JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a weekend brawl between parents of young players on two football teams that may have been triggered by racial slurs. It happened last Saturday afternoon at Schafer Park at Kipling Parkway and Highway 285 at a football game for 8-year-olds.
One team was from southwest Denver and involved minorities. The other team was from the suburbs and predominately white. One Black player was injured. Witnesses said racial slurs were yelled to get him off the field. In an email, a parent of a child on the Arvada team disputed that racial slurs were used at the time, but did acknowledge that a mother shouted at the Denver coach to “quit complaining to the refs and pay attention to your hurt (expletive) kid.”
A fight then broke out between parents of players on the two teams with well over a dozen involved in the brawl. One video shows one person swinging a fist at another. Other clips show people trying to push people apart. A man who spoke with CBS4’s Rick Sallinger under a condition of not using his face or name was among those there. He said is concerned about retaliation.
“I know some of the racial terms were the ‘N-word’ I know there was some disrespecting of the Chicanos.”
He said heard two derogatory terms for Latinos being shouted.
Mike Taplin, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said, “Parents were agitated with each other. Racial slurs were used.”
He added that deputies were called into break up the fighting.
During the melee a pregnant woman and a girl associated with the Denver team ended up on the bottom of a pile and had to be transported to a hospital. They were reported to be okay with the baby apparently not affected. The Arvada team parent who contacted CBS4 said that a female parent from their side was struck by women from the Denver team side and hit in the head with a rock, requiring stitches. The woman may also have suffered a possible fractured knee.
If all this sounds familiar, it should. Just about a year ago there was a similar incident in Jefferson County involving youth baseball. In Lakewood, a fight broke out in 2019 not involving race but rather an umpire’s call at a game involving 7-year-olds. A total of 12 people were cited for disorderly conduct.
“As adults and coaches and family members, we’re supposed to be role models for these kids. They should be setting a better example,” Taplin reflected on last Saturday’s incident.
The man at last weekend’s game who asked that his identity not be revealed said, “I think with all that’s going on in our world today with all the racial things. I think that was very uncalled for.”
The youth football game was halted due to the fight. It was for the championship in a non-league tournament.
The Jeffco Youth Football Association did not oversee the tournament, but issued the following statement:
“We were made aware of the incident that took place last Saturday at Schafer park in Lakewood involving some of our teams from this past season. This event was not part of JYFA but was an outside tournament taking place after the conclusion of our season. We absolutely condemn the actions of those who took part in the off field incident. There is no place for that kind of despicable behavior anywhere, particularly in youth sports. Pending the results of the police investigation we will take the appropriate action to ensure the individuals involved are not ever welcome back in our league.”
Investigators are now going through eight hours of videos to decide who, if anyone, should face charges.