We can’t say for sure what the fan above did to deserve the face full of Mace or pepper spray he got from Penn State police officers at Saturday night’s epic football game against Michigan, but it’s probably safe to say he stopped whatever it was shortly after this photo was taken.
Attempts to contact university police chief Tyrone Parham were unsuccessful Sunday, but with no context, it looks like a bit of an overreaction by the officers. The fan appears to already be handcuffed, there are other spectators in the area — Mace is not exactly easy to contain — and really, the apparent perp looks like he just wanted to be anywhere but where he was.
But there may have been more to the decision to spray the fan than meets the badly burning eye, according to one Deadspin reader, who implied that No. 47’s transgression may have been deserving of an eyeful and then some:
”I was sitting in the section next to this guy. He was standing for every play with his buddy and became confrontational with those around him. The people behind were getting pissed and some lady actually had enough and hit him. Mid way through the 2nd after Michigan had scored he started taunting everyone and it looked like he was about to start a fight in the stands. Security came up and escorted him down to the front when he grabbed the railing and refused to leave. He ended up talking [sic] some swings at the state police who were arresting which is why he got pepper sprayed.”
At first, I wanted to think this was just what happens to an outsider when he makes off with someone’s box of grilled stickies, but if he really was swinging on police officers, the guy is probably lucky that the pepper spray was all he got.
On the bright side, at least the fan didn’t have to see the end of Michigan’s four-overtime loss — not that he could have, even if he wanted to.