elaborate on that point by Stripes’ deadline.