August 20, 2010
There's no real good way to get into this video, so here's a minute-and-a-half clip of the national teams for Serbia and Greece getting into a massive brawl during a recent "friendly" match. In just 88 seconds you'll see several punches, several kicks and one chair toss, courtesy of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Nenad Krstic(notes). It's crazy.
Some "friendly," eh?
For his part in the brawl — you know, the chair-tossing and head-punching — Krstic was detained by police overnight, and has since been released. According to the Associated Press, Greece's "sports violence squad" is examining the footage and deciding whether or not to press charges. I'm no expert in international sporting events, but I'd surmise that having to have a "sports violence squad" means things are a bit nutty.
Naturally, the Serbian coach is playing the old "half-naked Greek" card in Krstic's defense.
[Serbian coach Dustin Ivkovic] said Krstic did not want to hurt Bouroussis with the chair.
"I believe he acted in self-defense and grabbed a chair after some half-naked (Greek) fans rushed into the court," Ivkovic said. "The chair fell from his hand and grazed Bouroussis."
Classic legal defense, really. Blaming half-naked Greeks has been going on for centuries, dating back to, at least, the Battle of Thermopylae. I like Nenad's chances, despite clear video evidence of him picking up a chair and throwing it at a crowd of people.
For his part, Krstic is hoping to avoid any trouble for his minor role in this brawl.
"I don't know the rules, but I hope I won't be punished," he said. "An (act of) stupidity was committed, and I hope they will not punish us. The Greeks started the brawl, there were no guards and the (Greek) fans entered the court ... If they punish me, they must do it to others as well."
To be fair, rules for tossing chairs at opposing teams aren't usually spelled out in a league's bylaws. However, most leagues are usually pretty cut-and-dry about those kind of situations. It might not be fair, but hurtling metal objects at opponents is usually frowned upon.
Of course, this couldn't have come at a worse time for these teams. Surely there will be suspensions on both sides, and those will be handed down just before the start of the FIBA World Championships that begin next week. Losing world-class players just before a huge tournament is never good, but when you're in chair-chucking mode, you don't really consider the consequences, you know?