FanDuel - WFBC

September 04, 2010

Fans Brawl at US Open Match: A fight in the stands between a young man and a middle-aged woman and her father interrupted a second-round U.S. Open match between Novak Djokovic and Philipp Petzschner. "I hope it was no Serbian up there," Djokovic said.

posted by rcade to tennis at 08:54 AM - 34 comments

Fan brawl during Djokovic match at US Open.

posted by Spitztengle at 10:31 PM on September 03

Same brawl but you can hear the argument

posted by rumple at 01:10 AM on September 04

There's a ridiculously one-sided article on this brawl in the New York Daily News. Apparently, using foul language in a verbal altercation gives people justification to assault you.

posted by rcade at 09:03 AM on September 04

Of course it does. If, after having to listen to this foul-mouthed jerk for a long period of time, and after you ask him to be quiet he begins cursing you directly and asking you to hit him in the face, who's not going to oblige?

At some point, it goes from an annoyance to the guy being a threat. He paid for his ticket? So did the other people around him, and eventually someone's going to lay the smack down on a dick.

Plus, congrats to him for shoving the woman.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:46 AM on September 04

As much of an ass as this guy may be, the middle aged woman and the old man are the only ones whose behavior crossed the line. The guy is an obnoxious douche bag, but he attempts to sit down and let the argument go twice, and each time it's the woman and the old man who can't let it go. And in each instance when one puts their hands on the other, it's the woman and the old man who initiate contact.

posted by MW12 at 10:08 AM on September 04

No justification for any of their actions, but in rumple's post the guy seems to indicate that he has already been slapped by the woman (or maybe he's just asking for it, not clear). Nothing shows the entire altercation, which is normal since people would not start taping until after it had started and gotten their attention. But like MW12 says, the guy sits down and then the old man decides to come after him. The woman tries to grab him around the neck before he pushes her. If the old man and woman had any sense, they would have realized that you can't reason with an ass like this. They should have reported him to the ushers. Getting into a verbal or physical altercation with a jerk seldom leads to anything good.

posted by graymatters at 10:26 AM on September 04

... who's not going to oblige?

Me, for one, because I'm not a macho dope who thinks it's my job to dispense smackdowns to strangers for being rude. They committed assault. He did not -- every physical action he took was in self-defense and was proportionate.

Was he a loud-mouthed jerk? Certainly. But that doesn't justify slapping him or assaulting him -- particularly after he sat down. The old man lost his head and is fortunate he didn't get hurt in that fall.

I had a chance at a Jags game last year to witness an incident like this with my kids. A drunk Texans fan and some Jags fans -- all young men in their 20s -- exchanged insults for half an hour until it turned physical.

This was a great teachable moment. I told my kids that if they are ever stupid enough to get into a fistfight over something as trivial as a football game, I will be extremely disappointed in them.

posted by rcade at 11:54 AM on September 04

I had the exact same conversation with my Mother at church last week. I felt bad about giving my Dad the PZ (Pedro-Zimmer) takedown, but he bumrushed me.

Gotta side with the kid on this one. Even though I think his "why do I care about anyone else?" attitued is an epidemic these days, he didn't deserve to be attacked. She should have just gone to security and made a case.

posted by smithnyiu at 12:26 PM on September 04

I went to a tennis match and a hockey game broke out?

posted by jjzucal at 01:08 PM on September 04

Me, for one, because I'm not a macho dope who thinks it's my job to dispense smackdowns to strangers for being rude.

Or maybe you're not man enough to stand up to someone obviously trying to bully someone weaker right in front of you. Could go either way, I guess.

This was a great teachable moment. I told my kids that if they are ever stupid enough to get into a fistfight over something as trivial as a football game, I will be extremely disappointed in them.

Almost agreed, except if I witnessed my children watching a young man attempting to bully an older woman and a man in his 60s, I'd be extremely disappointed if they didn't at least step in and, failing being able to keep the peace, drop the little prick.

