A Bay Area participant in the notoriously brutal sport of water polo was accused of crossing the line separating gamesmanship from assault last month, to the point that police have launched an investigation into the incident.
KRON 4 reports that the alleged sexual assault occurred during an October 11 water polo match between Berkeley High School and Encinal High School, when a Berkeley student touched or grabbed "the genital area" of an Encinal student.
According to the Associated Press, "multiple" members of the Encinal team reported the Berkeley High student of "behaving inappropriately in the water" during the game. The next day, Encinal High School passed those reports on to the Alameda Police Department, which launched an investigation.
Citing the ongoing investigation and the age of the subjects (all are juveniles), a spokesperson with the Alemeda PD declined to comment on the investigation, except to confirm that it is "criminal in nature."
KRON delicately notes that it's possible that the contact was accidental, as "water polo is a physical sport in which players often grab onto each other."
Having myself dated a water polo player in college, I heard many tales of genital attacks by opposing players (and it's certainly not the only sport in which contact like that occurs), tales borne out by sources as diverse as iSports, Deadspin, and numerous Redditors.
According to one player, via Reddit:
Man it's going to happen. Just know it's a possibility. To be honest, I've found moreso that international players are more comfortable with grabbing the privates. Wedgies happen all the time. I always wear two suits. I don't advocate calling them gay or anything like I've seen posted here - really it's likely nothing will change.
If someone is being grabby, you need to assert your dominance without getting butthurt or visibly angry. With calm but aggressive demeanour, you have options... get your elbows and hips up, get grabby back, don't let them swim over you, give them a nice quick knee in the diaphragm if they don't stop ha ha. I don't advocate playing dirty, but if someone is actively trying to grip my sack, they are getting a knee or an elbow, no question. Or I'll just try to foul them out. It really depends on the player personality you know? I also like to pull on their cap strings just to instigate ha ha.
"Most Polo players have gotten very comfortable grabbing nuts once you get to the college level" wrote another. "It's part of the game."