Sometimes emotions get the best of people, and this unfortunately quite often in sports. We’ve seen teammates square up to each other and brawls erupt between teams. Usually, these flashpoints fizzle out very quickly and the sports stars just get on with it. However, something much more sinister is when fans have assaulted athletes.
Fan assaults can occur in many ways. The most common way is fans throwing items at the players as we’ve seen far too often in the 2021 NBA postseason. But sometimes it gets even more violent. So-called “fans” have even entered the field of play and physically attacked athletes and officials with their fists. Check out the full list of fan attacks via Bleacher Report below.
25. Carl Everett – 2003
First of all, throwing items at athletes is obviously a terrible thing to do. They don’t deserve such treatment as they’re human beings just like everyone else. It’s also an 0ffense likely to earn the perpetrator a ban from a stadium or venue. Usually, people throw bottles, drinks cups, or food-related debris. However, Everett experienced one of the oddest missiles ever.
For some reason, a fan threw their cellphone at the Texas Rangers rightfielder. Remember, in 2003, phones were like bricks. A Nokia was a lethal weapon. Security found the fans and handed them over to the police. It was such a strange thing to do because phones are expensive too. Overall, it was a moronic moment.
The NBA Playoffs saw some ridiculous fan behavior in 2021. As the injured Westbrook walked off the court, a fan dumped a carton of popcorn over his head. The Wizards star tried to confront the Sixers fan but security led him away. It was probably for the best because Westbrook is a physical specimen. Nevertheless, this was a disgraceful thing to do.
First, fans were lucky to be present for postseason games. Many sports events around the world had zero or greatly reduced attendance because of the global health crisis. Secondly, it’s just such a nasty thing to do because these athletes give everything for fans’ entertainment. Finally, the idiot surely knows they’ll receive a lifetime ban for their actions, so it was just stupid.
Sonnen was one of the UFC’s biggest stars during his fighting career. ‘The American Gangster’ had some great fights and was seconds away from beating all-time legend Anderson Silva. However, his rivalry with a different Silva – Wanderlei – is the reason why he makes this list. Sonnen is clearly notorious for his trash talk. Many Brazilians felt assaulted because of some of his comments about their nation.
The American was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Wand and appeared at the Finale. He shook hands with members of the crowd after the game. Then, a Silva fan began throwing punches at him. He roared that he was from Brazil and cursed at Sonnen. Security grabbed him and took him away before he could hurt Sonnen. but it was a near miss.
Athletes react in different ways to fan violence. Some will stand back and appeared bemused, others step up and fight back. That’s exactly what Sheffield did when a fan assaulted him at Fenway Park. The Yankees star was fielding a ball in play against the Red Sox when the incident occurred. Overall, it didn’t go down the way the thug expected.
He attempted to punch Sheffield but Sheffield didn’t take this lying down. He went after the fan with his baseball bat and was prepared to beat the living daylights out of him. Security saved Sheffield from himself and kicked the fan out of the stadium. He received a lifetime ban from Fenway Park. But he was more lucky Sheffield didn’t ruin him.
Figo was one of the best Portuguese players ever. However, he committed the ultimate sin of leaving Barcelona for Real Madrid. Barca fans saw this as a massive betrayal because Madrid was their main rival. The first time Figo played against his old team, he experienced hatred in its most raw form. We mean this in the literal sense.
His old fans bombarded him with items including an actual pig’s head. How they managed to get this past security, nobody knows. But they did and it became one of the most iconic shots in La Liga history. However, Figo didn’t really care because he made millions of dollars from the move. Still, it was a wild moment.
Kolesnik had a brief period in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche. He played a few games for the franchise yet never established himself as a starter. After spending a couple of seasons with their affiliate, he went back to Europe. The Kazakh started for Salavat Yulaev UFA in the KHL when a fan violently assaulted him.
The goaltender was minding his own business on the team bench. Then a fan smacked him over the head with a stick. This concussed Kolesnik and forced him to leave the game. The other team received a fine because they couldn’t control their fans, but the poor player had an injury and didn’t even play.
Unlike most people on this list, Diaz isn’t an athlete. He’s an MLB umpire, but this scene was too shocking to leave off of this list. The Chicago White Sox hosted the Kansas City Royals in a Tuesday night baseball game. After the eighth inning, a moment stunning watching fans and players around the world.
A fan charged past security and assaulted Diaz. He wrapped his arms around Diaz’s legs like it was a game of rugby. But Diaz fended him off and finally, the security intercepted him. Furthermore, Diaz left the attacker with minor injuries. The official pointed to his self-defense training after the game.
Groenhart is a former Dutch kickboxer who had a great career. He fought for massive promotions like Glory and K-1. While he never received mainstream acclaim, he went viral after one wild incident. Groenhart fought Harut Grigorian in Paris when the Armenian inexplicably turned his back. Then, the Dutch star knocked him out.
