A lot of the time, fans running onto the field of play provide a good laugh. Sometimes the courage to interrupt a live event and draw attention to themselves comes from what they believe is a noble cause, and other times it comes from libations. The stadium and the people at home laugh while security tries to run the person down. Then laughs get even louder, and are accompanied by applause once the intruder is finally apprehended.
It’s all fun and games until it’s not. That’s why Bobby Wagner had no patience for a protester making a statement on Monday Night Football. Five fellow members of that protestor’s group, Direct Action Now, are on trial for allegedly stealing piglets from a Utah farm factory. Wagner explained to the media why he sent that one piglet crying wee, wee, wee, all the way home.
“You don’t know what that fan got or what they’re doing,” Wagner said to the media. “You see it all the time, and we don’t know what they’re carrying in their pockets. It’s whatever that little smoke stuff [the pink smoke bomb the protestor was waving around] is, but that shit could be dangerous.”
He is correct. The field of play is a restricted area. Who knows what reason someone might have for wanting to breach that. We all laugh at the woman who chained herself to the basket — from the same group — during a Minnesota Timberwolves playoff game, but if she got the chain into the arena, what else could she have gotten in there? Monica Seles got stabbed in 1993 when someone got onto the tennis court during one of her matches. Even fans at wrestling events who have jumped barricades have gotten their comeuppance. Recently, a protestor set himself on fire during the Laver Cup.
That’s serious. Not this police report that was filed by the person who got tackled by Wagner at Levi Stadium. He filed it with the Santa Clara Police on Tuesday, per TMZ. Maybe he’s a little sore, but as a trespasser, he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on in court according to Andrew Bradt, professor of law at California-Berkeley School of Law.
“This case strikes me as almost spectacularly meritless,” Bradt told Deadspin. “Bordering on frivolous.
“I think the likelihood of success would be so minimal, as a lawyer I wouldn’t think it would be worth my effort.”
The fact is once you trespass, you become an intruder. Security doesn’t politely escort these people from where they aren’t supposed to be once apprehended. They are removed as quickly as possible. At a ball game, the intruder most likely won’t get beat up the way that they might if a bouncer removed them from a bar, but in both instances force will most certainly be used. According to Bradt, for a case like this to have any merit at all, it would have to be proved that whatever injury was suffered by the trespasser would have to be “unforeseeable.”
“If you trespass on a football field, with huge men who tackle people for a living,” Bradt said, “it’s probably foreseeable that you’re gonna get tackled by a huge person.”
Bobby Wagner doesn’t belong on a construction site, in a restaurant kitchen, or in any area of a government building that is not public unless he has an appointment. He doesn’t have any business in those places.
Where he most certainly has business is whichever field the 2022 Los Angeles Rams are playing a football game. When he is out there he has the right to ensure his safety and those around him.
It was bad enough that the piglet protestor got on the field in the first place. If he had just taken his lumps and gone home, everything would be fine. But now, he’s taking up the time of Santa Clara law enforcement, as well as tax dollars from that municipality and the state of California.
People, if you want to protest animal rights, go block traffic somewhere — preferably not in Los Angeles County. Go right outside the courthouse, or maybe even the street nearby where one of your legislators works, but don’t go inside there either.
People who willingly breach an area they aren’t supposed to be in, whatever happens afterward is their own fault. Regardless of what Nas said on the fourth track on Illmatic, the world is not yours.