The Widdershins

When Does Fandom Cross the Line? A Guest Post by Fredster

Posted on: January 24, 2012

As many of you here at The Widdershins know, I am a big fan of LSU football.  Yes, I love my Tigers.  In addition, if you were to ask Chatblu I am more than certain she would say she absolutely loves her Georgia Bulldogs. Chat’s Dawgs and my Tigers were the respective winners of their SEC divisions and met each other in the championship game in Atlanta.  I am more than certain that Chat was cheering on her Dawgs just as loudly as I was cheering on my Tigers and indeed, Georgia led the game through the first half.  However, the Tigers gained control and the lead in the second half and my Tigers prevailed.  Chat and I talked after the game and we were able to discuss it in a calm and rational manner as friends are wont to do.

On January 9th the Tigers played the Alabama Crimson Tide for the BCS National Championship and to put it politely, it was a bloodbath by Alabama.  They gave the Tigers a good old-fashioned butt-whippin’.  The two top-ranked teams met, played and the better team that evening won. Since the game was played in New Orleans, naturally a good deal of drinking and partying (or crying) ensued after the game.  Fans from both sides took to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street either to celebrate victory or to drown their sorrows at a loss after a perfect season.

These two teams met earlier in the regular season at Alabama’s Bryant-Denny stadium in Tuscaloosa Alabama.  There was good-natured and spirited teasing and chanting of “Tiger Bait” and “Roll Tide” for the game.  In addition, Chef John Folse and Rick Tramonto decided to hold a LouisBama Gumbo Bowl to benefit two charities working in the relief process from the devastating Tuscaloosa tornado earlier in the year. The outcome of the game was a score of LSU 9 – Alabama 6.  Vigorous discussions have ensued since the game as to whether LSU won or if the Tide cost themselves the game.  (this is an important difference to Tide fans)

So, you could say that blood had been boiling on the Tide fans’ part and they were definitely looking forward to the rematch.  As I said above, the Tide won the game handily.

Now cut to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street after the game and there was a group of Tide fans who were not quite feeling “magnanimous in victory”, shall we say.  This group of fans entered a Krystal Hamburger restaurant in the 100 block of Bourbon Street and came across an LSU fan who was apparently so drunk that he was completely and totally unconscious from the amount of alcohol he had consumed.  The Tide “fans” thought it would be great fun to place empty Krystal burger boxes on his head, spilt some soft drink on him and poked a finger in his nose and ear.  The kid moved once to change his position laying on the counter but did not awaken completely.  Then a Mr. Brian Downing of Smiths Station Alabama decided a little bit more fun needed to be had at the expense of the unconsious young man.  Mr. Downing then proceeded to unbutton his jeans, expose his testicles and then “tea-bag” the passed-out LSU fan, much to the delight of his cohorts circling around Mr. Downing and his victim, and snapping pictures with their camera phones.  There is a video of this but I refrain from putting it here for obvious reasons.  Besides which, Mr. Downing’s testicles were not much to see…think Grape Nuts.

I use the term “victim” because Mr. Downing (his name not known at the time) is now wanted by the New Orleans Police Department on a charge of sexual battery upon another person.

Until earlier this afternoon Jan. 19th, no one knew who the assailant was (or his cohorts were not “fessing up”).  One of the embarrassing things (among many) for Mr. Downing is that his second cousin is the sheriff of Russell County Alabama.  Sheriff Taylor (possibly related to Sheriff Andy of Mayberry?) saw the video, and identified his cousin as the alleged perpetrator.

After some discussions, Mr. Downing and his attorney left Smiths Station to go to New Orleans to meet with the N.O.P.D.  Mr. Downing arrived in New Orleans around 10:00 p.m. and turned himself in to NOPD officers.

I have no idea what the fate of Brian Downing will be, but I can tell you what is at risk for him:

  • He is 32 and has a wife and one child.
  • He was employed as a store manager for Hibbett Sports but has subsequently been fired from his job.
  • He now faces the possibility of being charged with a sex crime and if convicted will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.  I do not believe claiming he was drunk will be an acceptable excuse this time.

So I have to ask dear Widdershins:  When did fandom cross the line?  Was it at first placing food articles on the drunken LSU fan?  Was it with sticking fingers in his nose and ear?  And what of all of the other “fans” who were surrounding the victim?  Were they not even concerned that the young man may have been something other than drunk, such as some type of medical situation?  At what point did the “herd mentality” take over?

Football rivalries have been with us for many years and are a part of the collegiate experience, but you have to draw a line somewhere.

I heard that the University of Alabama put out a statement regarding the assault; however a review of their website and a search shows nothing.

Lastly, concerning Mr. Downing, all I can do is quote a famous but fictitious Alabamian:

“Mama says, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.'”   (Forrest Gump)

This is an open thread.

