Grrr! Sports Fans Over Top

Note to Antonio Davis: I would have done the same thing.

If I saw my wife involved in some altercation — whether she started it or not — I would have rushed to her aid. And so would most men.

There are many sides to this story, but it's probably safe to say that everybody involved with the initial incident in the stands during a Knicks-Bulls game in Chicago last week shares some of the blame.

The fans say Mrs. Davis instigated the incident, and Mrs. Davis says she was called rude names by unruly fans.

Both are probably correct. However, it's about time fans at sporting events learn to behave.

Much like last year's Motown brawl that spawned a season-long ban for NBA star Ron Artest, alcohol is the No. 1 factor that makes monsters out of spectators.

I once attended a Miami Dolphins versus New York Jets football game on a Sunday night at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

I was seated next to a teenage girl who was wearing a Miami Dolphins jersey. Every time she cheered for her team, some grown man would yell insults in her direction. When he hurled a particularly insulting phrase at her, I turned around and told him to calm down.

He threw his beer at me.

Security was there before it escalated into a fight, and the guy was ejected from the stands. I left shortly after, covered in beer and shaking my head in disgust. Not only did I need a change of clothes, but I had wasted good money on a ticket.

The whole experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth (stale beer notwithstanding). What would compel a grown man, probably one with a family of his own at home, to yell such obscenities at a young girl just because she was rooting for the other team?

Instant Obliviot. Just add alcohol.

Spectators as a whole have been unruly for as long as I can remember. Men forget common courtesy and succumb to mob rule as soon as they enter the stadium.

Sadly, it's been this way for a long time, and even though I was disappointed at my football game experience, I was not surprised.

Of course, if the drunk guy who threw his beer on me happened to be famous in any way, shape or form, I would have sued him for defamation of clothing or something like that.

I'm sure a good lawyer would recommend that I claim my sex life was in chaos due to the beer-throwing incident, bringing my wife into the injured party claim, and to claim that every time I drive past Giants Stadium, my body jumps into violent convulsions or something like that.

I think $1 million would do the trick, don't you?

That's what 22-year-old Michael Axelrod — the man involved in the altercation with Davis' wife — is reportedly suing the couple for — her for "battery" and him for "slander," because Davis referred to him as "intoxicated" during a press conference.

Do you think a number like $1 million would be floated around if the altercation did not involve a famous basketball player? Do you think if Davis were a bus driver that any lawyer would waste his time with the paperwork for the exact same incident?

Of course not, but I digress.

Axelrod's lawyer says the specific claim is inflated, but in an interview with the Associated Press, he refused to specify the amount his client is looking for. Additionally, Axelrod sent Davis a letter demanding an apology and that he make a contribution to a charity dedicated to stopping violence toward women and children.

As if being fined nearly $1 million by the NBA isn't enough? Davis said he would not apologize for something he doesn't think was wrong, and said that if he had to do it over again, he would.


As for Axelrod, the son of Chicago Democratic political operative David Axelrod, he said he only drank one glass of wine at dinner and that he didn't do anything wrong.

Whether or not Axelrod was intoxicated doesn't matter. Ask anybody — victim or assailant —who is ever involved in any type of trouble at any sporting event, and no doubt alcohol will be in the picture.

People at sporting events think they can say anything they want to the players and the fans of the opposing teams. Add a glass of wine or a couple of beers or cocktails, and all of a sudden it's all-out war in the stands. Fans will tell you it's all in good fun, but I won't buy into that argument, as much as Mrs. Davis says she doesn't buy into it.

"There's this notion that in this arena people feel they can say whatever they want to you, about you, and you're supposed to just sit there and take it," she said. "I think people somehow lose civility," she added.

I agree, but as long as people are drinking alcohol in the stands, good luck with fixing that. As for me, I'll stay home with the best seat in the house next time, and save the money — and the aggravation.

Click here for your Grrrs

Respond to Mike | Grrr! Lexicon

VIDEO: Watch Mike's "Real Deal" webcast.

PODCAST: Take The Grrr! Column with you. Paste the link below into cast aggregator.,4369,92,00.xml