Update: Allegations such as these need to be taken seriously, but much of the coverage so far has been one-sided. And as this story has spread nationally, it's only become more sensational.
Now eyewitness accounts are emerging that make the whole incident seem more like the mistake of a clumsy drunk than anything insidious.
"We were walking back to our rig after the game and I must have been about six paces behind this group. By the time I got up to the group, the kid was upright and the dad was yelling at someone who was on the ground. The dad said "I really hope you didn't mean to do that. I can't believe you'd mean to do that." Yelling, pretty upset, but not quite livid. The Cleveland fan who "tackled" the kid was on the ground, looked like he was in pretty obvious pain, like he'd bashed his head on the pavement.
"It happened where the sidewalk from the stadium goes past the [North Point] parking garage into the Muni Lot closest to the stadium. Where pretty much all the walking traffic goes back into the lot.
"[It happened] right after the game. We were in the upper Dawg Pound so it took us some time to get out, but the foot traffic was still very heavy. ... There wasnt really any sort of crowd around them, like you'd believe there would be if anyone actually tried to tackle a 8 year old kid. Best guess it looked like the guy was drunk and tripped on the trash or curb.
"No one was laughing, a couple people seemed concerned like 'my friend is busted up.'
"I wish I would have been a few feet ahead so I could have seen what happened. I cant say the guy didn't try to tackle the kid, but it just doesn't add up. With so many people around, they would have been all over him no matter what colors either group was wearing, and no one was really reacting in a negative way except for the dad."
NFL fans can get rowdy at games, especially when they are fueled by alcohol and a game where their team lost. Browns fans are no exception.
ESPN reports that a family alleges their 8-year-old son was tackled by a drunk and angry Browns fan after Sunday's loss to the Jets. The kid was wearing a Jets jersey.
His mother says Browns fans yelled at them and tossed food at them during the game. The parking lot, however, was where the alleged behavior turned violent.
"As [my husband] was walking, holding my son's hand, a guy from behind tackled him. A drunken Browns fan tackled him and pulled him out of his dad's hand. He was on the ground crying," Danielle said, according to the station.
The boy was left with a scraped and bruised ankle. The mother said her husband didn't call police, opting instead to quickly get in the car and leave. When reached by the television station, Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis called the situation unfortunate and disappointing and said the team is looking into the matter.
There's absolutely no excuse for this if true.
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