It was the battle of a founding father (James Madison) vs a late president (FDR) it what was billed as one of the biggest soccer games of the season in the Brooklyn A West division. When the hard-fought 3-2 game was over, the two team met at the center of the field for the traditional post-game handshake and guess what happened? Yes, fighting broke out and before you could say “Yo!” fans were pouring out of the stands to join in the fun.
Once again we have to ask: isn’t it time to forget this tradition and just let the losers go home to lick their wounds and come back to play another day? Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for sportsmanship, it just seems that these kinds of incidents seem to be happening more frequently, so someone is obviously getting the wrong message about what the point of it is.
The postgame handshake lines quickly turned into an all-out brawl following the James Madison-Franklin D. Roosevelt Brooklyn A West boys soccer game.
The teams lined up for what is usually a display of sportsmanship after the host Cougars’ physical and emotional, 3-2 victory over the two-time defending division champion Knights at the Parade Grounds in Park Slope.
As the FDR players made their way down the line in front of the Madison bench, two pairs of players from opposing teams separated from the lines and exchanged punches. With no police or NYPD school safety officers present, numerous fans and spectators began spilling on the field, causing a wild scene.
“Grown men came over the gate and started punching us,” Madison coach Nick Punzone said. “They were not kids. Three guys were on one player and they were men. They weren’t kids. They were men and they were throwing haymakers. We had parents saying that they looked drunk. That cannot happen at a PSAL game. This is not a safe situation.”
Knights senior Yauhen Malko said he had to run away from three men who were chasing after him. His teammates and coaches were unable find him for at least 15 to 20 minutes after the incident occurred. Five Madison players later filed police reports because of minor physical injuries they suffered.
“I don’t teach my players to be dirty,” Punzone said. “We don’t go after anybody. There is control. You can’t have chaos like that.”