By the time the home side left the floor, the teams resembled members of a schoolyard “Shirts vs. Skins” game, but very little playground bonhomie was evidenced in the aftermath of Sunday’s Iraklis BC-PAOK match in Greece.
PAOK (8-7, tied for fourth place in EƩAKE play) manhandled the homers (3-12, tied for 14th) in the match, 87-68, resulting in a bizarre move of protest demanded by Iraklis coach Georgios Kalafatakis. Gathering the team together at halfcourt, he had his players remove their jerseys and leave them on the floor. The team president stunningly later apologized for his team’s (lack of effort), reportedly referring to their game as “queer” – and not in the sense of “strange.”
(The key word in Greek is “αδερφίστικο,” which defies Google translation, but judging from the backlash, BiE will take the media’s word for it.)
While Iraklis captain Vladimir Petrovic was later reported as stating that he and his teammates “don’t deserve to wear this team’s jerseys,” an outraged players’ union statement declared Iraklis officials to have made “homophobic sentiments.”
Firstly protesting the rules violation of untucking the jersey from the shorts, the PSAK statement goes on to condemn “the attitude of the team administration and those who foster and tolerate [homophobic statements],” going on to say that call for more public responsibility, for “such practices do not promote the sport, but convert [it] into a Roman arena.”
Highlights from the game – okay, so it’s mostly a PAOK free-for-all – follow, topped with the bizarre denouement. Iraklis plays at Ilysiakos on Sunday in a game between the two teams at the bottom of the EƩAKE table.