Again, could go either way, I guess -- and perhaps the teachable moment happened here for the jerk. Act like an obnoxious dick and you might just face a little physical retaliation.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:51 PM on September 04

By the way, despite what I've read about this guy not wanting the publicity, I'd be shocked if we find out he's not trying to turn this into some Jersey Shore-style fame.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:52 PM on September 04

I don't see two weaker people being bullied in those videos. I see two people turning a verbal confrontation -- in which they gave as good as they got -- into a physical one.

The old man came over to cuff him after he sat down, which was a cue to any sensible person to back off instead of inflaming the situation.

As to the suggestion I'm not "man enough," that is a very verbally aggressive comment for you to make. Someone is now obligated to physically smack you down.

posted by rcade at 01:54 PM on September 04

Ushers should have been on the scene well before any of this went down. You shouldn't be allowed to holler obscenities incessantly to the offense of all those around you with no repercussion. Go sit by yourself in the upper deck if you want to make a scene. People like this disgust me and I can understand the woman and her father being fed up about it. Granted, laying hands on the guy was not the right way to go, but isn't it possible the ushers were already notified and opted not to do anything? I don't know how often this sort of thing happens at tennis matches so I don't know their "drunk unruly fan protocol".

posted by evixir at 01:56 PM on September 04

I went to a tennis match and a hockey baseball game broke out?

Fixed that for you.

posted by tommytrump at 02:23 PM on September 04

The old couple had no right to take it physical, regardless of what the punk was saying. He, and his lame friend, tried to stop the argument several times.

Speaking of the lame friend, where'd that guy disappear to? Either he's a complete chicken shit, or he's been put in that situation one too many times by the punk. I'm guessing the latter. (I'm assuming the guy sitting next to him was his friend, if it was just a guy that happened to be sitting next to him, then nevermind)

posted by dviking at 02:35 PM on September 04

It's hard to hear what she's saying, but the woman seems to giving as good as she is getting in the verbal asshat stakes. The young guy is being a loudmouth jerk, but he didn't look like getting violent until the old guy tried to throttle him. Even after he takes a dive, the woman starts with the shoving.

But yeah, where the hell was security?

posted by afx237vi at 02:35 PM on September 04

As to the suggestion I'm not "man enough," that is a very verbally aggressive comment for you to make. Someone is now obligated to physically smack you down.

Just living up to being a "macho dope," as you said. Name-calling sometimes leads to more name-calling, and sometimes it means you get smacked upside the head. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

As for the guy sitting down, so what? He was still cursing at the two, and eventually either the old man is going to 1) ignore it or 2) slap the guy in the teeth.

It may pain some people to see a self-centered prick get tackled to the ground and humiliated, and I understand the desire not to teach your children to respond to every taunt or react physically at the drop of a hat. However, I'm also of a mind that the only way to stop a guy like this from doing it for the rest of his life is to punch him once in the teeth. If I have to be the "macho dope" for that, so be it -- maybe it'll save you from having to shield him from your children down the road.

You're welcome.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:39 PM on September 04

If I have to be the "macho dope" for that, so be it

I'm wondering if you've ever actually done this. Because the night in jail and thousands on attorney's fees just aren't worth it. Not to mention the inevitable civil suit if I did this in Socal, instead of NYC.

posted by cjets at 04:44 PM on September 04

Just living up to being a "macho dope," as you said.

You can't possibly object to the word "macho." I think we can all agree that your decision to commit assault against perfect strangers to discourage verbal aggression is quite manly.

So that leaves "dope." I don't think you've said enough for me to change my mind about the intelligence of your vigilante campaign. As Cjets asks, have you assaulted people like this tennis fan in the past? Did this endear you to the sporting venue and the local authorities? Did you follow up to determine whether the person you assaulted had, in fact, been scared straight?

posted by rcade at 05:06 PM on September 04

...a young man attempting to bully an older woman and a man in his 60s...