30 Responses to "When Does Fandom Cross the Line? A Guest Post by Fredster"

Spot on, Fredster. Sports have become less sportsmanlike, even in the South, where bad manners are generally unacceptable. For some reason, at certain schools, rudeness to your opponent is now just fine and dandy. I cringe when I watch my ‘Dawgs visit a field and have the home team fans boo. While enthusiastic applause is not expected, remember that there would be no game without your opponent. Stay classy, people.

As usual, some fool decides to misbehave and ruin a perfectly good time for everyone else.

Unfortunately this bad behavior is as evident even in games involving young children so it is no surprise when it carries over into adult events.

Competition has sunk to levels of stupidity when alcohol plays a huge roll.

Great post, Fredster!

harassing someone so drunk they are unconscious is not fandom – it is criminal assault. several things ran through my mind while reading this. first, as mentioned, the ‘drunk’ young man could have been in distress – alcohol poisoning kills, diabetic seizures mirror drunkeness and they kill etc. second what kind of a depraved moron would even think of doing what this perpretrator allegedly did. Third if true, his wfe should refuse to take this moron back without intensive therapy. jmho of course, but honestly I’m sure we’ve all been inebriated at some point and have never considered sexually assaulting another person.
very thoughtful post Fredster and i hope you will do more!

Yankee fans are known to be rude, crude and socially unacceptable, but molesting an unconscious person is usually not in their wheelhouse. This man deserves whatever he gets.

We are so happy that Fuzzy and Fredster have posted recently. Remember, anyone can be a Widdershin – all you have to do is send us a post at:

widdershinssubmissions at

BTW, don’t miss Chatblu’s SOTU drinking game post tonight! If you’re putting yourself through the torture of watching Dear Reader, you might as well make it fun.

Going to a sports game can be dangerous to your health. This fan gets sexually assaulted – while a crowd cheers. (It says as much about that crowd as it does about the man leading the assault.) A while ago there was a story of a man beaten into a coma after a game – his assailants were finally apprehended not too long ago. Riots break out after big games. I don’t get it. Why do people have so little control over themselves? Why are we regressing into cavemen?

Good to see you, D. We missed you yesterday.

Hey chat!!!

@5 – Good questions, DYB.

I don’t know, but it seems like we as a society are being encouraged to act like spoiled children. Look at all the “reality” programming that you see, and tell me if there are any grownups on these shows. Jersey Shore? Housewives in Various Locations? Kardashians? 19 Children and Counting? (What kind of selfish *ssh0les have 19 children these days?) I don’t think so. These are our role models, people who conspicuously consume and have no impulse control whatsoever. (Is it a coincidence that these types of people are necessary for a consumer-driven economy to flourish?)

I think one reason people were drawn to Obama was that he seemed to be a throwback to when people were more civilized. Unfortunately, the operative word there was “seemed to be.”

Yes, but SEC football was, for a number of years, intense competition and century-old rivalries without overt nastiness. It hurts to watch fans hurling insults at opponents. It hurts to watch coaches run up the score and keep their first teams in when they are up by forty points. Now, sometimes you have people who have never played a lick all season in and they are still scoring, but that’s entirely different. Part of the problem is the BCS “quality of win” criteria. Its no longer acceptable to win by ten points and have the QB kneel down and refuse to cross the goal line, that’s interpreted as being “too nice”. It kills me to hear that applied to my school’s coach with the inference that he does not go for the jugular often enough. Apparently, it;s now essential to act like jerks from the top down to be considered contenders.

Of course, international sports are no better. Honduras once went to war over the outcome of a soccer match:

A little ruff for Rick in Florida!

Twinkle, twinkle, little candidate………….

Uppity let us know this was posted. Great job Fredster. It is getting absurd- a few years back after a Steelers/Jax game we watched as Steeler fans smashed windshields and dragged their fellow Squealers out of vehicles and beat them on the street. One caught sight of us- and my then mid 80’s mother in law in her Jaguars gear- and proceeded to expose himself and urinate at her feet. I thought we were all going to die. My MIL put her hand on my husband’s arm and said “Come dear, I taught you better than to respond to riff raff”
I seriously thought we were going to die. The guy was so stunned by what she said he just stood there with his junk in hand and his mouth open.

@9 – Thanks for educating me on that topic, Chat. As you know I am pretty clueless about the culture of college football fandom. I didn’t know there was a more genteel tradition that is being destroyed in favor of thuggery and viciousness. How awful. 😦

@13 – OMG PMM! I’m so glad you’re okay. I expect that on the New York subway from homeless crazoids, not from perfectly sane football fans! What is WRONG with these people?!

I’m not saying that you don;t play to win – you do. And I’m not saying that you don;t care about the outcome – you do. I am saying that, whatever the outcome, conducting yourself as a reasonable human being would is always preferable to acting out.

Thanks everyone for your comments. I wrote this because I was just outraged that some idiot would do this, first in a public place, and the secondly apparently with a group of “supporters” not doing a thing about it! It wasn’t because the Tigers lost the game; they deserved it the way they played or didn’t play, I just had trouble with the mindset involved.

