Flag football may be typically designed to be devoid of tackling, but soldiers with the 82nd Airborne couldn’t keep their hands to themselves during a Turkey Bowl game hosted at Fayetteville State University over the holiday weekend.

“When the game started, tensions rose and there was a scuffle between the Soldiers and players at FSU,” Army WTF Nation, a popular Army social media account, told Military Times.

The game was meant to be a morale booster, with paratroopers from the 2-319 and 3-319 Airborne Field Artillery Regiments playing, according to Army WTF Nation.

The Army, in an email to Military Times, described the event as a team-building exercise.

“Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division participated in a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl flag-football game, Nov. 23, 2022, at the Fayetteville State University Football Stadium to build camaraderie prior to being released to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday with their families,” said Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Anthony Clas.

Video snapped by Instagram user @fancy_fancy_bear, who was in attendance in the largely empty stadium, showed a massive brawl between dozens of soldiers.

The exact cause for the skirmish remains unknown at this time.

“An exchange occurred during the overtime period of the game and leadership engaged immediately to relieve friction between the Paratroopers involved and ended the game,” Clas added. “There were no injuries to any Soldiers or Paratroopers as a result of the exchange.”

The soldiers were reportedly ejected.

“Afterwards, the unit was asked to leave the area and the game ended,” U.S. Army WTF Nation said.

A Reddit thread posted by R/Army said that the soldiers were then told to return to Fort Bragg in uniform to work the rest of the day as punishment rather than being released early for the Thanksgiving holiday, which was the original plan. That course of action was not confirmed by the Army.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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