Melee at Jackie Robinson Stadium

Inglewood Blackhawks vs. California Tide

By Craig Robbins

August 3, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) — In what seemed to be all the makings of a great, competitive battle in semi-pro football, everything became a complete wash due to some harsh, unforeseen actions. On Saturday, looking to extend its winning streak to 43 games, the Inglewood Blackhawks took on the highly regarded California Tide.

Picking things up in the second half, the Tide opened up with an odd 6-5 lead, and the grumblings of a potential upset was on the minds of all spectators. Ironically, the tides turned, and the Blackhawks, being as battle tested as it is, turned a one-point deficit into a 21-6 lead. Defensive leader Roy Otis made his presence felt on special teams, capitalizing on a turnover, which resulted into a Touchdown, and Wide Receiver Tony Parham made a spectacular touchdown catch, after the ball deflected off of a Tide defender.

With just under ten minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the tide driving the ball into Blackhawk territory, Tide quarterback Kyle Parrish rolled right and unfortunately threw an interception to Blackhawks defensive lineman, B.J. Johnson. The interception would be the last play of the game and the beginning of a complete nightmare for minor league football.

Many sports fans can recall the infamous “malice in the palace,” involving, then, former Indiana Pacers forward Metta World Peace (also known as Ron Artest), in which an on- court fight spilled into the stands, resulting in fans being on the wrong end of punches from NBA players.  Immediately after the interception, a scrum broke out involving the Tide’s Kyle Parrish and Inglewood Blackhawks linebacker Leon Friend. As emotions heightened  and things began to get even more chippy, initial peacemakers turned into participants in what would be an on-field melee.

With benches clearing on both sides, one of the most gruesome acts witnessed was the swinging of helmets by players in an attempt to protect themselves. The fiasco lasted well over 15 minutes, with battles within the actual ruckus taking place all over the north side of the field.

Standout defensive back Eddie Hunter was seen knocked unconscious from an alleged helmet to the head.  There’s a standard warning sign on the back of football helmets, stating the proper and improper uses of football helmets, and using it in an act of malice by swinging it at one’s head could result in some type of legal action.  At a venue where some of southern california’s most supreme athletes have performed, from Pop Warner, high school, and even semi-pro, Saturday’s actions have given it a bit of a black eye.  In the fifteen-plus minutes of the brawl, there was no sniff of a police presence.

The Inglewood Blackhawks extended  its winning streak to 43 games, with a 21-6 victory over the California Tide. The bigger story is, what’s to come after this unfortunate incident? Will suspensions be handed down, fines, due to the actions of members of both teams. Wins and losses, even generating revenue is important, but will that be placed on the back burner in an attempt to clear this recent blemish?

Semi-professional football has been negatively perceived by outsiders, with many coaches on the professional level refusing to seriously take a look at some of its players. As time goes on, we will see what type of action takes place and how this particular brand of football can bounce back from turmoil.

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