Yes, the younger guy was being an obnoxious asshole. But it seems to me it was the woman who got up from her seat and invaded his space to get in his face about it. The her father(?), perhaps tired of a woman fighting his fight, gets into the act. They were way over the line. If the guy really bugged her that much, she should have went to an usher or security and let them handle it. It would have been more effective. And if the ass got thrown out, I hope the man and woman were right behind him.

And as far as childern having to witness this or anything else that is disagreeable. Well, life is disagreeable, it is hard, sometimes it sucks, and in the end everybody dies. To think you can shield them from life\'s \"unpleasantness\" is a nice fairy tale. I don\'t condone rubbing their face in it, but they have to learn, sometimes the hard way.

posted by steelergirl at 06:15 PM on September 04

Powerless people asserting whatever fantasy power they think they possess. Further evidence of atomization in our corporate mega-state. The proles fight each other; the owners watch, laugh, collect the profits.

posted by afl-aba at 07:36 PM on September 04

Not to derail but why are there slashies in my post?

posted by steelergirl at 08:53 PM on September 04

I'd have no problem living in a world where a douche acting like a douche gets slapped around...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:58 PM on September 04

As Cjets asks, have you assaulted people like this tennis fan in the past? Did this endear you to the sporting venue and the local authorities? Did you follow up to determine whether the person you assaulted had, in fact, been scared straight?

Yes, in a few instances, one of which escalated into punches being thrown.

I've stepped in between a man and a woman violently arguing in a parking lot (and then been punched in the back by the woman). I told a guy at a baseball game who was spilling beer and cursing loudly to tone it down, then told him I'd knock his teeth down his fucking throat if he didn't tone it down (he toned it down).

And I once smashed a guy in the face at a bar after he repeatedly made some extremely disgusting comments to some female patrons. Did he physcially make contact with any of them? No, he didn't. Did he upset them to the point of tears despite repeated warnings and rebukes? Yes, he did. I asked him to stop, he told me to fuck off -- and I dropped him.

In your eyes, I guess I'm supposed to be ashamed of that. I'm not. Do I know if the guy learned a lesson? Nope -- but I assume he's human, and that perhaps as a survival instinct he might begin to exhibit the same behaviour at a later date, then reflect on ending up lying on the floor and rethink his choice.

Should I be the guy delivering these lessons? I totally agree I'm not. But will I, if it appears I'm the only person willing to step in? Yes, I will. If that makes you think me "macho" or savage or whatever, I could care less.

I'm wondering if you've ever actually done this. Because the night in jail and thousands on attorney's fees just aren't worth it. Not to mention the inevitable civil suit if I did this in Socal, instead of NYC.

Perhaps it's where you live. Where I grew up (St. Louis area, generally the Midwest), people are not being taught to start fights -- but they aren't being taught to take a rash of shit, either.

Civil suits and police? The police were called in the bar instance, and they told the fellow I punched to STFU and get lost, and that if he bothered female patrons again, he'd end up in jail. Is that the law? No, it isn't -- but I've found from personal experience and as a reporter many police officers are pretty likely to look at the situation and be tougher on the instigator.

Of course, I suspect you would tab me as the instigator in the example I gave, and some of you have tabbed the woman and the older man as such in this instance. So be it, although I find it appalling to defend this jackass. Again, your choice.

But it seems to me it was the woman who got up from her seat and invaded his space to get in his face about it.

Your idea of personal space and mine differ. Yours appears to be that anything goes until the guy actually smacks someone. Mine is that -- as this jerk pointed out himself in regards to his paying for a ticket -- I have a right not to be cursed at and threatened. I'll assert that right, and when I feel like you're going to physically come at me, I'll do that myself first.

