The world of youth sports has changed drastically over the years. Gone are the days of just playing for your neighborhood recreation or community center. Now you have all these elite travel teams that go in and out of state playing other programs.
In many instances it’s not a bad thing, as young players begin to get exposure and visibility at a young age. But then you have your money-grabbing setups that are designed to make a profit off of families, and if the kids get better they do, and if they don’t so be it.
Saturday night in Lancaster, Texas, tempers boiled over between two youth (9U) football coaching staffs and a coach, Michael Hickman, was shot and killed on the field.
The suspect wanted in Hickman’s death is Yaqub Talib, who happens to be the brother of a former NFL player, broadcast announcer Aqib Talib. In a video that has since gone viral on social media, it’s a lot of arguing about how a youth football scrimmage ended. Then you hear about four shots ring out, and Hickman is shot and killed.
The Lancaster Police Department released the following statement about the tragic and senseless incident.
“On August 13, 2022 at approximately 8:50 PM, Lancaster Police were dispatched to multiple calls services at 1749 Jefferson Place, Lancaster, TX commonly known as Lancaster Community Park. The Lancaster Community Park is a community activity park encompasses several youth football fields.
“Upon arrival, officers were notified of a disagreement among coaching staffs and the officiating crew.
“During the disagreement the opposing coaching staffs were involved in a physical altercation and one of the individuals involved in the altercation discharged a firearm striking one adult male. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment where he was later pronounced dead.”
Unfortunately, this type of violent aggression has become a repetitive theme in youth sports. Parents and coaches berate referees who are making little to no money to call these games, albeit football or basketball. When games end in controversy, it’s nothing to see parents and coaches run up to try and fight referees, or just straight attack them. In some instances, the referees have even fought back to defend themselves. But in most situations, they’re extremely outnumbered. It’s become a personal showcase for the coaches and not about the athletes.
Absolutely unbelievable these stupid ass adults ALWAYS actin like crazy punks! You kill a man over a youth activity?!! Wtf!!! some kids could have been killed! This is fuckin ridiculous Fr fr! Condolences to the family of Mike Hickmon. The shooter can go to HELL!! https://t.co/FdxTKEbHAt
— PLAYERS COACH (@jucoplayerinfo) August 14, 2022
Any youth coach or current high school coach has seen this happen. Maybe not to the degree of a life being taken, but plenty of fisticuffs following or during games. And it’s setting a sad precedent and showing our youth actions that completely contradict what we should be teaching them in team sports and how it pertains to life.
Aqib Talib In Attendance At Game, Shaken By Incident, Per Lawyer
A statement released by Talib’s lawyer via TMZ, read like this:
“Aqib was present when this unfortunate incident occurred and is very distraught and devastated over this terrible loss of life. He would like to convey his condolences to the family of the victim and to everyone who witnessed the unfortunate tragedy.”
The Talib brothers, with Yaqub being the oldest, grew up in both the Cleveland and Trenton, New Jersey, areas; places known for being tough inner-cities with high crime rates. Yaqub talked about their upbringing, and how it shaped them in a 2015 interview with the Denver Post.
“Where we grew up, you fought quicker than normal. You didn’t want anybody to see a weakness. It was the culture we grew up in. I was the only one on my whole street who went to high school. We had kids (Aqib’s) age, he was in fifth or sixth grade, some of his friends had already stopped going to school. They’d just chill. When (Aqib) came home from school, he’d chill with them. Looking back on it, I think it created an us-against-the-world-attitude.”
That’s the same attitude Aqib displayed during his NFL career, and it helped him become a Super Bowl champion, two-time All Pro and five-time Pro Bowl player.
Outpouring Of Condolences For Hickman
Hickman’s death hit early Sunday morning, and many sent their condolences. One of those was from NBA player-turned-ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins, who tweeted about the situation.
This was a Coach for a youth football team in Dallas, Texas. I don’t know this Coach and I’ve never met him a day in my life… but I do know that he didn’t deserve to have his life taken in front of his 9 year old son over no damn little football. RIP Coach Mike🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/XGU4nk674Z
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 14, 2022
Perkins is one who witnessed the craziness of youth sports firsthand this summer on the AAU basketball circuit. He even said it’s not about sports anymore. He talked about fights breaking out, teams using players above the correct age. Unfortunately, this also happens in football as well.
AAU basketball is out of control and it’s getting ridiculous!!! pic.twitter.com/jzBtQsfrmM
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) March 22, 2021