Q&A: Giants Fan Who Got Punched After the Eagles Game
It all started over a discussion about football history.
Ant Righter attended the Giants-Eagles game on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Things went fine. He wasn’t heckled or harassed despite wearing a bright red Eli Manning jersey. Sure, his Giants lost to the Eagles, 27-7, but it wasn’t a bad experience.
Righter, 24, is from Delaware County. To get home, he rode the Broad Street Subway to the El. He began talking with a group of Eagles fans on the El ride home. He said the talk was initially about football, and not very heated. He and other fans were joshing about the two teams’ history of success. The Giants have won two Super Bowls recently; the Eagles have never won one. The Giants lead in overall NFL championships, 8-3. As you can see, Righter had the upper hand at this point.
Things came to a head when they hit 69th Street station. As you’ve probably seen in the viral video, an Eagles fan punched Righter.
I talked with Righter on the phone today about the incident.
You’re from Delaware County. How did you become a Giants fan?
Just grew up a Giants fan. Always liked the New York Giants. I never was an Eagles fan. Tiki Barber was my favorite player in college when he was at Virginia. And then Eli Manning came up here. They’re my favorite team.
How did this argument start?
I watched [the game] at the Linc, so I was coming back on the El. It started on the El. All this started because we were talking Giants and Eagles history — just going back and forth. They were saying Eagles stuff; I was saying Giants stuff. We were talking about the history of football. It was nothing bad.
They started saying worse stuff to me. I was ignoring them at first. And then I started saying stuff back. I had a hat in my back pocket, and [someone] took the hat and threw it on the ground. So I got mad. And I snapped out. He seemed like he was gonna fight me — the kid who grabbed my hat. Like anybody else would, I was pissed that he grabbed my property. So I did that [snapped out] and the kid walked away. And as I was walking away, and that’s when I was looking behind me. They were still talking to me, saying a bunch of crap. Next thing I know, this guy came out of nowhere and hit me.
Police say ~4 min elapsed between this earlier confrontation @ 69th St Terminal & punch taking place. Victim in red: pic.twitter.com/suMHfGuemn
— Morgan Zalot (@morganzalot) October 21, 2015
The above surveillance video appears to show Righter “snapping out” after his hat was taken from his back pocket and thrown on the ground.
If I wasn’t that intoxicated I probably could have controlled the situation, but stuff happens. But there’s still no right, I should be able to go to game in a Giants jersey and not get punched. After the guy grabbed my hat, I did get mad. And I was drunk, and I did snap out. There was no excuse, I was drunk. After the kid took my hat, I walked away. Yeah, I was snapping on him. He probably would have snapped on me too, if I took his hat. If anyone says they wouldn’t do that, they’re lying.
So what happened when you got hit by the big guy? On the surveillance video he seems to come out of nowhere.
I wasn’t arguing with him. I wouldn’t have picked a fight with the biggest kid. I’m 145 pounds. I’m 5-foot-9. I’m not a big dude. When I first saw him I tried dipping [the punch]. Because I was barricaded in by like eight guys and the glass behind me. And I didn’t know what else to do. I tried dipping, but got hit in the back of my neck and my ear. I didn’t get hit in my face.
Hit only hit me once, but he got me good.
SEPTA Police trying to ID both puncher and victim in Giants fan/Eagles fan brawl via surveillance video: pic.twitter.com/mmgm6VMX3B
— Morgan Zalot (@morganzalot) October 21, 2015
This surveillance footage shows the attacker moving his friend out of the way in order to punch Righter.
Are you OK?
Yeah, I’m fine. No injuries.
Then the video hit sometime Tuesday morning. When did you find out about it?
My uncle told me about it when I was at work in the morning. I was just like, “Oh man, here we go.” It’s just nuts. I wish it never hit social networks, but stuff happens. People get knocked out every day.
Has it been weird?
It got to me a little bit at first. But there’s nothing I can really do about it but move on with my life. And just try to not have it happen again. I just have to learn from my mistakes. I’m not saying I started it 100 percent, but I’m not saying I’m not wrong either. Everyone involved in this was wrong.
There’s a woman in Eagles garb the video who seemed to be trying to get you away. Is she your girlfriend?
She’s just a friend. She’s an Eagles fan. My first instinct was to run because I thought I was going got get jumped. But I couldn’t leave a girl there. That’d be make look even more like a chump.
It’s something to laugh about now. I’m not letting it get to me. Stuff happens. It happens everywhere around the world, mine just went viral.
Would you go to an Eagles game again?
I would, just not by myself. All my family are Eagles fans, and they told me not to wear the jersey. But I just have too much pride. You should be able to wear a jersey of an opposing team. There’s no reason — especially if you’re just talking football with other fans.
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