How Australian Basketball Is Reacting To That All-In Brawl
"This guy needs to be arrested": the Australian basketball community reacts to the Boomers v Philippines brawl.
UPDATE: Thon Maker has released a statement taking responsibility for his role in the brawl and expressing his deep disappointment in the entire fiasco.
"I am deeply disappointed in the actions displayed during yesterday's game against the Philippines," the NBA player tweeted on Thursday.
"Being from a war-torn country, basketball for me has always been a means to bring people together. I feel a great responsibility as an NBA player to carry myself in a way that promotes peace and unity.
"My hope is that this experience provides a springboard for discussion regarding security surrounding these games. I take responsibility for my actions knowing that they were a result of my desire to protect my teammates and myself."
The wider Australian basketball community has condemned an all-out brawl between the Boomers and the Philippines in a World Cup qualifier, which saw a total of 13 players ejected from the match.
Former NBA star Andrew Bogut described the brawl as "disgusting" in a furious Twitter rant, while Brisbane Bullets player Adam Gibson called the Philippines basketball team "a joke".
The brawl, which was apparently started when Boomer Daniel Kickert elbowed Filipino player Roger Pogoy in retaliation for a number of fouls against the Australian team, saw both teams and a number of non-players get involved, throwing kicks, punches, and at one point, even a chair.
Fox Sports writer Olgun Uluc tweeted that even officials got involved in the brawl.
A photo captured by SPIN showed Aussie Boomer Nathan Sobey copping a punch to the face by a non-player.
Retired Boomer Chris Anstey tweeted that the person throwing the punch "needs to be arrested", a sentiment shared by many.
At one point, Boomer Chris Goulding was set upon by a group of players and fans.
"Hours later and my blood is still boiling," wrote team lawyer Daniel Moldovan on Twitter. "My client did not commit a single act of aggression throughout the entire game and here he is on the bottom of a pile, taking over 20 punches to the head, being stomped on, kicked and held by both players and staff."
One of the most criticised moments was a team selfie the Philippines side took after the brawl.
Afterwards, FOX Sports Commentators Shane Heal and Matt Russell turned to each other and asked "what the fuck just happened?"
"These are sad, disgraceful, deplorable scenes in the Philippines," said Russell after the brawl. "I have never seen anything like this in all my years covering professional sport involving Australian teams."
Fans and sports commentators alike condemned the "disgraceful" brawl online, calling for bans for the offending players.
Some Filipino basketball fans are also condemning the brawl as "shameful" and "the lowest we could go".
Basketball Australia confirmed that all players "are safe and well" following the brawl, with chief executive Anthony Moore apologising for Australia's part in it.
"Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight’s match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila. We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it," said Moore in a statement.
“This is not the spirit in which sport should be played and certainly not in the spirit in which we aim to play basketball.
"We apologise to our fans and will await the penalties to be handed down.”
Members of the Philippines team are less contrite, with the Filipino guard tweeting that he doesn't "give a fuck" and that "if we're embarrassing in your eyes, why don't you become an Australian."
According to Fox Sports, that translates roughly to: “To my fellow Filipino players who say we’re embarrassing. I don’t give a fuck. Us teammates inside have to help. We can’t let them be on their own. If we’re embarrassing in your eyes why don’t you become an Australian."
Filipino coach Chot Rayes also later told reporters that the brawl was instigated by Kickert "hitting our players during the warm-ups."
"Unfortunately, that triggered the entire brawl, and unfortunate as it is, like I said, it's something that you have to be there to know what really went down."
Head coach Jon Uichico publicly apologised for his actions, but Moldovan called for him to be fired.
"Tonight, my emotions got the better of me like a father who cares about his sons," he tweeted. "That does not excuse my actions and I apologise to everyone as in hindsight I should have not gotten involved. This is a painful but maybe necessary lesson for me."
FIBA is now conducting disciplinary proceedings against both teams and will hand down its decisions in the next few days.