He attacked a legal target and the referee hadn’t intervened so it was an acceptable knockout. However, Grigorian’s fans didn’t agree. They staged an invasion and attacked Groenhart. Security struggled to rescue the stricken Dutch fighter and several people faced arrest. It was a crazy ending to the night. In the end, Grigorian defeated Groenhart in a rematch in Chicago.
South Africa played New Zealand in a Tri-Nations rugby game in 2002. As two of rugby’s powerhouses, games between these two teams are always exciting. Unfortunately, one drunk fan took it too far. He climbed over the fence and charged at the referee like a bull. The Irish official suffered a dislocated shoulder and fell to the floor in agony.
However, the man was so drunk he didn’t think about where he was. The field was full of giant men who received special training in tackling other humans. New Zealand’s iconic captain McCaw took the drunk down and held him there until police arrested him. The fan received a lifetime ban with the added bonus of three months in jail.
A Champion’s League winner with A.C Milan, Dida spent 10 years with the Italian giants. He tarnished his reputation in one moment against Celtic at Parkhead. The teams met in the Champion’s League when a strange incident occurred. A fan assaulted him and Dida dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
When we say ‘assaulted’ we mean that he ran onto the field. Then, he tapped the Brazilian on the shoulder as he ran past. However, the goalkeeper collapsed holding his face and required a stretcher to leave the field. UEFA suspended him for two games because he feigned injury. Nobody knows what he was thinking because it was so weird.
‘The Immortal’ was a big fan favorite in his fighting prime. However, he learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea to mess with Brazilian fans. They are one of the most passionate MMA nations in the world. Fighters discover how partisan they are when they travel to the South American nation. Brown made a mistake by flipping off the fans at a weigh-in in Curitiba.
Brown was eating his breakfast in the hotel when somebody assaulted him from behind. They sucker-punched him in the back of his head and ran off. Meanwhile, he experienced bottles being thrown at him and a lot of boos. The welterweight isn’t the first fighter to suffer the wrath of Brazil, but his ordeal was worse than most.
Spitting is one of the most heinous acts in sports. Most athletes probably prefer a punch than a random attacker’s bodily fluids. It’s the ultimate symbol of contempt and disgust. Athletes who spit on their rivals endure a lot of hate after. The only thing worse is when a fan spits on an athlete. Atlanta Hawks point guard Young experienced this in the playoffs.
The Hawks played the New York Knicks when this vile moment occurred. It happened in the second game of the series in Madison Square Garden. The fan spat on Young and the NBA world reacted furiously. Meanwhile, the Knicks apologized to Young and banned the fan from Madison Square Garden indefinitely.
One of England’s most exciting soccer players, Grealish is a great athlete. The Aston Villa captain possesses great skills and elite vision. However, he had a tough introduction to the Second City Derby. This is one of England’s great soccer rivalries. Villa plays their local rivals, Birmingham City, in a battle for city supremacy.
One of the most shocking scenes of the season occurred in the tenth minute of the game. However, it had nothing to do with soccer. A fan ran onto the field and assaulted the player. He punched Grealish on the back of his head. The blow staggered him and he dropped to his knees. Stewards caught the pitch invader and then police arrested him on assault charges.
One of the most outrageous fan assaults ever, this was disgraceful attack. Gamboa was the first base coach for the Kansas City Royals when a pair of fans assaulted him. The team traveled to Chicago for a game against the White Sox. The Royals were leading 2-1 when a father and son duo hopped the fence and targeted Gamboa.
William Ligue and his son, William III, violently attacked him for no reason. The veteran coach suffered permanent hearing loss in one ear. Meanwhile, the pair of cretins went to jail. Over the years they’ve been in and out of prison for drug offenses, DUIs, and petty crime. But Gamboa unfortunately lives with the consequences of their actions.
John spent his entire soccer career with F.C Dallas in the MLS. The center-back forged a reputation for himself as a reliable defender. Dallas played the L.A. Galaxy in 2013 when John popped up with a late winner for his team. He turned away in celebration but then dropped to the ground. It took a few moments for people to realize what had happened.
In short, a Galaxy fan assaulted him with a beer bottle. They launched it at him from the stands and it bounced off of his head. John rose gingerly to his feet and finished the final five minutes of the game. However, the impact split his head open and he required staples to seal the wound. Meanwhile, law enforcement arrested the perpetrator.
Argentina’s Ginobili was a master of the dark arts. He drew fans like Leonardo Da Vinci drew pictures. However, Da Vinci never upset the Utah Jazz as Ginobili achieved. The San Antonio Spurs played the Jazz in the Western Conference Finals. Ginobili’s antics frustrated Utah and their fans, but no one expected their violent reaction.
Officials ejected Utah star Derek Fisher and their head coach Jerry Sloan from the game. Ginobili drew four technical fouls in one quarter and this frustrated them. Utah fans launched all kinds of debris at San Antonio’s players. They ran off the field and took shelter in the locker room after the fans assaulted them.
This was the single craziest incident in the history of the NBA. The Pistons-Pacers brawl occurred when the two teams met in Auburn Hills. Indiana was ahead when Ron Artest fouled Ben Wallace from behind. The latter reacted furiously and soon both teams were throwing fists at each other. However, it escalated much further than this.
