A Man Called The Cops After Someone Fouled Him During A Basketball Game

"Everyone was just looking around confused," one witness said. "I personally thought he was joking, trying to take a joke too far."

During a game of pickup basketball at a Virginia gym on Monday night, a player called authorities after he was knocked to the ground.

Another player posted a photo of officers talking with the men under his username @_togs (he declined to give his full name to be published), which quickly went viral.

The 911 basketball call comes after a spate of recent high-profile stories of white people calling the police on black people doing ordinary things, such as barbecuing, delivering papers, and using a community pool.

Today for the first time in my life...I experienced someone call the police because they got fouled hard in basketball. https://t.co/9E8lp9fmwP

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it was called to the LA Fitness gym in Sterling at 6:42 p.m. after reports that one player had assaulted another.

The two players, whose full names are not publicly known, "admitted that they 'fouled' each other while playing basketball," according to dispatch notes written by Officer Josiah Kennedy, who responded to the call.

"Neither wanted a report after I offered. Management gave subj[ects] one more chance to keep the game civil. If not they will both be removed from the gym for the day," the report added.

Marcellus Bowie, 27, the founder of a sports statistic business, was waiting for his turn to play when he saw the minor confrontation between the two men.

He said after a previous minor tussle between the two, which resulted in a foul against Player 2, Player 1 missed a layup and then aggressively ran through a screen (when another player is trying to block them with their body without fouling), knocking Player 2 to the ground.

"His hand kind of hit him in the face. I don't think he meant to hit him; he kind of inadvertently pushed him down," Bowie said. "The guy gets up and goes, 'I'm calling the police.' Everyone was just looking around confused. He stormed out. I personally thought he was joking, trying to take a joke too far."

In a 911 recording provided to BuzzFeed News, a front desk worker at LA Fitness made the call.

"A member got assaulted," the desk clerk says during the 911 call, with the player who made the allegation audible in the background. "It happened in the basketball court."

In body camera footage released from the sheriff's office, Kennedy asks the man if he wanted to press charges "or is this just some heated basketball shit."

The man tells the officer, "No, because I don't want retaliation."

Loudoun County Sheriff's Office

"My job is to press charges against people who commit crimes," Kennedy says.

The two men eventually decline to file a police report, the video shows, and head back to the basketball court.

An employee at the LA Fitness told BuzzFeed News the gym had no comment about the incident.

But BuzzFeed News spoke with other basketball players and witnesses who expressed shock that a player had called police over a pickup game.

"In basketball history, that’s never, ever happened," said Thomas Mulabah, 28, who works in sales and posted video of the incident on his Instagram account, a screen-recording of which quickly went viral.

"Are you calling the cops if you get fouled?" asks Mulabah in the video to other players.

Police are then seen talking with the two players involved. And Mulabah asks an officer, "Have you ever been called for a basketball foul before?"

"No," the officer replies. "That's my first basketball felony."


"We were just all confused. Utterly confused. I'm still confused," said the user known as @_togs. "I don't know why or what he thought the cops would do. It wasn't like he punched him in the face or threw him to the ground, it was just a basketball play."

Mulabah said Player 2, who called police, told him that he wanted Player 1 kicked out of the gym for the day as punishment.

"He told me he'd rather call the police and have restraint rather than retaliate and play [aggressively]," Mulabah said.

None of the three witnesses, all of whom are black, believed it to be a racially motivated incident, noting that they don't believe the person who made the complaint was white (the person the complaint was made about is black).

Instead, Mulabah pointed out that Loudoun County is a wealthy region.

"You see a lot of privilege and it’s not necessarily white privilege. People feel a little more entitled when they live in certain areas and use law enforcement in different ways than people normally would," he said.

However, he noted that Player 2 should be aware of the possible consequences of calling police, particularly on black men.

"In this day and age, you want to avoid interactions with police," Mulabah said, adding that he appreciated how the officer who responded was relaxed and calm.

Bowie said he shared the photos and videos on social media specifically to draw attention to the ridiculousness of it all.

"It was really more of a thing of 'We can't believe you did this, we can't let this happen again. The game is going to stop! If we make fun of you, hopefully you won't do it anymore,'" he said.

Stephanie Baer contributed additional reporting.