By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
A video of a fan head-butting another man in the stands at Heinz Field Dec. 2 during the Steelers loss to the Los Angeles Chargers went viral Monday morning. But it wasn’t the only extreme act of violence that occurred.
The Pittsburgh Current has obtained photos taken by a freelance photographer that show a large man in a Steelers shirt choking a woman wearing a Chargers jersey. The photographer, Shelley Lipton, says she saw a man and a woman, both Chargers fans, standing up during the final few seconds of the game as Los Angeles kicked a field goal to win the game. The incident comes on the heels of the NFL being thrown back into the spotlight when Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was cut by the team following the release of a video showing Hunt pushing and kicking a woman.
According to Lipton, the unidentified man told the couple to sit down. The couple told the Steelers fan that “it was their turn” to stand and cheer. When they refused, the man lunged at the male Chargers fan and “was beating on him.” The male Charger fan told the Steelers fan that he was not fighting with him. Lipton says the Chargers fan was almost pushed over a railing. The female Chargers fan then got in between the two.
Lipton was shooting the game and when the fracas in the stands continued, she got closer and began taking pictures. It wasn’t until she processed the photos a short time later that she realized what she had captured. Her photos clearly show the man with his hand wrapped around the woman’s throat (photo above). A hand can be seen on the Steelers fan chin and Lipton says she believes it was the woman’s hand when she got in between the Steelers fan and the Chargers fan during the altercation. “She stepped in to try and help,” Lipton says.
“I was taking pictures and I didn’t notice what happened at the time,” Lipton says. “Security didn’t come for awhile, but finally, a few people restrained the big guy.”
From there a member of the NFL security team talked to Lipton and she sent the person a few of the photos.
Pittsburgh Police spokesperson Chris Togneri said today that while police were investigating the headbutting video, he was not aware of the incident in question. And while he was not on call during the game, he received an update Monday morning that “there was nothing unusual. A typical game night with ‘multiple skirmishes’ to include verbal and minor shoving.'”
We will update as facts become available.