Norman North (Okla.) H.S. and Jacksonville’s Arlington Country Day H.S. threw heads on Thursday in the consolation game of the Tate Aggie Classic in Pensacola, Fla. The contest was declared a double-forfeit after a massive brawl with alleged racial overtones erupted in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Arlington coach Ron Dickerson told the Pensacola News-Journal that he asked the umpires to address racial slurs earlier in the game. Dickerson claimed the taunts were targeted at his players, many of whom are of Dominican heritage. When the umps warned the Norman bench in the fourth inning, Dickerson claimed someone from the opposing bench said “‘Whiny. Whiny. You’re too big of a black guy to whine like that.’ “
Two innings later, Norman’s D.J. Gasso attempted to score from third base after Arlington pitcher Jonathan Rodriguez threw a wild pitch. Arlington catcher Brian Navarreto tossed the ball back to Rodriguez, who slapped a late tag on Gasso even though the runner had easily beaten the play. After the home plate umpire ejected Rodriguez for the emphatic tag, Navarreto punched Gasso in the face, which caused both benches to empty and more punches to be thrown.
“The racism has to stop. This can’t keep going on. The game is baseball, not these antics. In the fourth inning, I would have pulled my team if I had known it was going to end like this, ” Dickerson said afterward. “People saying ‘Spics’ and ‘Spic lovers’ … that’s not a good situation. That doesn’t belong in the game of baseball, and neither does how this particular game ended.”
Norman North coach Brian Aylor said his player was attacked and defended himself.
“When the play at the plate occurred, and their guy threw the punch and hits our guy, then our guy has the responsibility to defend himself, and it just goes from there.”