The Hamilton Pistols narrowly escaped disaster this week, as a team bonding/birthday celebration on the road in New York turned into a street scuffle that led to the arrest of several of the team’s top players.
The Pistols were in the Big Apple on Tuesday to play the New York Night. Coincidentally, it also happened to be LW Steven Alexander’s 26th birthday. After absorbing a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Night, several members of the team decided to head out on the town to celebrate their top scorer. They wound up at a karaoke bar in the West Village.
The trouble began when C Calvin Frye came up to sing. By his own admission, Frye is a “terrible singer. The guys won’t even let me sing in the shower.” Unsurprisingly, when Frye took the mike for a tortured rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” the crowd reacted with a mix of groans and sarcastic applause. But when Frye – egged on by his teammates – insisted on sticking around for several repetitions of the song, the mood in the room switched from annoyance to anger.
In the midst of Frye’s third off-key repetition of the tune, one patron yelled at Frye to “shut the [expletive] up already.” Alexander then yelled at the angry patron: “If you want him to shut up, you’ll have shut us all up!” The Hamilton players then began singing the song at the top of their lungs. The enraged patron then threw his beer bottle in Alexander’s direction. At that point, Alexander lunged at the patron, setting off a fracas between the Pistols and the angry man’s friends.
After a scuffle lasting several minutes, the club security intervened and ejected the Pistols, the angry man and his friends. The two groups proceeded to start fighting again in the street, which lasted until the police arrived to break things up. The Pistols players involved in the fracas – Alexander, Frye, RW Claude Lafayette, and Ds Clayton “Crusher” Risch and Hercules Mulligan – were arrested and detained on charges of disorderly conduct.
Coach Keith Shields arrived after a couple of hours to bail his players out. The team was able to make its flight back home for its next game, and it appears unlikely that the players involved will face further legal trouble.
“Obviously, this wasn’t a situation that we want to repeat,” said Lafayette. “We were having a good time – maybe a bit too much of a good time – and things just escalated out of control before we realized what was happening.”
The birthday boy, meanwhile, struck a more defiant tone. “Nobody tells my boy Fryer that he’s got to shut up,” Alexander told reporters. “I was really proud of the way the boys all stood together and pushed back when someone went after one of us. I know I’m probably not supposed to say that, but it shows that we’re a real team.”
For his part, Shields said, “I’m glad the guys were able to get out and celebrate Alex’s birthday, but obviously, we didn’t want it to end up like this. After the game we had, this was the last thing we needed. I told the boys to try and avoid getting into scrapes like this in the future. And maybe next time they go to a karaoke bar, maybe don’t bring Calvin along, or at least for heaven’s sake don’t let him sing.”