Massachusetts Football Players Suspended After Fighting Opposing Fans In The Stands
A Not So Friendly Game
It was supposed to be a routine game for the Arizona Rattlers and the Massachusetts Pirates. Fans had been enjoying a relatively peaceful match, watching as the Rattlers took a comfortable lead towards the end of the game.
With only 32.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter and a nine-point lead, the Rattlers were on the brink of victory.
However, Pirates defensive back Leon O'Neal Jr. leaped into the stands to confront an alleged heckler, which sparked a scary scene. Punches were thrown by multiple players, making it difficult to discern who was escalating the situation. Five players and a fan were ejected after the brawl.
The game broadcast captured the scene of a young fan crying, as an adult woman consoled the child amidst the chaos. It was an ugly scene that resulted in the ejection of five players and one fan.
Several players even entered the stands during the scene. O'Neal Jr., along with Chris Ingram and Charles Williams from his team, and Pirates coach Patrick Pass were suspended indefinitely.
Indoor Football League commissioner Todd Tryon condemned the incident, saying that such behavior will never be tolerated and the league is taking strict action to deal with it.
“This is a one-time incident that does not reflect what the IFL stands for," Tryon said in a statement. "We are a family-friendly league that offers great sports entertainment, and we will continue to build on that moving forward. What was a very exciting game was marred by the actions of a few."
The Indoor Football League has made it clear that they will not tolerate any violence that endangers the safety of fans or players, and they will take decisive action to punish those responsible.
The Massachusetts Pirates are currently in 2nd place in their Eastern Conference with a good chance at a home playoff game. It is unknown if this incident will affect their standing.
The Full Statement From The Commissioner:
Late in last night's game between the Massachusetts Pirates and the Arizona Rattlers, there was an unfortunate incident that culminated with players and a coach entering the crowd. The Indoor Football League takes pride in our effort to create a Family-Friendly environment. The actions of these individuals do not represent or align with these unwavering IFL values. The IFL sincerely apologizes to the Arizona Rattlers, Arizona fans, as well as fans across the country. The IFL will not tolerate this type of action.
After reviewing all available footage as well as reviewing the official's report, the Massachusetts organization as well as multiple players have been substantially fined and suspended. In addition, the following individuals have been suspended from the IFL indefinitely; #8 Leon O’Neal, #5 Chris Ingram, #22 Charles Williams, and Coach Patrick Pass.
“Under zero circumstance can you ever go beyond the wall and into the stands,” said Commissioner Todd Tryon. “This is a one-time incident that does not reflect what the IFL stands for. We are a family-friendly league that offers great sports entertainment, and we will continue to build on that moving forward. What was a very exciting game was marred by the actions of a few. These actions will never be tolerated and are being fully dealt with.”