Athletes versus fans through the years

Image by b24chicago license under CC by 2.0

By Max Liebel

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Miami Dolphins safety Bobby McCain was seen spitting on a young fan in the stands during the Dolphins’ Week 7 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. In light of this incident, it brought to mind moments where athletes have displayed severely unsportsmanlike conduct towards paying fans in recent memory. Here’s a list of those moments, let’s dive in:

Metta World Peace vs Detroit Pistons, 2004

One of the most notorious moments in sports is when Ron Artest (known today as Metta World Peace) started a bench clearing brawl with the Detroit Pistons and attacked a fan in what became known as “The Malice at the Palace. Tensions had been building all game when Artest gave Pistons center Ben Wallace, a hard foul going in for a layup. Wallace then retaliated after the play that saw multiple players from both sides get involved in a shoving match. Once things had somewhat subsided a fan in the stands had thrown a drink at Artest, who then dove into the stands and began to attack the fan. Artest received a season long suspension and a $7 million dollar fine. 

Rick Rypien vs Minnesota Wild fan, 2010

After being ejected for fighting, Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien reached into the crowd and grabbed a fan who was clapping on his way to the locker room during a game versus the Minnesota Wild. The attack seemed somewhat unwarranted but with tensions high and a fair bit of trash talking by the fans, Rypien snapped and looked to attack the fan before being taken into the locker room by security and teammates. The altercation saw Rypien suspended multiple games and the fan ejected from the Xcel Energy Center. 

Quinton Jefferson vs Jacksonville Jaguars fans, 2017

After being ejected late in the game, the Seahawks defensive Lineman Quinton Jefferson got into an altercation with multiple Jacksonville Jaguars fans who had been throwing beer at him on the way to the locker room. Tensions apparently had been building all games from the fans in the section closest to the Seattle sideline. After the beer had been thrown Jefferson aggressively approached the guard rail before being taken to the locker room by security. This instance would once again spark the conversation of how far is to far for fans to go at sporting events. 


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