Sixers forward Mike Scott had a typical Philadelphia sports Sunday this week: He went to an Eagles tailgate, got into a fistfight, then brushed himself off and attended the game—a plot so hacky it’s straight out of the movie they made about Philly sports degenerates, Silver Linings Playbook. Mike Scott got the full Eagles experience.
The parking lot fight came after Scott, wearing a jersey of the late Washington safety Sean Taylor, came across a group of fans who’d rolled a casket into the parking lot. That casket actually showed up on social media earlier in the day, with a caption identifying it as someone’s grandfather getting in one last Eagles tailgate.
It wasn’t a dead body. Video shows the casket draped with a T-shirt reading “I wanna party like it’s 1991”—a reference to the last time the D.C. area celebrated a Super Bowl victory. (We are in a weird new world where Philly sports fans get to brag about Super Bowls.) Yesterday, though, Taylor’s name briefly trended on Twitter after the @NFLHumor account inaccurately said the shirt was a Taylor jersey draped upon the casket. The venerable news source corrected itself, but the story had already spread.
More reliable information came from Kyle Neubeck, a Sixers beat writer for Philly Voice. Neubeck, who also reported the Sixers will not discipline Scott for the incident, has some background:
Upon approaching the area with the coffin… eyewitnesses say Scott was greeted with hostility by the group tailgating in that area. They did not recognize Scott as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and instead appeared to view him simply as a large man in opposing colors attempting to start trouble at an Eagles tailgate.
Though some fans in the area initially engaged in the sort of accepted hostility you expect between division rivals — “F*ck the Redskins!” and “F*ck you!” were among the insults directed his way — witnesses say tailgaters who escalated the situation directed racial slurs, specifically the n-word, in Scott’s direction in the area by the coffin.
Yes, depressingly, people did not stop saying the N-word at the South Philly sports complex when Riley Cooper left the Eagles. According to the report, the Sixers actually had a security staffer with Scott, a team policy when players attend public events. Presumably, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid get higher-ranking security staffers instead of one who allows a fight to break out not long after a player shows up to a tailgate. Neubeck wrote the Sixers are “reviewing their team policies regarding security at public events as a result of the incident.”
The Mike Scott part pretty much ends there. But there is so much more.
Scott came over to the Sixers in February as part of the Tobias Harris trade. He’s not bad! He hustles, he hits threes, and he drank someone’s cocktail after falling into the stands in May. He became a minor fan favorite. A group organized online and began calling themselves the “Mike Scott Hive.” One dude got a tattoo. There was a Phillies tailgate, for whatever reason. Scott will appear at a Sixers podcast taping.
Philadelphia has a deep history of inexplicable fan clubs for random players. The template for these modern-day followings is the Wolf Pack, a group of eight brothers who donned wolf masks in the early 2000s for Phillies pitcher Randy Wolf. The Wood brothers, half of whom were Philadelphia police officers, started the fan club on a whim after the rookie had a good start in June of 1999. They had a complicated list of rules for their fan club, and even ran into a bit of their own trouble: Someone once tried to steal their sign. (I got this information from a 1999 Philadelphia Daily News article by former Eagles beat writer Kevin Mulligan, who is now a Catholic priest. I am not making any of this up.)
The Wolf Pack spawned imitators, who filled up an otherwise-empty 700 Level in the final years of Veterans Stadium. Vicente Padilla had the Padilla Flotilla. Terry Adams had the Adams Family. When Brandon Duckworth made his debut in 2001, there were Duck Ponds and Quack Packs. More groups came and went: The Pratt Pack for Todd Pratt, Sal’s Pals for Sal Fasano, Being John Vukovich for the Phillies’ old third-base coach (okay, I did make this last one up).
These fan clubs seemed to mean a lot to the people in them. Who hasn’t formed a bond with their buddies over an inside joke? When Wolf Pack member Tom Wood died in 2002, Randy Wolf attended the funeral. These things can be silly, but meaningful.
Which leads us to another Mike Scott article in the local press yesterday, this one by Rob Tornoe in the Inquirer. The article details a simmering feud between WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi and Alex McIntyre, a 21-year-old sports photographer who attended the game with Scott.
McIntyre chastised the WIP morning show for suggesting she was hooking up with the Sixers player. “I love Mike Scott,” she wrote, “but ‘Mega fan with a bee tattoo on her ass,’ does not define me.” She said the meetup happened because she offered to bring Scott some breakfast sandwiches.
McIntyre is right about Cataldi, of course. Those Philly cops were never accused of wanting to fuck Randy Wolf.
McIntyre wasn’t the only person involved in bringing Scott to Sunday’s game. Before he got into a fight, Scott said that he was on his way to the tailgate of 4th and Jawn, an Eagles podcast. After the skirmish, the host of that podcast/tailgate, The Mighty E-Rock, released a long statement that required him to film in the seat of his car.
In the video, E-Rock addresses some of the following topics: Mike Trout’s Eagles fandom, the hypothetical of Trout getting beaten up by Rams fans at a tailgate, the stupidity of Philly fans attempting to fight a “social media all-Star” and “my man Karate Mark.”
When I saw the video, I immediately had one thought: I’ve heard of Karate Mark! Is this Karate Mark the same guy who’s taught karate since I was a kid, or does Philadelphia have two Karate Marks? I reached out to a man named Classic Jeff and he confirmed it for me: There is only one Karate Mark.
Of course, not every Philly sports fan is part of the Mike Scott Hive. Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate talked to some Eagles fans about the fight and summarized is thusly: “Many fans on Monday didn’t defend Scott, but the tailgaters who appear to have attacked him.”
“Eagles fans can be a little protective so he should’ve known better,” Harrisburg native Kiesha Hudson said. [...] “He knows the city he plays in, he shouldn’t really be wearing the opposing city’s colors, especially the day they’re playing,” Harrisburg native Dave Manbeck said.
“You play for the Sixers, you gotta represent Philadelphia or don’t go to the game,” Philadium bartender Tom Bressi said.
I know the next step of this saga: The Mike Scott Hive vs. A South Philly Bartender and, uh, Two Eagles Fans from Harrisburg.