BGSU police charge Memphis basketball player with assault
BGSU police charge Memphis basketball player with assault via WTOL11 YouTube

In a violent turn of events during the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), fifth-year senior Memphis women’s basketball player Jamirah Shutes sucker-punched an opposing player, sparking outrage on social media.

In response to the incident, the Bowling Green State University Police Department charged Shutes with assault. This development further complicates the situation, raising concerns about how such aggressive behavior could impact Shutes’ future, both in her athletic career and beyond.

Jamirah Shutes confronts Elissa Brett

Jamirah Shutes confronts Elissa Brett via WTOL11 YouTube

Following Bowling Green’s 73-60 win in the Round of 16 game against Memphis, Shutes stopped to talk with Falcons’ player Elissa Brett. After exchanging a few words, Shutes suddenly punched Brett in the face.

Brett fell toward the scorer’s table and onto the sideline, remaining on the floor for several minutes before being assisted off the court. Schute’s team immediately escorted her away.

Memphis’ athletics department issued a statement, calling the incident “extremely unfortunate and certainly not consistent with, or representative of, our expectations for our programs and student-athletes.”

“Because the incident occurred after the game, jurisdiction falls in the hands of local authorities, and we are cooperating fully with their process,” the statement said. “Out of respect for that process, we will not comment further until it is complete.”

Elissa Brett remains on the court after punch

Elissa Brett remains on the court after punch via WTOL11 YouTube

Bowling Green coach Robyn Fralich didn’t directly address the incident after the game, stating that they were “figuring all those things out” regarding what transpired in the handshake line.

The specific reason behind the confrontation remains unclear. It has been reported, however, that Shutes and Brett were involved in an earlier incident with just 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter. It’s likely that their heated competition continued throughout the game leading to high emotions. Nonetheless, it was completely out of line, and it’s obvious she punched Brett.

BGSU Head Coach Robyn Fralick

BGSU Head Coach Robyn Fralick via FalconAthletics YouTube

The sports world is now left grappling with the question: is it assault? Reactions on social media were one-sided, with many expressing their disappointment in Shutes and calling for consequences, such as revoking her scholarship or pressing charges.

Twiggy tweeted, “I’m so disappointed in #JamirahShutes & her coaching staff at #Memphis for her cowardly act of violence & poor sportsmanship.” 

Twiggy's tweet

Twiggy’s tweet via JillJessMom Twitter

A Bowling Green fan tweeted, “We took your best punch…literally. #23, Jamirah Shutes. You are classless. Brett put the clamp down on you all game, and you throw a punch shaking hands. A fifth-year SR. What a way to end your career.”

BGSUWolfman's tweet

BGSUWolfman’s tweet via BGSUWolfman Twitter

Mark shared the same opinion, tweeting, “Seeing people defending Jamirah Shutes by saying ‘but she’s just a kid’ is so ridiculous. 23 years old and a 5th-year senior. Pretty sure by then, most people realize you don’t sucker punch someone in a handshake line or at any time for that matter.”

Mark's tweet

Mark’s tweet via MarkMizzouSteel Twitter

Shutes’ actions have clearly sparked a broader conversation about self-control and sportsmanship within college athletics. Some argue that the pressures faced by student-athletes may contribute to emotional outbursts. Others contend that these athletes must learn to manage their emotions effectively.

On Wednesday, Shutes’ attorney appeared in court on her behalf and entered a not-guilty plea. Shutes is scheduled to return to court next month for a hearing.

Jamirah Shutes moments after she sucker punched Elissa Brett via Denn Dunham Twitter

Do you think Jamirah Schutes should be charged with assault? Let us know in the comments.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: