Georgetown University’s Hoyas (乔治城大学) basketball team is currently in China playing against various Chinese teams on a friendship tour. In an exhibition game against the Bayi Rockets (八一火箭队) yesterday, a brawl broke out between the two. This took place at about ten minutes left in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 63.
I haven’t watched the game, but according to Wikipedia, Bayi Rockets shot 57 free throws vs. Georgetown Hoyas’ 15. This clearly meant Hoyas fouling more and physically much more aggressive. A Washington Post reporter said this to NPR which I thought was rather dishonest. What he said was technically true, but through omission of the above key facts, his and NPR’s narratives cleverly biased the blame onto the Bayi Rockets.
Yeah, that’s what a lot of people were asking. It was a game marked by a lot of physicality, early, a lot of fouls, early on. And eventually tensions just escalated to the point where the benches cleared.
The one incident that triggered the bench clearing brawl, which was the second one of the game, by the way, was a hard foul on Jason Clark, a senior guard on the Georgetown team. A Chinese player fouled him, pushed him to the ground. You can clearly see that in all the videos that are circulating out there on the Internet. And Jason obviously didn’t taken kindly to it, got up and said something to him.
The reporter made no comment whatsoever about which team was fouling more. NPR did not bother to share that fact either. Follow the above link to the NPR article to read it for yourself.
In basketball, this type of brawl is actually not uncommon. Blame should be laid on the referees too. When a team is overtly aggressive, the coaches should be warned. The referees have a responsibility to prevent this type of situations from escalating which invariably develops into a brawl.
Many Chinese netizens are criticizing the Bayi Rockets for unprofessional conduct. From the video footage, it appears the Rockets player shoved the Hoyas player unto the floor and then the brawl ensued.
As usual, I caution people on how they read the U.S. media on this story. For the most part, this type of brawls happen in basketball and people shouldn’t interpolate it into a brawl between the two countries. The U.S. media often like to create ‘good’ guys and ‘bad’ guys. If you want the truth, I urge people to watch the game itself to see what transpired before the brawl. Not having watched the game myself as of the writing of this post, but seeing the 57 free throws by the Bayi Rockets vs. the 15 for the Georgetown Hoyas is very telling which team was more excessively aggressive.
The Chinese people and the Americans need not have more antagonistic feelings toward each other. If the U.S. media wants Americans to have their feelings polarized, I think it is then worthwhile to ponder why.
[Update: Below is a report in China Daily.]
“US team doesn’t let brawl cancel trip”
Updated: 2011-08-20 07:53
By Wang Kaihao (China Daily)
BEIJING – An 11-day goodwill trip to China by the Georgetown University Hoyas men’s basketball team is continuing despite a brawl with a Chinese professional team during an exhibition game on Thursday night in Beijing.
“The team will absolutely continue their trip,” Christina Ciocca, a staff member from the Georgetown delegation, told China Daily in an e-mail.
“We look forward to our time at the Nike Festival of Sport and in the city of Shanghai.”
A brawl erupted between the Georgetown players and China’s Bayi team in their game at the National Olympic Sports Center with about 9 minutes and 32 seconds left in the final quarter and the score tied at 64.
Bayi players complained before the fight that the Hoyas’ style of play was too rough, while the visitors were not happy with a 57-15 free-throw discrepancy in Bayi’s favor.
Georgetown University Head Men’s Basketball Coach John Thompson III and two of the team’s student-athletes met with members of the Bayi Rockets on Friday morning, according to Georgetown University’s athletics website.
Thompson, Bayi Head Coach Adejiang, and their team members shared a very cordial and friendly meeting.
The college delegation, about 50 people in total, took a Friday morning flight to Shanghai, the second and final destination in the Hoyas’ first overseas visit since Thompson became the coach in 2004.
Michael Wang, special assistant to the chief operating officer of the university, said none of the players was injured, while another staff member who refused to give his name said none of the Hoyas’ players was injured in the fight.
“Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after a heated exchanges with both teams,” Thompson said after the game. “We sincerely regret that this situation occurred.”
“We remain grateful for the opportunity our student-athletes are having to engage in a sport they love here in China, while strengthening their understanding of a nation we respect and admire at Georgetown University, Thompson added.
Nobody from Bayi was available for comment.
It was the Hoyas’ second game in China, one day after they topped the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanxi Dragons, 98-81.
That game was attended by US Vice-President Joe Biden, who arrived in Beijing hours before to meet with newly inaugurated US Ambassador to China Gary Locke.
According to Georgetown’s new itinerary, it is scheduled to play a game against the Liaoning Dinosaurs on Sunday.
Georgetown is scheduled to play its final game on Monday against the Shandong Flaming Bulls.