A USC football player is being investigated for assault after he flattened a Washington State University fan who was among the many who rushed the field at the game’s conclusion.
As the Trojans ran off the field, video shows a fan who appears to be purposely hit by freshman defensive lineman Liam Jimmons, who has since been disciplined for the incident. Trojans head coach Clay Helton noted: “We’re aware of the situation, and internal discipline has been taken. That discipline will remain in-house.”
WSU Police Assistant Chief Steve Hansen further remarked, “We are looking into it. We’re still gathering information, talking to witnesses, reaching out to USC to see if we can interview or they’ll interview the player for us. They’ll send it over to the PA’s office and see what they think. Earliest is going to be next week that we get this all combined.”
The fan suffered injuries that required a visit to the hospital, although no details about the extent of the injuries have been released.
Those weighing in with comments on the USA Today coverage of the story debated about whether the player hit the fan intentionally or not, with one person writing: “Give me a break! As an attorney I can look at that objectively and say that there is no way you could get a conviction. You shouldn’t even be able to get an arrest warrant. The fan was on the field illegally and got himself in the path of the player going to the locker room. There is no video evidence that he swerved to purposefully lay a hit on the fan. They just collided and the fan got right back up.”
Another person responded: “Seems you missed the part of the video that clearly shows the player lowering his head, then raising his arms to the ‘blocking position’ just before mowing the fan over!!… The player could CLEARLY have tried to slow down and try to embrace the fan, either preventing or breaking the fall of the fan. The player never even slowed down after the collision, which indicates INTENT and FRUSTRATION. IF this wasn’t intentional the player would have stopped and checked on the fan, making sure he was ok!!!”
Still another person remarked: “The fans have no right to be on the field for this very reason. Had he punched him, sure. But, he merely kept running off the field and ran through the trespasser that approached him. The only crime here was committed by the fans who trespassed.”
One commenter noted: “Looks inadvertent. Just the same, fans are less likely to get hit by a player if the fans stay in the stands.”
Others agreed that fans should stay off the field, with comments such as: “Technically the fan was trespassing. With all of those fans storming the field it becomes a safety issue for them and for the players and coaches” and “This is why fans should not be allowed on the playing field or court at any time.”