Eyewitnesses claim that former NFL star cornerback and current TV analyst Aqib Talib instigated the brawl that led to the shooting death of youth football coach Mike Hickmon on Saturday night in Texas, according to Rebecca Lopez of WFAA and Jason Whitlock of Blaze Media.
Yaqub Talib, Aquib’s brother, was identified as the shooting suspect, and he turned himself in to Lancaster (TX) police on Monday and has been charged with murder.
Eyewitness: “Aqib (Talib) started this. He was the first person to throw a punch. Out of all of the people, he was the one person who could have de-escalated the situation. He was the one person we all would’ve listened to. He could’ve stopped it all.”https://t.co/Ertyl7tJl3
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) August 16, 2022
WFAA (ABC Dallas affiliate) has obtained new video of the moments before the deadly shooting.
NEW: @rlopezwfaa obtained video that shows exactly what happened before youth football coach Mike Hickmon was shot and killed at a peewee game Saturday.
Witnesses say you can see him arguing with retired NFL player Aqib Talib before shots are fired.https://t.co/1K7XNxPdiL
— Matt Howerton (@HowertonNews) August 17, 2022
According to Lopez, “Witnesses say a person wearing a hat and white sneakers in the video is former NFL cornerback, Aqib Talib. They say he walked across the field first to the opposing side.”
Lopez adds that Heith Mayes, an assistant coach for the Dragon Elite Academy team that Hickmon was also an assistant for, claims that Talib “threw the first punch.” (Editor’s note: his name has been spelled “Heith Mayes” by most outlets, including Blaze Media, but WFAA has it as “Heath Mays.”)
Coach Heath Mays witnessed what happened.
”He ran across the field and ran over on our sideline and got in the ref’s face,” said Mays.
Multiple witnesses say Aqib Talib was the one who started the brawl because he was upset about referees.
“He threw the first punch, and you see Mike trying to defend himself,” said Mays.
As reported by Whitlock, Dragon Elite coach Kerry Lewis claims that Aqib “incited the whole uproar.”
“Aqib incited the whole uproar,” Dragon Elite coach Kerry Lewis said during a phone interview Monday night. “The game would’ve never been stopped had Aqib not come over to our sideline to yell at the refs.”
Dragon Elite defensive coordinator Marty Barnett also claims that Aqib “started” this and “was the first person to throw a punch,” according to Whitlock.
Dragon Elite defensive coordinator Marty Barnett added: “Aqib started this. He was the first person to throw a punch. Out of all of the people, he was the one person who could have de-escalated the situation. He was the one person we all would’ve listened to. He could’ve stopped it all.”
Aqib allegedly was “irate” after a late-hit penalty was called on North Dallas United that was followed by a Dragon Elite touchdown. According to Whitlock, Mayes, Lewis, and Barnett claim that Talib walked across the field to confront the referee and said, “I oughta sock your bitch ass now.”
According to Barnett, Lewis, and Mayes, Aqib walked across the football field to confront a referee. Lewis said Aqib threatened the ref. “I oughta sock your bitch ass now,” the assistants remember Aqib barking.
“That’s what was so weird. All of the tension was between them and the refs,” Barnett said. “There was no problem between the coaches. We all know each other. Kerry Lewis and Yaqub have coached together. I followed Aqib’s whole career, starting at Kansas. The other thing is that it was their event. They were the hosts. They hired and paid the refs. The refs weren’t cheating for us.”
Whitlock reports that the coaches claim the game was called with six minutes remaining, and Hickmon walked over to retrieve the football (a personal football of Hickmon’s son, the Dragon Elite’s quarterback), when “a man working the first-down chains kicked the football into an area where the North Dallas coaches were gathered.” Carrying the yard marker, Hickmon walked toward the football and “exchanged harsh words” with North Dallas coaches. Mayes claims that Hickmon bent over to pick up the football, and Aqib swung at Hickmon before Hickmon retaliated by hitting Talib with the yard marker.
According to Mayes, as Hickmon attempted to pick up the football, a man working the first-down chains kicked the football into an area where the North Dallas coaches were gathered. Hickmon walked to the area with the yard marker in tow. The North Dallas coaches and Hickmon exchanged harsh words. As Hickmon bent over to pick up the ball, according to Mayes, Aqib Talib swung at Hickmon. Hickmon retaliated, striking Talib with the yard marker.
Aqib’s lawyer, Frank Perez, issued the following statements about the incident.
Aqib Talib’s attorney, Frank Perez, strongly disputed the accusation that his client sparked the brawl.
“That story is inaccurate,” Perez said Tuesday afternoon. “You need to talk with all of the witnesses, not just the opposing coaches. I will be more than happy to make a statement at the end of the week, when we’ve conducted a full investigation.”
And via Lopez:
Aqib Talib’s lawyer, Frank Perez, issued a statement saying his client “was present when this unfortunate incident occurred and is very distraught and devasted over this terrible loss of life. He would like to convey his condolences to the family of the victim and to everyone who witnessed this unfortunate tragedy.”
The 36-year-old Talib made five Pro Bowls in his NFL career and played on the Denver Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50. He made his debut as an NFL color commentator for Fox in November 2020. In June, Talib joined Amazon as a studio analyst for Thursday Night Football (he was also part of Amazon’s NFL coverage in 2021).