PHILADELPHIA A Michigan native who has lived in Philadelphia for two years says he was harassed and beaten unconscious by a group of Eagles fans outside Lincoln Financial Field after the Eagles' 34-20 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Center City business owner, who spoke on condition that he not be identified, said a half-dozen men in Eagles gear targeted him - first with snowballs and other projectiles, then with fists and kicks - because of his Lions jersey and ball cap.
The man, who lives in Bella Vista with his fiancee, said he was treated at a hospital Monday for a concussion and minor injuries. He said doctors also examined him for internal injuries after he urinated blood Sunday.
Capt. Laurence Nodiff, commander of South Detectives, said detectives took the man's statement Monday morning and were searching for surveillance footage that might have captured the alleged beating.
"These despicable attacks on fans who are rooting for other teams is something we don't take lightly, and we're not going to tolerate it," Nodiff said.
The alleged attack occurred around 4:30 p.m., as the man walked to the SEPTA station at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue to catch a train home. He gave this account:
As he walked along Pattison near the Xfinity Live complex, a group of men in their 20s in Eagles jerseys began shouting and throwing snowballs at him.
"I tried to keep my head down and avoid them," he said. "I didn't want to give them the satisfaction."
As he crossed the street, heading toward the train, six of the men blocked his path and continued to scream at him.
"I was like, 'Are you guys serious? You won, enjoy it.' "
The smallest man slapped his head from the side. Another man then pushed him from behind, and the group bum-rushed him, he said.
To defend himself, he threw a punch and brought one of his attackers to the ground. But then he felt punches to the back of his head, he said: "I felt like I was being choked and punched."
That's when he lost consciousness, he said.
When he came to, sore and bruised, another Eagles fan was standing over him, offering help, he said. "He stayed with me and walked me toward SEPTA."
The man remembered the Good Samaritan being so disgusted over what he had witnessed that he took off his Eagles jersey and threw it in a trash can.
"He said he was tired of these Eagles fans and the way they are," the man said.
Nodiff said investigators had sparse descriptions of the attackers: white men in their 20s wearing Eagles jerseys. He asked any witnesses to call South Detectives at 215-686-3013.
The man said the Barry Sanders jersey his fiancee had brought him made him a target for abuse during the entire game.
His first-row seats behind the Eagles bench were no refuge, he said, with fans throwing snowballs and other things at him all afternoon.
A friend who accompanied him to the game left early, he said.
He said he tries not to judge a city by the actions of its sports fans. But days like Sunday make it difficult, he said.
"I am a loyal fan," he said of the Lions. "I travel all over for games, and my worst experiences are with people here in Philadelphia."