Things got ugly at a T-ball championship game in Eastern Kentucky Monday when parents and coaches got into a fight, and now some involved could face criminal charges.
Video of the incident shared on Facebook shows more than a dozen adults on the baseball field, some of whom were shouting obscenities at each other.
“It’s really sad these kids that played hard all season and put their hearts on that field didn’t get to finish their championship game because ‘adults’ wanted to act like this,” Destani Renaye Knox wrote in a Facebook post, which included a video of the altercation.
Another video of the incident shared in a Facebook comment appeared to show one man throw his hat on the ground while in an argument with several others before another man rushed in, shoved people and took his shirt off.
Hours after the altercation on the field, the dispute continued on social media with people, including coaches, arguing over who was to blame and posting additional videos.
“I never touched anyone,” Jimmy Smith, one of the team’s coaches who appeared to be involved in the dispute, said in a Facebook post. “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?”
The coach of the other team, Steve Randall, tagged Smith in a Facebook post and said they both needed to make things right. Randall also appeared to be involved in the altercation.
“You call me tomorrow and let’s schedule a time we can have both teams at the field and hand them their deserved trophy,” Randall said in the Facebook post to Smith. “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.”
Randall hadn’t heard from Smith yet as of noon Tuesday, he told the Herald-Leader.
“It needs to be made right for the kids,” he said.
Smith posted about the altercation later Tuesday afternoon, apologizing for his involvement in the dispute.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions, and it doesn’t represent the love that I have for coaching the kids in our community,” he said.
Smith congratulated his players and, like Randall, said he wanted to honor both teams.
“I hope there can be an award ceremony for both teams,” he said. “I’m done with all the negative comments. 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.”
Stanton police called the incident a “dispute between adults” and said investigators were “working on understanding the events that led to this incident.”
Stanton police Sgt. Ian Morton told the Herald-Leader Tuesday that police are still speaking to witnesses and taking statements. “It’s possible” that people involved in the altercation could be prosecuted.
“We’re going to speak to everybody that we can, and if the (Powell) county attorney recommends charges, that’s what we’ll do,” he said.
Morton said it would be up to Stanton Parks and Recreation to determine administrative penalties after the fight at a public park. The parks and recreation department posted on social media Monday night to acknowledge it was investigating the fight.
“Children’s sports leagues are meant to be fun activities where children can feel safe while learning a sport... but more importantly learn good sportsmanship,” the parks and recreation department said in a Facebook post. “The display tonight was anything but that.”
Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call the Powell County dispatch center at 606-663-4116 or send the Stanton Police Department a message on Facebook.
Stanton Parks and Recreation asked people to share videos from the altercation if they had any available. Officials said they would use the videos to “help determine our disciplinary actions.”