The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office is investigating the death of a New Hampshire man with season tickets to the Patriots, who was punched in the face by an individual in a Dolphins jersey and died after Sunday night’s game between New England and Miami at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The man, 53-year-old Dale Moone, never regained consciousness after striking his head on the ground in the 300-level section of the stadium and was pronounced dead around midnight after receiving medical attention at the stadium before being taken to the hospital. The state medical examiner’s office has yet to release an official cause of death although an autopsy is being conducted.
Mooney’s wife Lisa told WCVB her husband was a ticket-holder for 30 years and a father of two. “I want to know what happened. What caused this?” she said. “I just don’t understand why people have to go to that extreme. Why can’t it just be fun? That’s all it’s supposed to be, a fun family event.”
A witness to the incident, Joey Kilmartin told The Boston Globe that Mooney and the Dolphins fan had been jawing at one another throughout the game and that the situation only got physical after the victim moved over into his alleged assailant’s section.
“In a nutshell, it was a basic argument back and forth,” Kilmartin told The Globe. “[Mooney] went over to Section 311 and he basically engaged in mutual combat with another fan. A lot of people started trying to pull them apart … It looked like somebody was in the middle of them and then a man in the Dolphins jersey reached over and he connected with two punches to the victim’s head. It wasn’t something crazy or out of the ordinary until, 30 seconds later, the guy wasn’t getting up. It was terrible. It’s definitely what you don’t want to see at a football game.”
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Police have video of the incident and onlookers report that the man in the Dolphins jersey was escorted away by security following the fight. No charges have been filed as of Tuesday afternoon and a state police spokesman said the DA’s office is “investigating the facts and circumstances of the man’s death, including the sequence of events prior to the medical incident,” according to ESPN.
Regardless of whether charges are filed and the guilt or innocence of the Miami fan is determined, it’s a horrible story and is further evidence of NFL fans increasingly resorting to violence while supporting their teams. Sad as Mooney’s death is, hopefully it will serve as a cautionary tale.