Arena football fan penalized for grabbing kick returner

Here’s one of the more bizarre things we’ve seen in a football game: A fan with front-row end zone seats at an Arena football game in Jacksonville grabbed the visiting team’s kick returner to prevent him from running the ball out of the end zone.

The fan of the Jacksonville Sharks got a 15-yard penalty on the home team for grabbing Georgia Force return man C.J. Johnson, and he was reportedly removed from his seat. But the fan also got high fives from Jacksonville Sharks players and was cheered by the fans around him. He celebrated and was clearly happy with himself.

Frankly, the incident was appalling: The fan interfered with the play and even grabbed at Johnson’s facemask, which could have caused an injury. The Arena league has always encouraged fans to feel like they’re part of the action, but here’s hoping the Arena league also makes it clear that grabbing a player on the field is totally out of bounds.

Video of the incident is here. Image via TotalProSports.com.

62 responses to “Arena football fan penalized for grabbing kick returner

  1. This is stupid, that guy should be banned forever. And as far as the home team players high fiving him, ridiculous! They should be fined for promoting this crap. Just my opinion.

  2. That idiot fan deserved to get pounded. Not crazy Ron Artest style, but he’s lucky he didn’t get a face full of fist.

  3. If that Fan wants to punk a guy from behind, they should let him out on the field as the punt returner for the next kickoff. He wont do that again! what an ASS….Grow up Pal….

  4. It’s *arena football*. Who cares? This is probably the most interesting thing to ever happen at an arena game. I know I might actually watch a game if I thought fan interference was likely.

  5. Despicable. What the hell is wrong with people nowadays? The fact that this moron got high-fives from the players and cheers from the fans is sad. This guy should have been arrested and the league should ban him from all future events in any venue.

  6. The guy is an absolute MORON! So are the players and fans who think this was a good thing.
    He looked like he had some beers in him. Too many for him I guess.

  7. This screams white trash. I hope the kick returner finds him out at a bar; just look for dude drink a 16 oz Budweiser can.

  8. Grow a pair. I’ve never seen anyone get hurt b/c their helmet was grabbed while the two were standing still…it was HILARIOUS and what’s appalling is that you said it was appalling.

  9. Holy sh!t, lighten up. If you’re going to make your out of bounds area against the fans seats, AND the receiver can catch the ball against the fans, then blame yourself for dumbass rules.

    Do you not think some DA fan wouldn’t grab a player at some point?

    Every other sport has figured out that fans and players don’t mix.

    To the writer Smith; “appalling” is a bit strong. It was funny. You guys are just mad they made the news.

  10. Fans are idiots. That’s a given. For players to celebrate this is completely wrong. Not one of those players would be like being grabbed by a fan while they were trying to play.

  11. So totally staged for pub. Otherwise, who even gives a look at an Arena League YouTube video ……… or knows there’s an Arena team in Jacksonville besides the Jaguars?

  12. Not surprised really.

    Jacksonville is filled with gap-toothed hillbillys. On a Friday night it’s either roller derby, Arena Football or boinking your sister.

  13. I see plexiglass partitions in the AFL’s future.
    Heck, save the money and play it on hockey rinks.
    Instead of cleats the players could wear crampons.

  14. So what? 19 people watch the damn thing, and its a substitute for football in the spring…just something for pub. And “Whats wrong with people”?

    Get off your high horses, its a game, no one was hurt, its a bad economy, and people celebrated. Fan participation.

  15. This is crazy. Thank goodness the NFL doesn’t play in this type of environment. Can you imagine if they let Philly fans that close to the game? 0_o

  16. “but here’s hoping the Arena league also makes it clear that grabbing a player on the field is totally out of bounds.

    Video of the incident is here.”

    Any one else find that ironic?

  17. If i was the Player I’d Pulled the Fan over the wall & kicked his ass Until they pulled me off

    NO I don’t want to hear any BS if you think your a Bad ass get your Ass out there

  18. wardrivekeith says:
    Aug 9, 2011 8:01 PM
    So totally staged for pub. Otherwise, who even gives a look at an Arena League YouTube video ……… or knows there’s an Arena team in Jacksonville besides the Jaguars?
    —————————————————-

    That wasn’t the jaguars?

  19. sieg1234 says: Aug 9, 2011 7:52 PM

    Grow a pair. I’ve never seen anyone get hurt b/c their helmet was grabbed while the two were standing still…it was HILARIOUS and what’s appalling is that you said it was appalling.

