A knock-down, drag-out battle royale between more than a dozen parents and coaches at a kids’ Little League game could result in criminal charges against some of those involved, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Video of the brawl in Stanton, Kentucky posted to Facebook showed at least 12 adults involved, many of them shouting obscenities.
Children on the teams, ranging from 5 to 7 years old, were said to be left in tears after the violent melee derailed a planned trophy and medal ceremony.
“Its [sic] really sad these kids that played hard all season and put their hearts on that field didnt get to finish their championship game because ‘adults’ wanted to act like this..... at a T-ball game....... I can’t even.....,” wrote Destani Renaye Knox, who said her daughter had been participating in the game. Umps called the game after the fight broke out, according to local CBS affiliate WKYT. A transcript of a 911 call described people “getting pretty wild at the T-ball field,” and having a fistfight in the middle of the diamond. “[W]e have them separated now, but they might do it in the parking lot again,” said the caller, asking the dispatcher to send cops immediately.
The chaos was reportedly sparked by a dispute over a call. The video shows some parents in the stands desperately trying to stop the chaos as the field is overrun with cursing, brawling parents yelling things like “piece of shit” and “sorry ass excuse” between punches. The shaken parent who filmed the fracas can be heard at one point exclaiming, “This is a fucking kids’ game! Where’s my fucking kid?”
Coach Jimmy Smith later took to Facebook to defend himself, writing, “If you’re gonna post videos and call me a POS Coach, why don’t you show the whole video or tell the entire story! I never touched anyone. Yes, I was upset over a bad call, but I would never fistfight anyone in front of kids! I will stand up for my team 10/10 times, and you tell me one coach who wouldn’t?!?!... So I guess the other team didn’t like me disputing the call and their coach threw his hat at another coach on my team, and then he got in my face! So get your facts straight!!!”
Smith, whose Facebook profile says he is a former U.S. Army infantryman, then directed his ire at “another post about me only being worried about winning a plastic trophy.” “[W]ell, I could care less about a $5 piece of plastic so take your post, comments, and agenda fitting videos elsewhere! You will not ruin my love for coaching these kids!!!”
In response, opposing coach Steve Randall posted: “Jimmy Smith, you wanna make this right? At this point all I care about is getting these kids what they deserve. You call me tomorrow and let’s schedule a time we can have both teams at the field and hand them their deserved trophy. What you did was wrong, what I did was wrong and it was a disservice to the kids. We name the Rangers and Reds co-champions and be done with it.”
Smith later apologized in a statement he posted online.
“I'm done with all the negative comments,” he wrote. “I’m not going through comments or any tags. I’m man enough to admit I made a mistake last night and share half the blame, and I will gladly shake hands and squash this whole ordeal.”
Randall and Smith did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The local police department said it was aware of “a dispute between adults that took place during the Little League Championship game tonight,” and that it is “currently investigating the incident and… working on understanding the events that led to this incident.”
It is not entirely uncommon for arguments between parents and coaches to erupt in violence. In 2019, Colorado Springs police cited five parents, aged 24 to 55, for disorderly conduct and fighting in public after a fight broke out over a call made by a 13-year-old umpire officiating a baseball game between 7-year-olds at Westgate Elementary School. A group of parents upset with officials at a basketball game between teenage girls this spring devolved into a physical altercation that left one parent bloody and an entire team banned from competition. In one extreme case, a Massachusetts father was beaten unconscious over alleged rough play at a youth hockey game. He died the next day.