And lately it does seem to be something with Alabama fans. After Auburn won the 2010 Iron Bowl, an Alabama fan, poisoned the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. AU has a tradition of rolling the trees after a victory. What did that accomplish?

And there were some pieces and video, after the Saints game in San Francisco where Saints fans were talking about how rude the 49ers fans were and one woman related that when she had to go to the restroom, a 49er fan got up and he followed her, making her frightened.

Enjoy a victory? Yes. But there are lines we are not or should not cross.

Great post Fredster! Uppity sent me here to see what you were up to. Glad she did. As others have said, “Downing” and the crowd cheering him on deserve everything they get. In LA at the opening of baseball season, a visiting SFGiants fan beat an LA fan, an EMT, so badly, he was brain dead on arrival at a hispital. There was a story in SI about it. Nothing like it happened around here (Wis). Over the line, no question.

What’s really weird is that on the field, guys get penalized for “overcelebration.” It seems like they throw that flag for the most innocuous things, or for things that get you excited for the team that scored.

For example, during the 49ers game last Sunday, I was rooting for the Giants (GO BIG BLUE!), but still thought it was cute when Vernon Davis of the 49ers got up on the cameraman’s stand to celebrate his touchdown. Also, things like jumping up and down and going to the stands to slap the fans’ hands…that is totally cool and understandable to me.

I don’t know, I feel like the players are not allowed to show their happiness about the incredible athletic feats they perform.

I understand penalizing taunting the other team – that’s just rude and deserves to be penalized. But then again, last weekend I saw the players go at each other and draw blood without being penalized.

Ah, football. I’ll never get it, I don’t think.

P.S. Welcome Uppityites! We love our Upps around here. 🙂

Uppity sent me here .great article.hugsabunch!!! 🙂

Or the Penn state football fans — support the school/coach/team — to hell with the victims and the cover-ups.

In many states support of the teams is rather like a cult — I can almost see the Greeks & Romans supporting their teams. Not a whole lot has changed.

Oh — the look on the face of that creep as he assaulted the victim. And the victim could have been suffering from some unknown medical condition. Currently an in-law is being tested for the cause of his passing out for 20 minutes. Thankfully he felt something was wrong and pulled his car off the highway and into some bushes before passing out. No one stopped to check — perhaps they thought he need a nap or something?

Good discussion topic Fredster — mob behavior.

Great job Fredster!!! This is an important topic that needs to be canvassed periodically. Its sad that our society has come down to this. Last year, two thugs @ Dodger Stadium beat a SF Giants fan senseless, the guy was in the hospital for months & will never go back to work. Shameful. I’ve been going to Dodger Stadium since I was a tiny tot, and it was always such a fun, happy experience. We didn’t even bother going at all last season (partly due to the fact that we hate the new Dodgers owner, like everyone else in socal). But sports have definitely changed. Most stadiums now flash messages over their giant screens now reminding people to be good sports. Didn’t parents and teachers use to teach that?


MB@18 said: But then again, last weekend I saw the players go at each other and draw blood without being penalized.

The previous weekend with the Saints/49ers, I saw some things, that to me, were questionable, however I think the refs have been holding those flags more in the playoffs than they did in the regular season.

I thought the Vernon Davis thing was cute too.

And thanks again for all the comments and compliments. This incident was just so far over the line I wanted to write a post about it and thank MB for giving me the privilege of doing so.

I didn’t go into this in the post but the son of a tv sportscaster from Mobile AL was one, who in the vid, was going to pull out his junk but his girlfriend stopped him. He was publicly identified and so was the girlfriend. I did some looking and the girlfriend did have facebook and twitter pages but they were taken down. I wonder why?

And when this first blew up after Downing was identified, I could not believe that was conducting a “poll” to see which was worse: the tea-bagger or the tree poisoner! When I read that I just shook my head in disbelief. 😯

At what point did he go over the line. overall, I’d guess when he was born. The freak is a definite argument for retroactive abortion. I wish him everything he deserves, just so long as it’s not good. And that goes for his cheering buddies too. What a bunch of pervs.

Uppity said: At what point did he go over the line. overall, I’d guess when he was born.

Point taken! His next scheduled court date is sometime in March. I’m waiting to see if that will include a trial or what. I am really conflicted over what his punishment should be. I don’t want something as trifling as indecent exposure because it *was* a sexual assault on the drunken LSU kid. But if he *is* convicted of that, he’s marked as a sex offender the rest of his life. By the same token, a bunch of the “bammers” invaded our online site, and kept commenting that what he did “wasn’t so bad”. Huh? Well then, can I try that on your sister?

Fredster you grow accustomed to those kind of comments from the Morally Bankrupt Generation. And yeah, they probably wouldn’t care if you tried it on their sister either, since they have little respect for women thanks to their Enabler.

madamab at #19: And your Upps loves you too. And I just saw an old note I wrote to myself to post my chicken marsala recipe in my recipe tab for you. I shall take care of it tonight.

New post up at 8 pm.

@28 – You rock, Uppity!

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