NFL Game Crasher Gets Wake-Up Call By Rams Linebacker
If you’ve been reading my editorials, you know that advocacy for victims of violence is a high priority for me.
To be clear, I do not support needless violence, particularly acts that target women, children, and the downtrodden.
What you may not know about me is that I’m a big-ass kid in a grown man’s body. Every so often, something happens out in the world and that kid inside of me laughs his balls off.
On Monday, October 3, 2022, the Los Angeles Rams faced off against the San Francisco 49ers.
During the first half, a protestor identified as Alex Taylor (per Fox Sports) illegally ran onto the field with some type of container emitting a mysterious pink smoke while being chased by stadium security.
The protestor then runs towards the Rams' sideline at which time he was leveled shoulder-first by Rams starting linebacker, Bobby Wagner.
Taylor was then handcuffed and escorted off of the field.
According to TMZ, the man was an “… activist for the Berkeley, California-based animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere.” who was attempting to “… raise awareness for a trial involving the alleged theft of pigs from a factory farm.”
Now, I say keep your hands to yourself and don’t antagonize people because you may get what’s coming to you. Take your pick of any of those idiots that crossed barriers at zoos so, they could pet wild animals — lions, polar bears, and apes who were then attacked by the “wild” animal.
The same applies to these brain surgeons that took arms against the nation’s capital on January 6 and are now saddened by prison sentences and loss of income.
Pick any moment in your life where you were at a bar and some drunk moron poked and prodded other customers only to find themselves either in a jail cell or the hospital emergency room.
The barriers to expression are low for anyone wanting to make a public statement on any topic under the sun. There are at least five free social media platforms where you can remove your smartphone from your pocket, hit record, and voila! You can speak as long and incoherently as you’d like without getting laid out by a 6’0, 240lb linebacker — a person that plays one of the most fierce and brutal positions in all of sports!
Bobby Wagner is a six-time, first-team all-pro, ex-super bowl champion. Before joining the Rams, he played on one of the NFL’s most feared defenses in Seattle nicknamed The Legion of Boom. That’s not the name of some laundry service that does fluff-and-fold. It’s a play-on-words based on the name of the villainous version of the Justice League from the DC universe — The Legion of Doom.
If there was a job description for Wagner’s former defensive teammates, “kicking ass” would be the first sentence in that job description, and Taylor willingly paraded into Wagner’s vicinity with a can emitting that mysterious pink smoke. I can’t think of a less intimidating move this person could have pulled several feet away from physically elite, dangerous men. Maybe unless the person had a pink boa around his neck and was reading a copy of “Eat Pray Love” while hand-feeding bunnies.
One of the bullet points I love about this debacle is a quote made by Bobby Wagner. According to an article in ESPN, Bobby said, “I’m more concerned about the security guard that was hurt trying to chase him… You just got to do what you got to do.”
That’s a reasonable assertion. There is precedence for dangerous people crashing performances and harming the talent.
We all know what happened to Chris Rock last March at the Oscars with the infamous slap.
Several months ago, an attacker charged Dave Chapelle at the Hollywood Bowl during a concert and was armed with some type of weapon with a blade.
A woman sitting courtside at an NBA game was tackled by an alert staff member just as she ran onto the court.
Three years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger was assaulted at a fitness event in South Africa where children were in attendance. The on-camera assault was captured when this idiot kicked the unsuspecting Schwarzenegger who was having a conversation.
These aren’t necessarily apple-to-apple comparisons, but who’s to say that an athlete, coach, or official isn’t at risk of bodily harm given the way violence has been trending over the last couple of years?
To that incident, I say good for Bobby Wagner. Nicely done, sir. Your Seahawks used to break my heart when beating my beloved 49ers back in the day, but since you’re here in LA and more than willing to stop this kind of foolishness, I’m a fan, sir.
Sometimes life boils down to our discipline or the discipline of others. If these trespassers and attackers won’t govern their own behavior, then maybe the Bobby Wagners of the world will remind them of the value of self-control.
In no way am I saying that Taylor’s cause is BS. I don’t like the idea of animals being mistreated. Humane treatment of animals is the way to go in putting food into our supply chain. However, the act of people illegally bursting onto venues as a vehicle for their message is unacceptable.
Here’s the thing: If you feel that you need to illegally crash an event and run around like a fool with some visual gimmick, then you, my friend, need to work on your messaging and communication skills. Not everyone will handle you with kid gloves. Check the video of the guy from the Dave Chappelle aftermath.
Imani Kaliid is a Los Angeles native, host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power” (Roku TV, Amazon Fire), author of “There Was Violence” and advocate for victims of violent trauma. Follow him on Twitter: @SurvivorImaniK