Sunday was not exactly a good day for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost an ugly game to the Los Angeles Chargers that functionally knocked them out of the running for a first-round bye in the playoffs. It was their second consecutive loss as they were coming off of a defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos last week. But things were just as bad in the stands of Heinz Field as they were in the game itself. There were several violent incidents that required the intervention of law enforcement and stadium security during the game, the consequences of which are starting to trickle in.
There was a viral video of one fan headbutting another, which made the rounds on Sunday night and Monday morning. There were also charges of aggravated assault by a police officer, though those charges have not been approved by the DA’s office. Another incident has now been reported by Megan Guza of The Tribune-Review. She reports that Amy Marie Brown, 30, of Oceanside, Califonia, was charged with defiant trespassing and disorderly conduct Monday morning. The alleged incident took place in the middle of the game in section 237, when a fan attempted to start a fight with someone sitting behind him. Police were called to the scene and eventually had to escort that fan out of the stadium as he had been ejected, though not without a fight from him.
Brown was with him, and the original complaint accused her of “pulling on the male and trying to excuse his behavior,” while he attempted to start the fight. Police officers tried to handcuff her, but she allegedly pushed and shove them. Eventually the man was taken to an Allegheny County jail.
Fights between fans are sadly a part of professional sports, but teams and leagues have grown far more vigilant in preventing them in light of a 2011 incident at Dodger Stadium. A San Francisco Giants fan named Bryan Stow was severely injured by two Dodgers fans outside of the stadium, and spent quite a bit of time in a coma afterward. He needed years of rehabilitation and suffered major brain injuries, and the two fans who did it plead guilty to criminal charges soon afterward.
Stow was an EMT, and the incident sent shockwaves through the sports landscape and led to teams taking a more active approach to security at their stadiums. No team wants a story like that on its resume, and with increased accountability in the digital age, fights have become a rarer occurrence in modern sports. But teams still need to take every possible precaution. For so many incidents to occur in the stands of one Steelers game is incredibly disheartening in today’s improved security environment.