Football fan hits ref with chair, pro-wrestling style (updated with arrest info)
Vince McMahon might weep with joy at the above Alabama high school football fan’s ability to run and swing a chair with pinpoint accuracy. Then again, McMahon might also weep with disbelief at how three older, out-of-shape-looking referees turned around and whomped the guy, unscripted, after he hit one of their own across the back with said chair.
You might have seen this video elsewhere in the last few days — I caught it on Total Pro Sports. The incident happened after the final gun in a high school football game featuring two Alabama small-school powers, undefeated host Hackleburg and Lynn, which suffered its first loss when it fell to Hackleburg 20-14 in its homecoming game.
Hackleburg, located about two hours northwest of Birmingham, near the Mississippi border, is most famous as the hometown of country singer Sonny James, the Southern Gentleman. But it’s going to get a lot more famous for what that Southern Anti-Gentleman did with the chair. You can see at about 1:15 into the video (the action is paused so you can get a good look at the alleged assailant) that a fan tosses a folding chair over the fence surrounding the field. Once the game ends, he sprints through the crowd on the field and whaps a ref, before he gets set upon by the zebras and various fans.
I presume this would have to be a Lynn fan who was upset. But details about who this guy is, and what happened in the aftermath, are sorely lacking. I checked three different writeups of the game, and none mention the chair incident. I haven’t found any follow-up on the story, either, beyond snarky blog posts.
I called the Marion County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Department to see if this person was arrested. The very nice lady who answered the phone said any trouble would have been handled by Hackleburg police, so I would need to call police chief Kenny Hallmark when he’s back in the morning. So that’s what I’ll do. For what it’s worth, the current jail roster in Marion County doesn’t mention anyone brought in from Hackleburg. Given I’m writing this four days after the Oct. 2 incident, I presume someone would have come up with the guy’s bail money by now if he booked a suite in the ol’ Graybar Hotel.
I talked with Hackleburg police chief Kenny Hallmark, who identified the fan in the video as Don Cagle, 22, of Jasper, Ala. He was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and two Class C felonies: assault on a sports official and assault on a police officer. Class C is the least severe felony charge — assault in the third degree. Hallmark said that after the video ended, Cagle kicked an officer and spit in his face three times. Cagle bonded out of Marion County Jail, though no court date has yet been set. Hallmark said Cagle has no criminal record that he knows of. Hallmark said he couldn’t speak to a motive, though he noted Cagle was on the Lynn side of the field and was wearing Lynn colors.
By the way, Alabama is one of the many states that have strengthened their assault penalties when it comes to attacking a sports official, which gives you an idea how often this stuff happens, or at least happened before the laws were place. It’s telling that you can get the same penalty for assaulting a referee as you can a police officer. In Cagle’s case, he could face one to 10 years in jail and a $15,000 fine if gets convicted on one of the felony charges, double if he gets convicted on both.
The guy who attacked the referee could face felony assault charges that would put him in prison for up to 20 years. We know who’ll be weeping if that happens, and it won’t be Vince McMahon.