Truly the most bizarre sports story of the year to date is what happened last Saturday night at Nashville’s Allen Arena.
Co-owner and CEO Sally Anthony of the ABA Nashville Rhythm attempted to fire her coach, Ashley McElhiney, during the third quarter of a game against the Kansas City Knights.
McElhiney, the first-ever female coach of a men’s pro basketball team, continued to play former Vanderbilt star Matt Freije after Anthony instructed that he be benched.
The argument began during the third quarter and escalated until Anthony came down to the bench with the game in progress and started screaming at Coach McElhiney to put Freije — Vanderbilt’s all-time leading scorer who had just been released by the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats — down on the pine.
The coach ignored Anthony’s order and the owner/CEO had to be restrained by security guards, finally being forcibly taken off the floor.
McElhiney continued coaching and her team won, 110-109.
After the game, Anthony insisted McElhiney had been fired, even though she had continued to coach.
It turned out that Anthony shares ownership of the team with two other people, who haven’t yet weighed in.
As a result, McElhiney’s status remains unknown, even to her.
After the game, Anthony addressed the team and gave them 24 hours to decide whether they would side with her or the coach.
But there’s more.
After the game, Anthony fell and hit her head: she was taken to the Vanderbilt University Hospital on Sunday morning.
She was asked about a 911 call related to the incident and said, “I was picked up last night. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
Somewhere Marge Schott is smiling.