You Have The Right ... To Remain A Fan

Ever happen to you? Getty Images

This correlates with a piece on heckling from the February 9, 2009 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Perp: Mark Greggersen, 26, construction worker, Show Low, Ariz.
Scene: Giants at Diamondbacks, April 17, 2006

Motive: I had an issue with the integrity of baseball and steroids. Barry Bonds brought it to a head.

Crime: Security had already made me throw away a necklace of syringes. But they didn't find the tube of Icy Hot wrapped with a sticker that read "The Cream." My sister and nephew were with me, so I handed her the keys to my truck and said, "I might get arrested." Then I threw the tube on the field. Bonds turned and looked over his shoulder like, "Oh, here we go again."

Getting Pinched: Security took me to the jail under the stadium. From there I was escorted to the downtown Phoenix jail. The officers seemed to get a kick out of what I had done—when I was checking out, they pulled up a Barry Bonds joke on the computer.

Law and Order: I pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $250 fine. The DA said he couldn't drop the charges because it was a national case and they had to make an example of me. He even said, "I understand why you did it. I don't like Bonds either."

On Second Thought: Would I take a stand for something I believe in with sports? Yeah. My friends still make fun of me, but doing what I did was important to me.

Perp: Ivan Cash, 23, graphic designer, San Francisco
Scene: Outside Madison Square Garden, Jan. 2, 2008

Motive: We made T-shirts in a design class I was taking. Instead of "Don't hate the player, hate the game", I went with "Don't Hate the Player or the Game, Hate the Coach," with a little stamp of Isiah Thomas. My friends said I should sell them at MSG.

Crime: I found a guy who let me sell the shirts through his vendor's license, and I went three games without a problem. At the fourth, the cops questioned me as I was setting up. I told them I was waiting for my vendor, but they said I was intending to sell, which is illegal without a license. They put handcuffs on me.

Getting Pinched: At the precinct, I asked an officer if the Garden had alerted them. He said yes. But my arresting officer denied it, so who knows? Photos of the shirt had been in the papers and on TV. The Knicks were probably unhappy about the bad press.

Law and Order: Fortunately, the city declined to prosecute.

On Second Thought: I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Getting arrested—while at first frustrating—turned out to be a blessing. I got a lot of publicity and positive feedback. I freelance as an art director, and many creative directors who see my portfolio find the "shirts" section interesting.

Perp: Troy Sexton, 35, comptroller, Hurricane, W.Va.
Scene: Dodgers at Reds, June 17, 2008

Motive: My favorite player, Dodgers pitcher Joe Beimel, had just gotten out of a tight spot. So I took off my Beimel jersey, held it up and screamed his name.

Crime: When I turned around, I heard a lot of boos. So I gave the Reds fans the finger, probably because I was drunk. A man tugged at my arm and told me to stop (he was right; there were kids around), but I didn't like him touching me. So I yelled, "You'd better get off me." But he wouldn't, so I pushed him, and he fell down the stairs.

Getting Pinched: As I turned back to my seat, I got pushed to the ground. Security threw the cuffs on me and got me out fast. I wanted to get my jersey and video camera, but they wouldn't let me. Later, I asked for help getting my stuff back. When they wouldn't help, I cussed them out.

Law and Order: I went to the Hamilton County jail and was charged with two misdemeanors: public intoxication and resisting arrest. I agreed to plead guilty to the first, and they dropped the second. I was also banned from Great American Ball Park.

On Second Thought: I was wrong. If I hadn't been drinking, I probably wouldn't have given the fans the finger. And if I don't do that, the guy doesn't put his hands on me. It wasn't worth it; this follows you around.

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