Why things escalated between players from Georgia and Turkey into an off-the-court fight depends on who you ask.
Everyone agrees it started on the court when the 76ers Furkan Korkmaz and Georgia’s Duda Sanadze were ejected after an altercation.
Furkan Korkmaz getting into it with Georgia's Duda Sanadze
Fans started throwing cups onto the court 😳
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 4, 2022
The fight didn’t end there, it continued in the hallway near the locker room when Sanadze and several Georgian players, as well as Georgian security officers, attacked Korkmaz as he tried to get back to the locker room (Georgia is hosting Group A games).
Korkmaz explained his version of what happened, as reported by BasketNews.com.
“You saw a little part of what happened on the court… We got into each other face to face, and he started talking s*** to me. I’m not gonna let anyone talk s*** to my face…
“When I was talking to the tunnel, our conditioning guy was with me. As soon as we walked out of the tunnel and were trying to reach the locker room, I saw three Georgian players alongside two security guys running at us. We started throwing punches at each other. That’s basically what happened. It was like a street fight. There was no talk or conversation. People just came at us and were trying to attack us. Of course, we reacted and tried to defend ourselves — exactly what we are going to do as men. I also think it’s a security problem. But I don’t know if it’s a security problem or if they just showed tolerance to their players.
“We understand that they’re at home, but this is unacceptable. What happens on the court is fine, but we should talk more about what happens off the court.”
Georgia’s Tornike Shengelia — one of the other players involved in the attack — gave his perspective of what happened in an Instagram post via the Georgian Basketball Federation.
“On one hand, we could have reacted differently and not have let our emotions get the best of us. We should have done a better job not reacting to the provocation. We reacted as human beings, as men, and demonstrated our reaction.
On the other hand, when the conflict starts on the court, it should always stay there. You should not ask other teams’ players in front of their friends, family, and thousands of fans to go to the tunnel and continue the fight there.
Not only that, but when we were on our way to the locker room, the provocations continued from the other side of the tunnel. We were called every kind of names and asked with hand gestures to go there and fight. Also, the declarations that have been made to the media from the Turkish side, have painted a very different picture, which created aggression from Turkish fans towards us and our families. Aggression which includes very disturbing messages and death threats.”
There are a lot of serious accusations, macho posturing and violent actions here. FIBA is investigating the incident, although how much faith should be put in that effort depends on how much you trust FIBA as an impartial judge.
There were no injuries, and so far there have been no fines or suspensions for the incident.