A youth football league has banned two of its Southern California teams after the players’ parents began to brawl while watching a game, one of the coaches told NBC 7 Wednesday.
Startling cellphone video shows how an adult’s heckling escalated to a huge fight during a Sept. 26 game at Otay Ranch High School. That night, the Otay Ranch Broncos were taking on the Inland Empire Ducks in the San Diego Youth Football & Cheer's (SDYFC) 14-and-under league.
On Wednesday morning, SDYFC Commissoner Cathy Luna sent an email to Broncos and Ducks leaders, informing them that their U14 teams were expelled for the rest of the season, according to Ducks Coach Keefe Pierson.
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"It has nothing to do with the kids,” said Pierson. “The kids should still be able to play football. That's what it comes down to. We can't control parents. They're adults."
Otay Ranch Broncos players and supporters rallied Wednesday in Chula Vista to protest the SDYFC’s decision. For many of the teens, this will be the last year playing before high school.
“We have launched a lawsuit, a civil lawsuit, into this commission and Cathy Luna,” said Rev. Shane Harris, the president of the National Action Network.
Saturday’s brawl started after game organizers asked fans from each team to sit on separate sides of the field. According to Pierson, one man refused to sit on his team’s side. Instead, he began yelling at the players.
He later directed shouts at another adult in the stands, the cellphone video shows, and their insults became punches. As more and more people piled on, many left bleeding from various injuries.
“When they started fighting, we went to where we’re supposed to be, in the endzone,” said player Hasan Johnson. “I don’t understand why we are being punished for something some of our parents did.”
Chula Vista police were called to the scene, but no arrests were made and no one was taken to the hospital.
NBC 7 has reached out to the SDYFC about this story, but have not heard back.