In light of the beer shower Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino received last week at Wrigley Field, we wanted to celebrate some of the best athlete/fan interactions from across the sports world. To make our list, just remember to drink lots of brews and act like a complete jackass. Enjoy!
The Palace Brawl
What happens when you get a couple drunk fans who think it’s a good idea to throw a beer at a 6’8”, pro-basketball player? By far, the worst major sports athlete/fan interaction on this list. Artest went mano-e-mano with fans in the stands, leading to a melee for the ages.
Fallout: For their part in the mess, four players were sentenced to “NBA Hard Time” – Indiana's Ron Artest (banned for season), Stephen Jackson (30 games), Jermaine O'Neal (25 games) and Detroit's Ben Wallace (six games).
After being sent off for a vengeful kick on opponent Richard Shaw, Manchester United’s Cantona broke away from teammates and launched a kung-fu style kick into the crowd, directed at opposing Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons, followed by a series of punches.
Fallout: Simmons was tried for threatening language and behavior. He received a seven-day prison sentence, but only served 24 hours. Cantona was banned for nine months, fined £10,000 ($16,500), and was sentenced to 120 hours of community service. In 2007 he said, "I have a lot of good moments, but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan."
Toronto Maple Leafs' Tie Domi Fights Fan
It’s never a good thing when a glass panel breaks in a hockey game. It’s worse when NHL crazy man Tie Domi is on the other side. As Philadelphia Flyers fan Chris Falcone found out, Domi doesn’t take crap from anyone. As Falcone taunted Domi in the penalty box, the glass gave way, and he fell in. Falcone was pinned by Domi, and took several licks from him.
Fallout: There were no formal charges, but Falcone was ejected from the building, and Domi was fined, but not suspended, by the NHL. Domi later said of the incident, "When fans try to get involved in our work they gotta be ready to pay the price."
Cleveland Browns Fans I
Cleveland Browns Fans II
Like we said in the intro, to make this list, you need to be a complete jackass. And Cleveland sports fans--as a whole--definitely fit the bill. The first video shows Steelers LB James Harrison, slamming a Browns fan to the frozen December dirt. This was a game when the Browns lost 41-0, so the dude must have felt the fans wanted to see something entertaining.
The second video is the classic “Beer-Throwing Game,” where Browns fans take it upon themselves to show the refs that Miller Lite goes down smooth.
Fallout: The Browns fan received a misdemeanor for trespassing, but even worse, was banned for life from the stadium. Harrison got pats on the back. In the second incident, what are the refs or cops going to do? Throw a flag or arrest the entire Dawg Pound? As expected, a number of small arrests, but the biggest penalty was the NFL banning beer sales after the third quarter.
Frank Francisco Throws Chair Into Stands
Word to the wise, when sitting in the first five rows of a game, don’t cross the line on taunting. This is the mistake one dude made, and Texas Rangers closer Frank Francisco went ape-shit, sky-rocketing a plastic bullpen chair into the stands. The unforgiving result? The chair missed the dude, nailed his wife, and left her with a broken nose.
Fallout: Francisco was taken to jail from the stadium, and charged with felony battery before being bailed out for $15,000 a couple hours later. He was suspended the rest of the season (15 games). No word on any plastic surgery bill for the chick.
Terry O'Reilly (The Tasmanian Devil) Versus Rangers Fans
New York fans have always been a rowdy bunch, so it’s no surprise that MSG was the site for this infamous NHL scrum. During a post-game brawl, a Rangers fan stole Bruins’ Stan Jonathan's stick, hitting him with it. In defense of his teammate, O'Reilly scaled the glass and charged into the stands attacking fans as more Bruins poured onto the glass and other fans intervened.
Fallout: Although there weren’t any formal charges against O'Reilly, the NHL suspended him eight games for his part in the brawl.
Monica Seles Stabbing
Jealousy makes some fans go a tad crazy. That was the case when then world No. 1 player, Seles, was stabbed by a fan during a break in her match in Hamburg, Germany. In his obsession to have Germany’s Steffi Graf regain the top women’s ranking, Guenter Parche jabbed a 25-cm long knife into Seles' back as she rested mid-match.
Fallout: Seles recovered from her injuries, yet was never able to achieve the same success she had before the stabbing. Parche's penalty? He was proven psychologically abnormal and was sentenced to two years' probation and psychological treatment. Seles later vowed to never play in Germany again, saying, "What people seem to be forgetting is that this man stabbed me intentionally and he did not serve any sort of punishment for it... I would not feel comfortable going back. I don't foresee that happening."