Fight sacks season for Rome Colts tackle football team

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A fight between spectators at a Rome Colts Pop Warner football game on Sunday is under investigation by law enforcement.
 
As a result of the fight, tackle football has been suspended in Rome for the rest of the season, according to Tri-Valley Pop Warner officials.
 
Football has also been suspended in Oneida and Utica for “spectator actions” at their games the previous weekend, according to the Tri-Valley Pop Warner officials, who issued a lengthy rebuke of such activities via social media.
 
‘Started with one parent’
According to Rome Police spokesperson Sharon Rood, “It started with one parent who took his grievances to the field” during a game on Sunday at the Rome Pop Warner field at the end of Bell Road.
 
Rood said more spectators became involved and “it did turn into a minor physical altercation.”
No arrests have been made so far, Rood stated.
 
The incident remains under investigation with interviews still being conducted, she said on Wednesday.
A video of the fight spread on Facebook and other social media, showing a fracas between several adults in the spectator area.
 
League officials take action
Alan Baird, president of the Tri-Valley Pop Warner, said league officials and referees held a meeting on Tuesday and decided that the “spectator actions” at the Rome game will result in the Colts no longer being allowed to participate in tackle football for the remainder of the 2021 season.
 
Baird also said similar “spectator actions” at games in Oneida and Utica on Sept. 12 will also result in Oneida and Utica Pop Warner teams no longer being allowed to participate in tackle football for the season.
 
Baird said flag football and cheerleader activities for Rome, Oneida and Utica may still continue.
 
The regional and national Pop Warner offices have been informed of the situation, Baird stated, adding that Tri-Valley and the Mohawk Valley Chapter of Certified Football Officials will meet in the spring to reassess the decision to suspend tackle football.
 
Board makes statement
In addition to its posting, the Tri-Valley Board of Directors released a lengthy statement in response to the fights: “This past weekend a few of our games experienced some unfortunate behavior from some of our spectators. As Tri-Valley representatives we have a real concern that this behavior is escalating,” the Board stated.
 
“We are taking these incidents very seriously. Unfortunately, a few bad apples spoil it for everyone else. We as adults and representatives of our associations and organizations need to stop the finger pointing and coming up with excuses for bad behavior. A few examples heard this weekend: ‘Oh they have anger issues,’ ‘they are passionate about the game’ or ‘they had a bad day.’ The list goes on but none of these are acceptable, there are no excuses,” the statement said, adding that “There will be consequences for some of the behavior witnessed.”
 
Players make a plea
A group of players and parents from the Rome league gathered outside Rome City Hall Thursday.
 
Rodney Harris, an assistant coach, said the gathering was held to "get these boys' lives back." They players, he noted, "had no idea this was going on." They just want the games back because, he said, "football was their safey spot."
 
Ashley Harvey, a team trainer, said they were at City Hall "just to have the kids heard" and "advocate for themselves." Ricky Fernandez, an assistant coach, said the players were there to be heard by "anybody with open ears," and just hoping the league changes course.
 
The Rome league played two games with six games left and two playoff games to play before the cancellation.

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