If the off-the-job safety movement needs a poster child, Robert Hopkins should be on the short list. Earlier this month, a jury convicted Hopkins of reckless endangerment and assault for injuring a fan in a spectacular – and bone-headed – fall from the upper deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium during a Nov. 17 Bills-Jets game.
While his attorney argued that the whole thing was an accident, surveillance footage shows Hopkins repeatedly attempting to slide down a metal railing before losing his balance and tumbling into the 200 level below. Hopkins landed on another fan, who suffered spinal injuries.
“This wasn’t an accident,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Drmacich, quoted in the Buffalo News, told the jury. “This was Russian roulette with his own safety” and the safety of others. … It was so reckless that it was outrageous.”
It’s safe to say that EHS professionals, who often preach to workers about taking responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of others, probably find this type of behavior especially galling. But they can take some small comfort in the fact that Hopkins is facing a civil lawsuit and up to two years in jail. On top of that, his act of drunken stupidity cost him his job at a PR firm and earned him a lifetime ban from Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Unfortunately – as these videos show – Hopkins is just one of many sports fans who have put themselves and others in danger through their horrendous decisions. Meet some of the world’s dumbest sports fans.
'He Simply Drank Too Much'
The overwhelming anecdotal evidence suggests that 99 percent of stupid decisions are preceded by extended periods of alcohol consumption. Case in point: this Cleveland Browns fan, who opted to leave the relative safety of his seat to run onto the field during a Browns-Steelers game.
One can only speculate as to what he thought would happen. But clearly he didn’t consider the possibility that he might get body-slammed by linebacker James Harrison.
Crazed Man Tries to Shake Ichiro's Hand
In most situations, an extended hand is a gesture of civility. But when a fan storms the field and extends his hand to Ichiro Suzuki (or any player, for that matter), it’s cause for security to swarm the fan and tackle him.
As with most drunken fans, this man probably didn’t feel a thing. But you have to admire the textbook technique of the security guard who sprints toward him and executes a perfect tackle to subdue the crazed fan.
Call it karma or call it coincidence. Either way, an NHL fan who taunted Chicago Blackhawks left winger Steve Sullivan (after Sullivan took a high stick to the face) seemingly got his comeuppance when, later in the game, the puck flew into the stands and hit the heckler in the face.
Amazingly, the bloodied fan continued to jaw at Sullivan immediately after the incident, as Sullivan skated over to him and offered some choice words for the heckler.
Sadly, bizarre fan behavior isn’t limited to professional sports.
During a 2012 high school football game in California, a half-naked man brought the game to a halt when he wandered onto the field. His creepy, drunken display didn’t last long, however, as an off-duty sheriff’s deputy – whose son played for one of the teams – leveled the man and helped restrain him.
Five Seconds of Fame
It's hard to comprehend the thought process involved in making the decision to enter the field of play at a professional sporting event. But if this man was looking for 15 minutes – or even 15 seconds – of fame, he came up short, as he was on the field for no more than five seconds before a security guard leveled him.
Talk to the Glove
Hecklers pride themselves on believing they can get into opposing players' heads with their drunken gibberish. In this video, Tony Gwynn Jr. turns the tables on an annoying heckler with some pantomime glove work that leaves fans in stitches.