In a bid to chill out, Artest lay down on the scorer’s table. Then, a fan attacked him by launching a drink at him. This was like waving a red flag at a bull. In the following chaos, players and spectators fought like football hooligans. Several stars faced criminal charges for their roles in the brawl while nine earned suspensions and massive fines.
In 2020, Tyson fought Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition match. Millions of people around the world watched the two men fight to a draw in Los Angeles. Tyson showed flashes of his old brilliance while Jones hung on for dear life. But a news report revealed that the fights didn’t finish after the bell rang. That’s because a man assaulted Tyson.
Firstly, it takes a special type of crazy person to assault ‘Iron Mike’ even at his age. The former heavyweight champion is one of the most terrifying men on the planet. Allegedly, a fan swung at the boxing icon before allegedly reaching for a concealed weapon. Security prevented him from doing so. Finally, police arrested him and brought him away.
Sometimes people experience moments of madness. However, it is not a good idea to try and assault one of the world’s most famous soccer players. Especially when millions of people around the world are watching the game live. However, 18-year-old Timothy Smith didn’t receive this memo. The trainee architect assaulted Lampard during a game against Tottenham Hotspurs.
Chelsea met Spurs in the Cup and won 2-1. But this didn’t please Smith. After the game, he went on a rampage and tried to punch Lampard. Luckily, Lampard dodged the blow. Then, assistant manager Rui Faria tackled Smith. Chelsea’s star striker Didier Drogba also landed a few blows to the foolish young man. It was embarrassing.
One of the most disgraceful incidents on this list showed the danger of throwing objects onto a playing field. Sheffield acted as the fourth official in a game between Swansea City and Newport County. There wasn’t much to note about this cup tie until a fan flung a coin toward the field. The consequences were severe.
The coin hit Sheffield on the head and severed an artery. Coins are small but they are very dense and sharp. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital where he required multiple stitches. Sheffield was just doing his job when the fan attacked him. It was unprovoked and a disgraceful moment for the sport.
Alvarado is a massive star in his native Costa Rica. The goalkeeper enjoyed a prosperous career in Europe. He also represented his nation on a number of occasions and featured in their World Cup squad. A fiery personality, he spent his longest spell in Europe with Dutch giants AZ Alkmaar. They played Ajax in a cup game when a fan assaulted him on the field.
A drunk 19-year-old charged toward him and tried to kick him. But he fell over and didn’t account for Alvarado’s response. The Costa Rican showed no mercy and kicked his would-be-attacker twice as he was on the ground. Then, the referee showed Alvarado a red card. The Alkmaar players walked off the field in protest. In the end, the game was replayed.
Mexican fans have a dubious reputation worldwide. Unfortunately, this is well-earned because there have been a number of unsavory incidents involving them. If things don’t go their athlete or team’s way, they have a tendency to react violently. A case in point was UFC Mexico. Jeremy Stephens received an eye poke from hometown hero Yair Rodriguez.
It occurred in the opening moments of the first round and Stephens was unable to continue. The referee ruled the fight a no-contest. However, the fans in attendance didn’t like this and assaulted the UFC employees with objects. Security escorted Stephens out of the arena as glass bottles rained down toward his head. In sum, it was shameful.
One of Germany’s best-supported soccer clubs, Schalke maintains a massive fanbase. They were title contenders for a number of seasons before mismanagement ruined them. Then they went into a severe decline and couldn’t afford to invest in the team. After a record losing run, they finally suffered relegation in 2021.
But this didn’t please their fans at all. In fact, they attacked their own players in the most hilarious manner. After their 21st defeat of the season, fans were waiting to greet the Schalke team bus. They bombarded their team with eggs while also releasing flares and fireworks. Schalke officials condemned the fan reaction but the fans didn’t care.
Piazza played for the Oakland Athletics against the Los Angeles Angels on a hot Wednesday afternoon. The A’s rallied but the heat must have affected one fan who assaulted Piazza. For some reason, he flung a water bottle at the star. It bounced off of Piazza’s helmet and left him in a state of fury. Nobody can blame him for that.
The Pennsylvanian pointed his bat accusingly at the attacker. Later, he confirmed that he planned to press charges. This was because he wanted the fan to spend the night in jail. Anaheim police arrested and booked the offender on assault and battery charges. Ronald Flores enjoyed the hospitality of the county jail for 30 days. In sum, it was what he deserved.
The Brooklyn Nets took on the Boston Celtics in the 2021 NBA postseason. One of the big storylines from this match-up was Irving’s return to TD Garden. Controversy arose when he appeared to step on the Celtics logo after the game. However, let’s remember that players spent the entire game running over it. In short, it’s really wasn’t that big a deal.
But one fan didn’t think so and took it upon themselves to assault Irving. They assaulted him by throwing a bottle in his direction. Police immediately arrested the attacker on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. That’s probably not what they were thinking when they flung a water bottle, but it was good enough.