Video Appears to Undermine Football Fan’s Injury Claims

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Last week, New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis was sued by a Seattle Seahawks fan over a 2008 incident in Seattle in which Ellis threw a giant snowball into the crowd. The Jets had just lost to the Seahawks (eliminating them from the playoffs) and, as if that weren't embarrassing enough, as they headed for the locker room they were taunted mercilessly by fans of their previously 3-11 opponent.

A video of the incident shows Ellis scooping up a two-foot chunk of packed snow with both hands and heaving it into the bleachers, striking a Seattle fan who appears to briefly lose his balance.


In the lawsuit, Robert Larsen claims (I'm paraphrasing here) that Ellis angrily hit him with the monstrous snow cannonball because he was bitter about the loss, and that Ellis' barbaric act caused him (not paraphrasing anymore) physical injury, humiliation, mental distress, pain and wage loss.

Unfortunately for those claims, in the video Larsen not only appears to be completely unhurt but can be seen triumphantly hoisting the snow chunk over his head and then tucking it under his arm as he continues to taunt. Perhaps he had been seriously injured in those few seconds and was actually showing great courage in fighting through the pain in order to continue his taunting as long as humanly possible. Or perhaps there is another explanation.

Ellis was fined $10,000 by the league, on the grounds that "any contact with fans that potentially presents crowd-control issues and risk of injury is prohibited." I guess a snowball toss might violate that rule, although on the other hand, it's a snowball.