I think it’s fair to say that this gives new meaning to the notion of a “Good Will Tour.” The Georgetown Hoyas Basketball Team and the Bayi Military Rockets played an exhibition yesterday and a WWE cage-match broke out.
Check out the photo gallery at Yahoo… and then fast-scroll down to the video…
Mex Carey, Georgetown’s sports information director, told ESPN.com that the game was “very physical,” with 57 free throws taken by Bayi to just 15 for Georgetown, and quickly spun out of control.
According to the Washington Post, coach John Thompson III pulled his team off the court with the score tied at 64 midway through the fourth quarter after the teams exchanged punches. One Hoyas player, Henry Sims, was reportedly hit by a chair.
The Hoyas dodged water bottles and other objects thrown from the stands as they made their way to the locker room. Carey said one Georgetown fan in attendance was knocked to the ground after being hit by a bottle.
“Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams,” Thompson said in a statement. “We sincerely regret that this situation occurred.
Georgetown and the Rockets are scheduled to play again Sunday night in Shanghai. The goodwill games coincide with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the country.
The melee was the latest instance of on-court fighting by China, whose players have been fined tens of thousands of dollars by the world and Asian federations for scrapping with opponents.
Georgetown is in China on a 10-day trip which has been cited by the U.S. State Department as an example of sports diplomacy that strengthens ties between the two countries. The Hoyas were briefed by the State Department ahead of their departure on what to expect during its trip to Beijing and Shanghai, according to news releases on the university’s website.
Be sure to head over to Georgetown University’s website for a video that I’m fairly certain won’t stay up much longer. There’s no direct link or embed, but look for the “Connecting Globally” tab. There’s a video there from the President titled, “China Trip Historic Chance for Engagement.”
“Engagement.” I like that. I’ll be sure to use that next time I hit someone with a folding chair or kick someone in the sternum.
The brawl occurred one night after Vice President Biden, who is in Beijing on a four-day visit to discuss U.S.-Chinese economic relations, attended a Georgetown game against another Chinese club at the Olympic Sports Center. That game, which was won by Georgetown, passed without incident.
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.