New England Patriots

By Ty Anderson,

Chiefs wideout (and the fastest man I’ve ever seen on an NFL field) Tyreek Hill was ‘cooled off’ by way of an unwelcoming beer and middle finger to the face mere moments after his game-tying touchdown at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.

The reaction was as swift as it was predictable: Classless Boston fans are at it again, and the eager pearl-clutching about the nightmarish New Englanders was upon us. A member of the Kansas City Chiefs radio broadcast team even said that Patriots fans — a group he called the worst in the league in his tweet, by the way, immediately confirming to you that he’s operating without any bias — stole a piece of equipment from their broadcast booth. That tweet has since been deleted (a true shock!), and from those I’ve talked to, successfully stealing any sort of equipment from the booths at Gillette is “next to impossible.”

Let’s start with a simple question: Should an athlete have a drink thrown at them when simply performing their job? Of course not. First of all, isn’t that just throwing, like, $16 down the drain? Boston rent is too expensive for such endeavors. It’s also a dopey thing to do because it’s nasty and definitely paints you, your friends, and your hometown in a bad light.

Now, I feel as if I should preface the following by noting that this is not to suggest that what happened to Hill after he ripped off his third and final touchdown in a 43-40 loss to the New England Patriots is anything even close to cool… But even considering rallying behind Hill, who apparently wants to take legal action against the fan (who has since been banned from all future events Gillette Stadium), as the Internet mob forms its exhausting line at the blood fountain?

Yeah, I’m gonna have to pass on that.

First of all, nobody is actually outraged at what happened to Hill. Not a single person. And if you know a person that says they are, please know that they are absolutely, without even a shadow of a doubt lying. Right to your face, too!

In reality, they instead see this as another chance to throw their hands up and talk about what a travesty this is, and how the beer-thrower deserves the worst. Seriously, go look at the initial reports of the incident and that fan’s subsequent ban from all things Gillette (can he even buy the razors? Inquiring minds want to know) — everybody wants to know his name to “expose him.” Why? So they can know all aspects of his personal life, of course, and use them to then ruin his life and force him into seclusion like Ben Kenobi because that’s what we do in the Year 2018. Out of all the supremely messed up things we do in today’s internet society — and there’s a whole heck of a lot — this mob mentality of vigilante justice is among the worst.

I mean, d-bag things that would simply get you ejected from stadiums 10 years ago now turn into “let’s ruin them forever” stuff. (Is this a Black Mirror episode? If not, who can I get in touch with to make it so? I think we’re onto something here.)

People socially profit when they drum up outrage (for some it’s their only form of power in an otherwise ineffective life as a simple cog in the machine — wow that got dark real fast), they know this, and it’s never going to be anything short of gross.

Also: It’s beer. Hill is an NFL player with direct access to about a billion towels on his sidelines. It was a totally disgraceful act, of course, but the truth is that it legitimately inconvenienced Hill for all of 13 seconds at most. It didn’t prevent him from a sideline celebration with teammates, and I would like to believe he would’ve been ready to go had the game gone to overtime. In a game played on artificial turfs built for ripping ACLs to shreds and sport in which dying a CTE-related death is almost a guarantee for all, we somehow worked ourselves up to a tizzy where we believed a cold drink could truly harm a player.

Absurdity doesn’t even begin to describe it.

It’s not as if Hill was victimized to swords on fire and snakes wrapped in anthrax being hurled his way down from the 300s.

But judging from what was said on social media — including some straight-up embarrassing cries for the arrest of a 21-year-old dummy Patriots fan and press conference from Foxboro police — you honestly woulda thought the fan threw battery acid in Hill’s face and that Hill had to crawl back into a hole for a 27-year nap until it’s time to feast on New England’s defense again.

It wasn’t. It was beer. Yet, we were a name release away from local news crews camping outside this dude’s apartment.

Again, absurdity doesn’t even begin to describe it.

“Well, Ty, how would you like it if somebody threw beer at you while you worked?”

See, this is stupid. That’s because almost any attempt to compare your career or profession to that or a professional athlete or celebrity is dumb as hell. For all of the cool things this career has allowed me to do, I have not once been surrounded by 70,000 people that wanted to see me fail or actively hoped I failed at doing my job. There was a group of, like, five people once, but that was a zip code ago. And unless your office throws really wild parties and/or despises you, there’s about a 98 percent chance that none of us have ever been in that scenario, so it’s not even a counter argument based in any sort of comparable reality.

“OK, Ty, but what if somebody did that to a member of the Patriots?! Then you’d be really mad!”

Cool, so here’s the thing: That’s already happened. Multiple times!

Some bozo in Pittsburgh threw a hot coffee at Patriots center David Andrews late last season. Nobody felt a compulsion to ruin a life, and Andrews brushed it off like a professional. This even happened to then-Patriot Ben Watson in 2006, and when it did, Tom Brady taunted the fan some more and essentially told them to bring it on and throw some more. Nobody was sued, nobody was doxxed. Crossing sports here, but some Yankee Stadium neanderthal tried beaning Craig Kimbrel with a beer can last week. As far as we know, Kimbrel still sleeps at night, and I’m still not sure if he even knows how close that can came to him.

But it’s almost as if dumb idiots — dumb idiots that had to do nothing but spend cash to get into the stadium — are everywhere.

And I’d like to think that this latest dumb idiot has already paid a fair price for his transgressions.

Think about it: This 21-year-old fan of the Patriots is no longer allowed to attend Patriots games. It’s a deserved punishment, and I truthfully have no idea how they enforce this, but if you’re sitting that close to the field for the most anticipated game of the regular season, everybody knows that you only refer to Brady as ‘The GOAT’ and think Roger Goodell is a clown. If you were gifted those tickets by a Patriots season ticket holder, that season ticket holder is probably in hot water as a result of your stupidity (the back of your ticket typically explains what can happen to your season tickets in the event of a trouble traced back to your ticket, even if you’re not the one breaking rules), so that’s some additional pain on top of it all. But barring the sun eating our planet, you’re officially banned from seeing a Patriots game on home turf for what, the next 50 years? Harsh but fair.

The fan also been charged with disorderly conduct and throwing an object at a sporting event, by the way. There’s surely some hefty fines on the way, and there’s probably going to be some sort of record to the kid’s name. Again, all deserved.

But what more are we possibly looking for here?

And for what reason besides absolutely useless social media “I helped!” badges and or in the name of personal fandom?

Oh, and before I forget: Tyreek Hill is, uh, not a good person.

It was just a few years ago that Hill was handed three years probation for punching and choking his then-pregnant girlfriend. So if there was a candlelight vigil for Hill’s hurt feelings and beer-soaked ego somewhere in K.C. on Monday, I missed it. Happily.

Now, you’re free to tell me that Hill’s past is not relevant to what happened at Gillette Stadium Sunday night, and I’m sure you will. Especially if you’re somebody that either loves the Chiefs or hates the Patriots. But it’s not going to do anything to make me feel as if the man that once physically assaulted a pregnant woman has a leg to stand on when his agent demands his client be protected (from cold beverages) and wants to prosecute a man for assaulting his client (with a cold beverage).

If anything, it just makes me want to throw a cold beverage of my own on this whole thing.

Hopefully, for my sake, it avoids Hill.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 98.5 The Sports Hub. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.