Could I be wrong? Of course I could -- but I guess you take your chances yelling and screaming at at a random stranger who might react the way I might ... or a woman and an old man at a tennis match. It doesn't surprise me, either, that in a crowd full of people who don't appear to be very appreciative of Pedeville, or his taunting Falco and her 75-year-old stroke victim father by telling them to come over to his seat and tell him to shut up.

I know this paints me as some old codger willing to engage in fisticuffs with any ruffian who dares cross my path. It's not true, of course, and I understand the stance of those who would not intervene. I just don't endorse it, and frankly, I think it explains why you see something like a random jackass going batshit crazy at a fucking tennis match on a woman and an older man.

There's just no fear of being called out for it by some punch-happy old codger any more.

EDIT: SteelerGirl, it happens to me also. I don't know what causes it, but if you go back on the edit, you can delete them out.

ALSO ON EDIT: From what I've read, security was not involved at all before the two men tumbled over the rows of seats. From the pictures linked here, though -- how the hell are you supposed to tell any of those guys are security?

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:11 PM on September 04

Maybe it's where I grew up, but I think it is dangerous to intervene. You think you did the right thing until you walk to your car and bullets start flying. I'm with rcade about teaching your kids to avoid getting in a physical confrontation if at all possible. There are just too many people walking around, especially young people, with weapons that they are ready and willing to use.

posted by bperk at 11:18 PM on September 04

You can't just smack people because they're pissing you off. The only justification for hitting someone is if they threaten to, or actually do, hit you first. Otherwise, find security or a police officer - seems they can hit or taze fairly indiscriminately on your behalf.

And even if someone does threaten to hit you first, I'm with bperk (and adding the caveat that maybe it's where I grew up): don't get into it with strangers because you just don't know who they are, who they're connected to, or what they might be carrying in their pocket.

That said, I see Fraze's point to some extent - the litigious society in which we live seems to have given a longer leash to mouthy idiots who know they can go a lot further before they actually get hit, and I agree that is a bad thing. I'm just not convinced that everyone walking about like Dirty Harry and knocking out mouthpieces the moment they say something a bit irritating is the way to fix the problem.

Slight derail - security were nowhere to be seen for a long time, but I get the feeling that if, instead of having a stand up bicker, these guys had all been sitting on the steps to get a better view, security would have swooped in like Batman within 30 seconds.

posted by JJ at 05:50 AM on September 05

Maybe it's where I grew up, but I think it is dangerous to intervene. You think you did the right thing until you walk to your car and bullets start flying. I'm with rcade about teaching your kids to avoid getting in a physical confrontation if at all possible.

Of course it's dangerous to intervene. I think that's why most people don't do it -- they're concerned about themselves or the threat of a lawsuit or whatever. However, I believe there are instances where those possibilities are the lesser of the evils available, and I think it's my moral duty to step in and attempt to either defuse the situation or stop it completely.

Simply put, had I been in the crowd, Pedeville would have had to come after me instead of a middle-aged woman and a 75-year-old man. That sea change may have been enough to shut him up, and if not and I end up punching him out, I can live with the consequences.

By the way, Pedeville has had a restraining order against him recently.

I'm just not convinced that everyone walking about like Dirty Harry and knocking out mouthpieces the moment they say something a bit irritating is the way to fix the problem.

That's a complete oversimplification of what I said. We're not talking about someone being annoying. We're talking about people who are being almost psychopathic in their inability to respect those around them.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:04 AM on September 05

No comments on why the young guy was drunk at a tennis match? Nobody goes to a tennis match and drinks beer like that were at a football/baseball game! Maybe he was upset because he figured out that he was at the wrong game!!

Hey wfrazerjr, you can sit by me at any game and defend my honor anytime. Obviously, there are not enough guys out there that would because they are afraid if someone was carrying. My boys are raised that you defend the people that cannot or won't defend themselves.

