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In Guest Writers, Stephen Faig, The Giants on September 26, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , ,

Brandon Jacobs and Why We Throw Things by Guest Writer, Stephen Faig

Last Sunday, during the third quarter of the New York Giant’s painfully unglamorous 38-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, a frustrated Brandon Jacobs tossed his helmet aiming (allegedly) for the bench, but somehow sent it soaring 10 rows up into the stands at Lucas Oil Field.

If you watched the game on television, you might remember seeing the indignant Indianapolis fan, squat, surrounded by stadium officials, tightly clutching a hostage Giant’s helmet; then the camera flashed to Jacobs sitting on the bench, blank stare, and no helmet.

Luckily, no one was injured by what had become at that point a flying head-cracking instrument, but it did cause a commotion, and Jacobs ended up stuttering out a heartfelt apology to the entire population of Indiana and receiving a $10,000 fine from the NFL.

What was initially hyped as “Manning Bowl,” a battle between two brothers, both seasoned quarterbacks and Super Bowl champions (Archie Manning should start his own sperm bank for the NFL), will be remembered mostly for this incident.

The man who caught the helmet wanted to keep it; after all, authentic Giants helmets autographed by Brandon Jacobs go for around $500 on Amazon. Just imagine the bidding war on eBay between die-hard Giants fans and collectors of football memorabilia. You could buy a lot of over-priced hot dogs and beer with that money.

At the end of the day, even if he kept the helmet to display in his living room next to the fancy wall plates and fine china, what a great story it would be to tell your grandkids. But this is not a great story for Brandon Jacobs, the Giants, or their fans.

This is certainly not the first time a player on a professional sports team has tossed something into the stands, though. Numerous NBA basketball players have been fined for throwing basketballs into the stands. Ron Artest, a trailblazer in this field, has actually thrown shoes and punches into the stands during basketball games. After all, innovation is the key to success.

Professional sports players have also been fined for throwing at fans include chairs, water bottles, giant snowballs, middle fingers, hockey sticks and golf clubs.

Sometimes the penalties are harsher than mere fines. Julio Castillo, a minor league pitcher for the Peoria Chiefs, a Class A team affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, was sentenced to thirty days in jail for gunning a baseball during a brawl in a game against the Dayton Dragons that hit a fan in the head.

Throwing things into the stands, however, is not always improper. When Braves closer Billy Wagner became the all-time leader in strikeouts by a left-handed reliever just a few weeks ago, he tossed the record strike-out ball into the stands. The Braves clubhouse crew got his ball back and gave it to him, but the key difference is that you expect balls to go into the stands during a baseball game. The fans loved it. Foul balls make great souvenirs, just not when their thrown at 90 mph during a chaotic brawl.

But it would be unfair to suggest that sports players are the only ones doing the throwing. There is a reason Stadiums only serve food products in paper and plastic containers and take off the twist caps on bottles, which really does drive me nuts.

Who can forget Phillies fans throwing D batteries at St. Louis Cardinals outfielder J.D. Drew? Or snowballs at Santa? More recently, in April, a drunken Phillies fan purposely vomited on an 11-year-old girl.

Philadelphia has become notorious for these incidents, but they are not exclusive to the City of Brotherly Love. Just the other week, rowdy New York Jets fans threw beers at a teen and knocked out her mom for holding a sign that read, “I Love Tom Brady.” A lawsuit against the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority has been filed.

You might argue that the Testosteroni world of professional sports, while not  condoning it exactly, inevitably induces this type of overtly aggressive behavior amongst hot-headed athletes and their fans, who appear to be intoxicated in most of these cases. On the other hand, even at events as innocuous as a Justin Bieber concert, fans have been in the headlines for throwing bottles.

Personally, I don’t think Jacobs meant anyone harm. Luckily no one was hurt and the NFL is calling the helmet throwing incident an accident, and no one’s arguing that he lost his composure. He did.

But overall it ruins the experience for everyone. Sports professionals are paid large salaries to deliver results to their franchises and should act like professionals. Sports tickets are expensive and if you want to throw things, then watch the game from home and do it in your own backyard. It’s a lot cheaper.

-Ssccchtephen

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