Without a referee to turn to, a man called police to report a foul during a pickup basketball game at a Virginia gym Monday evening.
“I’ve never, never in my entire life gotten a cop called for playing basketball,” said Thomas Mulabah, who played in the game at an LA Fitness in Sterling and recorded the aftermath.
“First time in the history — anywhere, playing anywhere,” said Marcellus Bowie, another player.
“This is the hardest foul in America, bro,” the caller argued in Mulabah’s recording.
They say they get together several times a month to play.
Mulabah and Bowie said this game was tense.
“To count the fact that it was like 12-12,” Mulabah said. “So the game is on the line; everything is high emotions.”
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“Man, I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting paid to play sports,” he said. “People play basketball in any rec center like they’re getting paid for it.”
One of the players got knocked to the ground.
“Once he got hit, he got on the ground, he’s usually a tough guy, so I expected him to get up,” Mulabah said. “He got up though, but he walked outside.”
“He said he was calling the cops, and everybody started laughing, we’re looking around, we’re like, he’s not calling the cops,” he said.
The call came in as an assault, according to the incident report.
The responding deputy from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office reported neither player wanted to pursue charges, the incident report said.
Mulabah asked the deputy if he’d ever been called for a basketball foul.
“That’s my first basketball foul,” the deputy said.
Management at LA Fitness told the players they had one more chance to keep the game civil or they would be removed from the gym, the incident report said.
“I do want to say though, the guy who called the cops is a good guy,” Mulabah said. “I know him very well. He’s a good guy. It’s not anything where it’s like tension or he doesn’t like somebody for anything, because I know how it can look — it’s basketball, everybody’s playing. Definitely a good guy. I just think he got a little emotional.”
“When we see him, I’m sure we’re going to joke about this,” Bowie said. “He might be a little mad at us.”
The players who spoke to News4 welcomed anyone to the game.
“It’s actually a really good run,” Mulabah said. “So anybody who likes to play basketball, if you think you’re pretty decent, we’re not going to call the cops on you. I’ll dunk on you but not call the cops on you. So just come out and play, man. It’s fun. We need as much people as possible to enjoy our time.”