The father of a North Carolina high school wrestler jumped into the middle of his son's match and slammed the rival grappler to the floor, leading to the dad's arrest, officials said Tuesday.
The unplanned tag team incident unfolded Saturday when the wrestlers from Southeast Guilford and Hickory Ridge high schools were competing at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, about 20 miles outside of Charlotte.
The Guilford wrestler picked up and threw his Hickory Ridge opponent to the mat, and the official called it an illegal move.
Both combatants separated and were ready to move on with the match when Barry Lee Jones, the father of the Hickory Ridge wrestler, jumped into action and tackled the Guilford athlete.
Pandemonium ensued as a flock of adults rushed the mat. One man tackled and pinned Jones to the floor.
Jones was arrested and charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, Kannapolis police said. He was released after posting $1,000 bail.
The 17-year-old student-athlete slammed by Jones was not injured, police said.
"The expert on the mat at the time of the incident in question, was the official. He made the illegal move call immediately, with correct signals being given," Que Tucker, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, or NCHSAA, said in a statement Tuesday.
"Local police and local school officials are handling the actions of the parent in question. The NCHSAA has nothing to add at this time."
Southeast Guilford wrestling coaches posted a letter they received from parents of the Hickory Ridge wrestlers apologizing for Saturday's brouhaha.
"We are in shock, horror and disbelief by the inconceivable action of one parent on a wrestler. We don't understand it nor would we ever condone it," according to the Hickory Ridge parents.
"Though our parents review the HRHS code of conduct in pre-season mandatory parent meetings, this parent chose to disregard the code and, for that, we are ashamed. His action does not reflect the beliefs of the parents or the HRHS wrestling program. To the parents of the wrestler who was tackled — we wholeheartedly apologize."
Jones has been banned from Cabarrus County Schools campuses, which include Hickory Ridge High School, and from all activities involving those schools, Ronnye Boone, the school district's chief communications officer, said Tuesday.
"We have expectations for student decorum and sportsmanship during extra-curricular and athletic events, and our expectations for spectators are no different," Boone said in a statement.
"The actions displayed by a spectator at the wrestling match ... fall far below our expectations. We do not condone his actions and have banned him from our campuses."
Jones could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.