A middle school basketball coach and several community members in Pike County, Kentucky, have been suspended following an intense brawl that broke out during a basketball game last week.
According to WYMT, the coaches of Belfry and Phelps middle schools exchanged heated words during halftime at an eighth grade game last Thursday. Their heated words quickly escalated to fisticuffs and the ordeal was hashed out on center court in front of players, students and spectators.
The school board passed down punishments on Thursday for 10 the men involved in the brawl — Belfry head coach Bobby Varney II, his brother and assistant coach Tommy, two referees and six other adults.
Bobby Varney has been suspended without pay until June 30 while the others were banned from all Pike County athletic events for the remainder of the school year.
Although Pike County Magistrate and father of both the head and assistant coaches Bobby Varney Sr. tried to intervene in the melee, he was not suspended from any games. When Varney Sr. tried to intervene, he was thrown to the ground and kicked by a referee, an action to which he did not react.
According to Pike County Superintendent Reed Atkins, one person was sent to the hospital after sustaining minor injuries. The game was forfeited and no students were involved in the brawl.
“It’s a real unfortunate situation,” Pike said. “We certainly will not tolerate this kind of behavior in our school system.”
Referee Tim Sammons, who was not involved in the incident, was frustrated and disappointed with the events.
“It saddens me; it breaks my heart,” he stated. “How can we be an example? If we’re supposed to be Christlike, how can we be an example?”
Sammons went on to emphasize the importance of adults being good role models.
“If we take something like that action, how can we be mad at our children because they’re going to act just exactly like we act,” he said.
Coach Varney will continue teaching in the district. Neither team will play each other for the remainder of the school year.
The coaching staff and other adults should be ashamed of themselves for taking a simple game and blew it entirely out of proportion.
Too often, many adults are poor role models because they fail to understand the full impact their behavior has on the children around them. Kids learn by example, and when their examples fail, their behavior declines.
Fortunately for the kids in this school district, the school board realized the full import of this concept and took action.
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