Fans fighting each other is nothing new. It’s so prevalent in soccer that they made a movie about it. While I wouldn’t recommend “Green Street Hooligans” because Elijah Wood playing a Harvard dropout-turned-soccer hooligan is as ridiculous as it sounds, I have been guilty of sharing fan fight videos on group chats before.
I’ve since stopped because as fun as a bunch of overweight, drunk idiots throwing haymakers sounds, it was only a matter of time until someone got seriously hurt (again).
For a second time, an LA fan is in the news for allegedly assaulting a San Francisco fan outside a sporting venue, according to ESPN. The 49ers fan, Daniel Luna, fell down after he was punched and then hit his head on the pavement, resulting in brain damage so severe he had to be put in a medically induced coma to avoid his brain swelling. His condition has neither improved or deteriorated. Police found Luna outside SoFi Stadium about a half an hour into the NFC Championship game.
Police interviewed suspect Bryan Alexis Cifuentes-Rossell at his place of work, and then he voluntarily accompanied them to the station where he was arrested and released on bail. He’s claiming self defense. According to reports, he and Luna exchanged shoves and then the punch was thrown.
“It looked like a small altercation that went very bad. Five seconds. Push. Turn around, push, (and) punch. It wasn’t even five seconds,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said.
Thankfully, police aren’t releasing the video of the SoFi Stadium incident.
This isn’t on the scale of the incident at Dodger Stadium that left Bryan Stow in a coma, but it’s evidence that small scuffles can have large consequences, too.
If you don’t remember the horrific story of San Francisco Giants fan Stow being brutally beaten within inches of his life and into coma by a couple of LA Dodgers outside the ballpark, it’s terrifying. His comeback story is uplifting, but comeback stories should be reserved for athletes injured during a game, not fans nearly dying in the parking lot after one.
It’s impossible to say for certain if fight videos going viral gives people who are prone to violence extra incentive to go fucking ballistic during a sporting event, or if this has always been happening only now they’re on video due to the invention of cellphone cameras. Knocking someone the fuck out is glorified in movies, hockey, and blood sports, so why not try to earn your 15 minutes by cracking homie who talks a little too much shit. Someone is always ready with an iPhone.
The Suns in four guy became a legend in Phoenix after he went to town on a couple of Denver Nuggets fans at Ball Arena last postseason. He still goes to games. He poses for pictures with Devin Booker. You can purchase a T-shirt with his likeness on it if you’d like. The guy beat the piss out of a person at a basketball game.
I can’t remember exactly where I saw it or whose fans it was, but male-female altercations have popped up, as well. I can’t stand watching actors fake male-on-female violence, so I’m not going to try to find that or link to any fight for that matter.
Certain leagues, games, and fan bases have always been on the “Don’t bring your child around them” level — Eagles and Raiders fans, Red Sox-Yankees games, any soccer fan described as an “Ultra” — but it feels like we’re due for a couple dads in polos battling it out at Augusta, or a duel in the stands at Roland Garros. Throwing fists because you couldn’t think of a good comeback for someone’s Jimmy Garopollo insult is like your roommates coming to blows over 2Pac and Biggie a decade after their death.
Garoppolo is a sub-par QB, and no display of physical dominance is going to change that. Also not changing is fans’ proclivity for fighting, and society’s thirst to watch people duke it out. When you gather thousands of people to watch their teams compete and ply them with alcohol, emotions are going to run high, and there are going to be altercations. That formula is the reason the RNC and DNC hold events at separate venues.
Appealing to people’s good will and asking them to help curb these videos from going viral will likely get me mocked before it gets the sharing to stop. I’m also not going to put this on stadium security because the best case outcome for trying to stop a fight is an atta boy from their bosses. Their job should be limited to making sure everyone is in the correct seats.
I will put it on the leagues, though. Obviously, Cifuentes-Rossell was charged with a felony and you’d think his time as a live spectator is over regardless of the outcome in the courts, but anyone caught fighting on video or otherwise should be banned from going to games. Fighting already gets you banned, but clearly security doesn’t catch everything. These random cellphone videos should be treated like Jan. 6 footage and dissected until culprits, including the person who posted the clip, are found and 86’d.
I don’t care who started it or what’s fair. When the smelly kid picked a fight with me in the fifth grade because he sucked at basketball, I still got suspended. Being assaulted, as was the case with Stow, is not “fighting.” I honestly don’t know how to feel about Luna. If it was an altercation, I guess ban him, but he’s in a coma so that feels fucked up to say.
In addition to that, leagues are incredibly quick to take down highlight videos that violate copyright laws, so shouldn’t they do the same for lowlight videos? They have lawyers capable enough to twist the rules over fan footage. And even though they may not have power over what happens outside the stadium or arena, any fight that occurs inside should be treated like a non-UEFA sanctioned Champions League highlight and wiped from the internet.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to delete something that’s on the line, but their job is to promote their product, including the in-person experience. Why leave the house and risk getting put in a coma because some juice head saw red after a few parking lot key bumps and a couple too many Bud diesels?
The last thing we need is another Suns in four guy getting treated like royalty because he meted out vigilante’s justice to some mouthy teenagers. That’s about as impressive as Elijah Wood fake fighting fake soccer hooligans.