Jimmy Lee Renfro of Kansas City, Missouri, had traveled to Phoenix to watch the December 6 game between Harper, an Illinois school, and Phoenix College. Renfro's nephew was playing for Harper, which pulled off a major upset against the PC Bears, winning 36 to 6.
After the game, according to one sports blog, Harper fans heckled the Phoenix players and one may have thrown a drink at a player's head.
Renfro's lawsuit states that Tevita Ofa, dressed in full uniform, stormed into the stands and punched Renfro several times. Besides a black eye, Renfro was "humiliated" and claims to have later suffered vision problems. He wants unspecified punitive damages for the alleged assault.
A contributor to the above-linked sports blog state that the Western States Football League apologized to the Harper College over the incident.
Chuck Reinebold, spokesman for the Maricopa district, did not have information about the incident available immediately; he says he'll call back later.
Land Jacobsen, Phoenix College's head football coach since the summer of 2008, says Ofa no longer plays for the school and may be back in his home state of Hawaii. Jacobsen referred most of our questions to the district spokesman, but says Ofa "wasn't much of a player" and was never put into play for the December game.
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We couldn't reach Renfro in Kansas City -- a number for him was disconnected. Ofa was unreachable, too.
Court records don't indicate that Ofa was ever charged criminally, but it sounds like he could have been. Even if Renfro dispayed poor sportsmanship after the Illinois team won, it wouldn't justify that kind of violence.
And Ofa apparently struggles with a bad temper. In a 2001 article from a Hawaiian newspaper, republished on the Web, Ofa's father said his son used to "punch and hurt" his schoolmates until learning discipline at a Christian-oriented karate club.
Judging by Renfro's lawsuit, Ofa could use a few more lessons.