As lightning flashed in the sky, Friday night’s season opener for both East and Jordan was suspended for more than an hour at halftime, with the Leopards holding a 21-7 lead.
And as the teams went to their respective locker rooms, an altercation broke out between a player and a fan.
A Jordan player became engaged with a heckling East fan, and the altercation resulted in a police presence being called to the scene. No arrests were made after an initial investigation, and no charges are expected to be filed, sources told The Tribune.
The Jordan player in question was allowed to play in the second half when the game resumed, but the school is expected to investigate the matter further, Jordan High athletics director Brandon Watts said. The school declined to name of the player because of the impending investigation.
Beetdiggers coach Kaleo Teriipaia said several witnesses told him the fan was the verbal aggressor in the altercation, going so far as to poke fun at a Jordan assistant coach who has a disability and walks with the aid of two canes. The unnamed player is the son of the coach who was being mocked.
“I found out about it last minute,” Teriipaia told The Tribune. “[The East fan] was making fun of my handicapped coach. My kid pushed him and got heated, and I guess everyone started grabbing each other and pulling each other away. I don’t condone anyone teasing the handicapped. My coach is dear to my heart, so he’s a guy that I would stick up for.”
The altercation occurred outside of Jordan’s locker room as the Beetdiggers were meeting at halftime. Much of the crowd was leaving at that point, as the game was undergoing its initial delay and fans were told to leave the stadium and seek shelter.
In the moments following the altercation, the fan was asked what happened and told The Tribune that he was “talking s---“ to the Jordan player, as he and a few others were walking out of the stadium. The police were called, and they arrived and took a report. The fan is not believed to have returned to the game.
The Jordan administration said it had few facts, which is why the player was allowed to play during the second half. Teriipaia said he would talk to his player and the rest of his team in the coming days about the altercation.
“There’s always consequences to our actions and I always teach my kids that there’s consequences to their actions,” Teriipaia said. “We have a bye next week and it’s probably going to be one of the hardest weeks of my team’s career. Once I find out the truth, we will go from there.”
East won the game, 38-21.