One man’s life isn’t worth a football game.
This past weekend, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New England Patriots in a disheartening final score of 30-6. Cowboys fans left the AT&T stadium in a disarray of rage and disappointment, with two fans getting into a physical altercation outside in the parking lot.
43-year-old resident Richard Sells stepped in to try and break up the fight. A few minutes later, he was shot in the neck.
Sells died 8:44 p.m. Wednesday at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. His family decided to take him off of life support earlier in the day. Even if he had survived, he would not have lived well. His sister Victoria Gunning wrote in a Facebook post that a neural surgeon said her brother would live the rest of his life in a nursing home with a respirator and a feeding tube, never waking up and never being able to move his body.
In a way, Sells had already died.
“Today, my mother and his family are going to go say our final goodbyes to the greatest man I’ve ever known and could ever know,” Gunning said.
Sells was supposed to get married in a month and was looking forward to the birth of his daughter.
It’s easy to place the blame of this incident on the shooter. It’s easy to point at him and say he’s responsible not only for this man’s loss of life, but for his family’s loss of life.
But the truth is the shooter is not the only person to blame for this incident. It’s the fans.
How many games have you attended and seen people get visibly angry at each other? How frequent a sight is it to see fans yelling at each other, shouting profanities, shaking their fists and eventually breaking out into a physical fight? This behavior happens far too often at any sporting event.
If the two fans hadn’t fought on Sunday, Sells might still be alive today.
We need to do more than just change who we’re blaming. We need to change the culture. Sports is no longer just a game. It’s become almost a religion to some fans, and people are willing to hurt and kill each other simply because of their zealousness.
No one should die for being a sports fan. The loss of one life is too many for a football game.
– David Dunn