We don't know what happened before the video. How long was this dope harrassing these people and others around them? Maybe he provoked them for a long time and they had had enough. And I believe it was said that he told her to slap him if she was so annoyed by his mouth. I don't know that I could do that, but really, I'm glad they smacked him around. Bullies need to be put in their place and taught that people aren't going to put up with their crap anymore. Enough is enough. We have become so complacent with rude behavior because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings or we are afraid of what they may do to us. Oh for crying out loud!

posted by skippy at 11:00 AM on September 05

That's a complete oversimplification of what I said. ... We're talking about people who are being almost psychopathic in their inability to respect those around them.

It's not nice to call that old man and his daughter psychopaths. They lost their temper and didn't have the sense to back down from a verbal altercation. That doesn't make them crazy.

Anyone can get a restraining order. The more damning quote in your link is by the friend who said the guy's got a bad temper. But I think the friend's take matches what I saw in the videos: "He got attacked. What's he supposed to do? I'm sure he was dropping f-bombs, but the old guy started strangling him. He's an old guy. He shouldn't be starting fights."

I'm sorry that you took "macho dope" to be personally directed, but I was just explaining my thought process when I'm faced with a situation like the one at the U.S. Open -- starting a physical fight to respond to a purely verbal dispute is stupid. If you've had situations where a threat of violence or actual violence defused a situation, great.

But based on what you've told us, when you said to a fan that you'd "knock his teeth down his fucking throat" because he wouldn't stop cursing and spilling beer, you were just as bad as he was. If I'd been sitting nearby, I would have either notified ushers or moved to another seat.

This makes me a pussy, I guess. But I've got nothing to prove to anybody, so its easy for me to make rational decisions about the cost/benefit ratio of fighting somebody.

posted by rcade at 12:03 PM on September 05

And I believe it was said that he told her to slap him if she was so annoyed by his mouth.

He told her she could slap him again 20 times and it wouldn't deter him. I don't think he invited the original slap.

posted by rcade at 12:05 PM on September 05

They lost their temper and didn't have the sense to back down from a verbal altercation. That doesn't make them crazy.

The thing that strikes me in this situation is that the old man and his daughter had another option. Just go find an usher or security. Chances are Mouthy Mcdouchebag drops some F bombs on them and gets tossed. Plus it seems half the section would have backed them up with security.

Wouldn't it have been just as gratifying to watch the guy get thrown out and not risk head trauma or being banned from the Open?

Of course it's dangerous to intervene.

I have no problem with intervening. I've broken up many a fight and have told many people to shut up. I just draw the line at getting physical.

And as an adult in his mid-40's with three kids, a job and a mortgage, I've made that the decision that if I can walk away from a fist fight, I will.

posted by cjets at 12:55 PM on September 05

Wouldn't it have been just as gratifying to watch the guy get thrown out and not risk head trauma or being banned from the Open?

They'd even be able to put out a "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" on him, and watch him lose his mind.

posted by grum@work at 02:55 PM on September 05

Yours appears to be that anything goes until the guy actually smacks someone.

No, not really. I just don't want to get thrown out of an event that I paid good money to see. I have to admit I am pretty tolerant of mouthy people, I just consider the source and chalk it up to lack of intelligence. I swear and get profane myself on occasion. To get into a screaming match that devolves to a physical altercation is asking to be tossed along with the guy that was being anoying in the first place.

Security is there to do a job, I say let them deal with it. I would have told my dad "I'm going to the ladies room. Be right back" then went straight to the closest security guard and lodged my complaint. I don't engage in fisticuff.

posted by steelergirl at 05:51 PM on September 05

Speaking of the lame friend, where'd that guy disappear to?

The video embedded in this post is worth watching again just to see what the friend does. He gets up in the middle of the brawl, after the two guys fall over the seats, and nonchalantly moves to another seat a few rows up. He has cultivated his fight avoidance skills to a mastery few could achieve. He doesn't even seem to be watching the aftermath of the brawl.

posted by rcade at 10:00 AM on September 06

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