It’s safe to say that the NFL has enough issues with bad publicity from year to year. With more than 50 players on each roster across 32 teams (not including practice squad players), it is virtually impossible to expect everyone to walk the straight and narrow.
We frequently see fans getting into fights in the stands at NFL games. It’s become such a common occurrence that it barely registers anymore. We see at least one video of fans scrapping at NFL stadiums almost every week of the NFL season. Well, Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has seen enough.
During the Panthers’ fan fest, two guys began getting in each other’s faces in a heated moment that looked like it was headed for fisticuffs. That is, until Moore intervened. Moore essentially jumped into the crowd and was able to talk the men down and defuse the situation.
Moore stepping in to settle this dispute before blows were thrown was a nice gesture that could’ve gone in a completely different direction. Luckily for Moore, the Panthers, and the league, this incident didn’t escalate to another level.
Because of how football fields and especially NFL stadiums are constructed, fans aren’t right on top of teams like in NBA arenas. While we occasionally see fans run onto the field at NFL games, it’s not as easily accomplished as it is for NBA fans sitting in the first couple of rows.
The last thing commissioner Roger Goodell wants to deal with is a “Malice at the Palace” type of situation. He’s dealt with enough lousy PR stemming from the DeShaun Watson case. I’m sure Goodell’s reaction was priceless when he first caught wind of Moore going into the stands. For better or worse, I’m pretty sure the Commissioner doesn’t want players going into the stands for any reason, especially to break up a potential fight. That’s what security is for.
Of course, security can’t be everywhere in a sea of thousands of fans, many of whom have had too much to drink halfway through the event. But it also shouldn’t be on players to jump into the fray. Too many things can happen to put fans and players in danger in this kind of situation. If someone tosses a drink or the two men begin tussling, and Moore was to get mixed up in it, that would be all bad.
Ideally, you’d like to not have fans fighting at sporting events, but it happens. Fights happen between fans in just about every sport, but we don’t need players getting involved, even if it’s to calm everyone down. Let stadium staff deal with that and keep players on the field/court. The second one of these professional athletes lays a finger on a fan; the lawsuit will be filed before they leave the building.
We know Moore’s heart was in the right place, but it isn’t worth it. Once an athlete steps into the crowd with no security nearby, they’re basically in no man’s land. It’s too big of a risk and liability.