5 of the Most Insane Sports Ejections of All Time
Since publicly cheered beheadings and mortal combat are outlawed everywhere except bad action movies these days, if you’re looking for a testosterone-filled battle of physicality, sports is where you look. Whether it’s the genuine fisticuffs and blood-spatter of UFC, or the dubiously safer NFL, professional sports are a clash of peak physical specimens operating at their top capacity to dominate the other.
With all that pure, toxically macho energy coursing through the air, of course sometimes competition spills outside of the agreed ruleset into some decidedly, as color commentators like to call it, “extracurricular activity.”
This is why fouls exist, of course. Otherwise, the full body tackle would be the premier defensive maneuver in every sport, not just football. And without fouls, soccer might actually be watchable. The horror! When fouls aren’t enough to dissuade unsavory activity, however, the officials in charge have to pull out their most powerful tool: the ejection. Sure, ejections are “bad,” but they’re also undeniably exciting. I mean, a red card, the iconic arm gesture of a furious umpire, it gets the blood going. Even better are ejections resulting from something so strange or unexpected that even the uninterested lying on the couch next to engaged fans look up from their phone to say, “Are you allowed to do that?”
Here, then, are five of the most outrageous ejections in sports history…
Too Much Spanking
The butt slap is a central piece of the physical communication of athletes. A brisk bop to the bottom conveys untold emotion from one physically imposing man to another. However, apparently even this form of jovial, non-penetrative buttplay can send a ref over the edge. Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns and Reggie Evans of the Toronto Raptors crossed this previously unknown line and were removed from the game for it.
The two were engaging in some spirited and chippy banter, that’s for sure, but apparently a joking tuchus touch was simply too much for the referee. First of all, let’s clarify that this was a PRESEASON game. It was basically a public scrimmage, and yet, for some reason this ref was at DEFCON 1 — maybe jealous that no one was paying attention to his bottom and the stick stuck squarely up it. After a foul, Evans gave Hill a cheeky (literally) tap, which Hill returned, resulting in the ref, apparently fearing an all-out brawl that would leave no cheeks unclapped, ejecting them both. The player’s reaction of walking off the court together, high-fiving and laughing, didn’t exactly make it look like a crisis averted, though.
Too Many Backflips
Our next insane ejection comes from a high-school game, which lets you know right off the bat that we are dealing with a referee on a severe power trip. Kids’ sports referees are absolutely terrifying. They’re like if someone with all the anger of a substitute teacher was given complete power for two and a half hours. In a game between Watauga and St. Stephens’ high school, Watauga somehow ended up in a situation where they were trying to pull off a two-point conversion from the 18-yard line. For non-football fans, just know that is a play that is absolutely doomed to failure. It’s like trying a penalty kick from the center line of the soccer field for a third of a goal.
With this in mind, the coach and one particularly acrobatic player pulled out a play that began with the player doing a series of backflips across the formation in the backfield. What the next step in the play was, we’ll never know, because the ref immediately ejected both the recently upside-down player AND the coach, I guess for injecting some amount of joy into people’s lives. If seeing someone doing a backflip makes you angry, you need to visit a psychiatrist because your dopamine is not flowing correctly.
Coach Punching An Opposing Player
The next entry isn’t a particularly funny one, and is fully and inarguably deserved. In the end, it wasn’t just an ejection from a single game, but from the entirety of the game itself. It occurred in 1978, during an Orange Bowl contest between football heavyweights Clemson and Ohio State. Now, plenty of coaches are known for their fiery sideline antics. The collective coach kill count on headsets and clipboards is the sort of stuff that would make the Hague shudder. But a coach, a grown man of 65 years old, deliberately assaulting a college-age athlete? That was an infraction that was never included in the rulebook out of pure optimism.
During the game, after Clemson’s nose tackle corralled an incredibly ill-advised throw for an interception and was brought down near Ohio State’s sideline, soon-to-be ex-head coach Woody Hayes grabbed the player and punched him square in, as the refs say, the “head and neck area.” Do you know how fucked up something has to be to be considered horrific during a football game in 1978? They were still sending concussed kids out to return punts with a mouthful of morphine back then. Hayes’ punch, though, crossed the line even for a rough sport, and he never coached again.
A Mascot Ejection
Part of what makes an ejection such a high-level punishment is the severe effect it can have on the game in question. A team being forced to play a backup in a crucial position, or without the input and strategy of the head coach, can handily swing the outcome of a game. This ejection, however, though it did result in the removal of a being from the court, is one of the few that you could pretty convincingly say had no effect on the game whatsoever — unless you’re a big believer in team spirit.
The year was 1991 and the Portland Trail Blazers were facing off against the Washington, D.C. basketball team, which was still called the Bullets instead of the current, insultingly dumb, panicked, desperate alliteration attempt of the “Washington Wizards.” The game was a feisty one. After a series of questionable calls, including an eyebrow-raising ejection of Pervis Ellison, everyone on the Bullets side of things was heated, including Hoops — the mascot. He (?) started gesturing for the crowd to boo the officials, which they happily obliged, resulting in a large, plushy cartoon being asked to leave the building. Like how Godwin’s law says that invoking Hitler in an argument immediately means you lose, I think the same applies to banning someone in a mascot suit from a building.
Ejecting the DJ
Referees and umpires, by rule, usually don’t have much purview outside of the painted lines. Our last ejection, however, is unique by the fact that the person thrown out of the game wasn’t even visible from the field. This ejection, occurring during a minor-league baseball game between the Daytona Cubs and Fort Myers Miracle, is, to my knowledge, the only time a DJ has ever been ejected from a sports contest by the officials. There are plenty of things that I wouldn’t particularly mind a DJ getting thrown out of, like most conversations, but this is a little beyond the pale.
The DJ, who, by the way, was an intern and not even a full employee of the park, was spinning his tunes of choice when the home plate umpire made what he and the crowd deemed to be a particularly horrible call. With deft fingers and an eye for appropriate vinyl, Derek Dye (which is an extremely DJ name) threw a particular tune on the platter: the classic children’s rhyme, “Three Blind Mice.”
Again, because the sound of joy is poison to an umpire’s ears, he reacted by ejecting Dye from the game. Dye shook it off, saying that his boss thought it was funny. Which, you know, it was.