Incident with fan shakes up Todd Beamer basketball’s tournament hopes

Todd Beamer High School’s boys basketball team was eliminated from the state basketball tournament competition with a loss against Mountain View High School on Saturday, Feb. 18. But the day before, Beamer’s game ended in controversy.

Midway through the fourth quarter in a game against Stadium High School, an opposing fan verbally harassed a Todd Beamer player. The fan was repeating profanities at a Titan junior, even walking toward the player while he was on the court, according to video footage from the game. The fan could also be seen talking to the player while the player was inbounding the basketball and running down the court, footage shows.

The two then got in a yelling match. What ensued was a rush to pull the Titan player away and stop any escalating conflict. There were multiple video angles and photos of the incident. It resulted in players from both teams getting ejected from the game and receiving suspensions.

Stadium advanced to the state tournament with a win over the Titans, due to the fact that the Titans could not field enough players with the ejections.

The suspensions were announced at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the Titans were leaving to their winner-to-state game at 2:30 p.m. A total of seven players were suspended from Todd Beamer’s roster, but under review, the WIAA rescinded two players but added another. So the total came to six players suspended for Beamer, and three players for Stadium.

As a result of this, Todd Beamer headed to Vancouver, Wash., the following day with just six eligible players for their win-or-go-home season finale. Beamer lost to Vancouver’s Mountain View High School, 61-55.

On Tuesday morning, Feb. 21, the WIAA was set to hear the Stadium players’ case when it was announced that the hearing was canceled and the Stadium Tiger players who faced suspensions no longer had to serve them. On the other hand, Todd Beamer’s players were given suspensions and never had a chance to appeal them. This hampered the team’s ability to play at full strength.

Todd Beamer’s season is over after their two losses in the district tournament. With a state tournament within reach, this would have been the Titans’ first state appearance since 2014.

“Federal Way Public Schools holds our athletes and spectators to high standards and expect them to abide by the highest levels of sportsmanship and follow all WIAA rules,” according to a statement to the Mirror from Federal Way Public Schools. “The behavior of the adult spectator from the opposing team who instigated the situation is not tolerated at our games. In addition to advocating for the suspension to be overturned, we are filing a complaint with WIAA around discrimination and harassment following their WIAA defined processes to address the impact of this adult’s behavior toward our students.”