    ————————————

    It was funny. But wtf are you talking about standing still? Neither of them were standing still. The fan was all over the place about to fall onto the field grabbing at Johnson, and Johnson was attempting to run forward

  20. I was going to say something mocking about the AFL….

    But then this happened:

    “rectumnearlykilledem says: Aug 9, 2011 7:34 PM
    The Jets just signed him to stand on their sidelines.”

    And now everyone should just give up trying to top it.

  21. FANS WISH THEY COULD DO THIS IN THE NFL.

    Heck, fans get the short end of the stick every which way in the NFL. Tickets, Parking, Concession prices, teams with losing records year after year, lockout, etc etc.

    Plus, look what state this happened in. I bet he was on the jury…you know what jury

  22. The poor fan dropped his game day program! This video is hilarious. I love his bravado at the end; double arm pump, high fives, low fives, daps and pounds.

    Antonio Cromartie can learn something from this video on the true form of arm tackling

  23. Appalling? Absolutely – but not as bad as PFT giving the jerk another 15 seconds of fame.

  24. I didn’t find any humor in it at all, and I used the word “appalling,” too, in my article about it on Yahoo! Sports. I’m mentally high-fiving Michael David Smith for sharing my opinion.

    The Arena Football League has been in existence for 24 years–with fans sitting right up against the boards–and this kind of “fan” behavior is neither normal or tolerated. CJ Johnson could have been badly injured. He was *not* standing still–he was trying to field a kickoff–and the “fan” grabbed him around the face, neck, and shoulders from behind.

    The subsequent behavior by some of the Sharks players and the glorification of the incident throughout the remainder of the NFL Network broadcast by the announcers made it even worse.

    As for the snarky “who cares” comments about the AFL–at least 1,330,409 people care. That’s how many people attended AFL games in person this season. Don’t knock it if you’ve never given it a fair chance, and if you’ve tried the AFL and don’t like it, there’s really no need to mock it.

    It’s nice to see PFT give the AFL some attention. Hopefully next time, it will be for something impressive that happened on the field, rather than some asinine act by someone who is not a true AFL fan.

    Fans who’d like to see what the AFL is about should tune in to NFL Network on Friday (8/12) at 8:30pm for ArenaBowl XXIV. It’s the two best teams in the league and should be an entertaining game for the open-minded viewer.

  25. I can’t understand the humorless ppl on this site who don’t think that’s funny as hell. Yes it might have been staged – the announcers even were laughing.

  26. enders9 says:
    Aug 9, 2011 8:27 PM
    sieg1234 says: Aug 9, 2011 7:52 PM

    Grow a pair. I’ve never seen anyone get hurt b/c their helmet was grabbed while the two were standing still…it was HILARIOUS and what’s appalling is that you said it was appalling.

    ————————————

    It was funny. But wtf are you talking about standing still? Neither of them were standing still. The fan was all over the place about to fall onto the field grabbing at Johnson, and Johnson was attempting to run forward

    _______________________

    Standing still as in not running around, not moving THAT much. Of course there was movement btwn the 2, but it wasn’t enough to ever get hurt. The player didn’t move but maybe 3 inches forward and didn’t struggle that much to do so…and the fan was just draped on him, in no way could he have hurt the player unless he jumped on him.

  27. Probably not the smartest human being alive, he’s just trying to get his 5 second of fame. I applaud the KR for not turning around and decking the fool.

  28. hobartbaker says:
    12th man.

    They don’t have eleven players on the field in
    Arena Football…..wouldn’t be 12th man.

  29. It’s sickening to read how many fans think it’s ok to interfere with the play on the field just because you bought ticket. You’re ruining the game for the rest of the civilized fans who have class and were raised right.

  30. If this was the NFL or NBA this would be a disgrace. But this is Arena Football, which I believe just beats out the WNBA in popularity.

    At least they get free publicity. If it weren’t for the NFL Network clogging up their schedule with this garbage during the lockout, I wouldn’t have known the league still existed.

  31. This guy must have no life at all if he gets this excited during an Arena league game. I thought this league disbanded anyway?

  32. A player on the field, like an actor on the stage, during the course of the game, should not be touched by a fan.

    This constitutes simple assault, and the Fan should be so charged!

  33. this fan behavior is a disgrace. yes, you naysayers are right that he didnt endanger the player with the facemask grab, and yes the AFL isnt popular. but as a fan, if you think its ok to interfere in anysport you should be kicked out or banned from the event. would you run on the court and grab a wnba player? would you interfere at a amatuer golf tourny?
    if i was in the stands with him i would have pushed his fat a** over the railing and let him taste the field.

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