Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots fans who threw beer on Tyreek Hill are jerks, but let's save the righteous indignation

Alex Reimer
October 15, 2018 - 12:23 pm

There has been so much indignation directed towards the Patriots fans who flipped off Tyreek Hill and poured beer on him, one would think they committed some sort of violent crime. 

But that’s more Hill’s area of expertise. 

Let’s make two things clear: throwing beer on people is wrong, and no fanbase can take the moral high ground. The Patriots faithful cheered Aaron Hernandez for three years. Any arguments about morality should end there. 

But the righteous fury regarding the beer-throwing incident is overblown. A Patriots fan threw his beer on Hill Sunday following the wideout’s 75-yard touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter, which gave Kansas City the lead. Hill came down with three touchdowns in the Patriots’ heart-palpitating 43-40 win, burning safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon at seemingly every turn. When Hill raced towards the stands following his final TD catch, he was greeted with middle fingers and a cold brew.

Hill dismissed the incident when he asked about it, meaning everybody who’s waving the social media pitchforks is more offended than the victim of the unruly act. “My coach (Andy Reid) told me, ‘Don’t get emotional. Don’t get mad about it because it comes with the territory.’ I’m not mad at all,” Hill told reporters.

Despite Hill’s nonchalant attitude, seemingly every outlet imaginable -– from Deadspin to Sports Illustrated –– have published articles condemning the Patriots fans’ behavior. This is likely because national pundits loathe Patriots fans, and can’t wait to jump on them.  

But it is interesting that none of the pieces mention Hill’s domestic assault and battery charge, stemming from an incident four years ago where he “threw” his pregnant girlfriend “around like a rag-doll” and choked her and punched her in the face and stomach, according to police records. The violent outburst resulted in Hill’s dismissal from the Oklahoma State football team, and precipitated his drop in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Chiefs selected the game-changing wideout in the fifth-round.

Hill’s gruesome domestic violence doesn’t negate the fans’ gross actions, of course. The Patriots rightfully banned the beer-throwing fan from Gillette Stadium, and he's getting charged with disorderly conduct. 

But the ignorance of Hill’s past is remarkable, albeit par for the course in sports media circles. Star athletes who committed reported acts of sexual or physical violence against women are often forgiven with just the passage of time, from Kobe Bryant to Ben Roethlisberger. Hill symbolizes this prevailing attitude to a tee. 

It’s unfortunate that Hill received an unexpected beer shower after catching a touchdown. It is telling, however, that this episode is garnering more attention than Hill’s domestic violence charge has in a long time. 

This post has been updated.