A verbal back-and-forth between fans during the Carolina Panthers-Minnesota Vikings football game escalated into a brawl inside Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A video of the brawl is making its way on social media: It has over 1 million views on Twitter.
Eli Jones, who recorded the fight, told The Charlotte Observer on Monday that two fans who sat behind him had exchanged unpleasantries throughout the game.
“People were basically holding them back in the stands,” he said.
Following the game — a 34-28 overtime loss for Carolina — a male Panthers fan waited for the Vikings fan in one of the entrance tunnels, Jones said. The Panthers fan had others waiting with him, Jones said.
“I knew it was about to go down,” Jones said.
A female Panthers fan actually incited the brawl, Jones said. She slapped the Vikings fan in the face, and a melee ensued, Jones said.
In the two-minute video, the Vikings fan is seen being held back as several Panthers fans confront him. The Vikings fan gets pushed to the ground then punched in the face, knocking him out. A woman confronts the Panthers fans, but she’s then knocked to the ground.
“I thought it was pretty crazy,” Jones said. “I’ve been going to Panthers games since I was a little kid, and I’ve seen a ton of fights, but never anything like this.”
An off-duty police officer did tackle the male Panthers fan before the brawl began, Jones said. Once other security personnel arrived, everyone was told to walk out of the stadium, he said.
Jones said he didn’t know if anyone was arrested.
In a statement to the Observer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the situation de-escalated before officers arrived.
“CMPD never received a request from any of the individuals involved to file charges,” the statement read.
In a separate statement to the Observer, the Panthers said police were called in response to the brawl and a search is underway for all involved parties.
“We are working to identify those involved, and they will be subject to the strongest discipline under stadium policies and local laws,” the team statement read.
“While this was an isolated incident, Bank of America Stadium is committed to a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, and does not tolerate this type of behavior.”
The video going viral isn’t something Jones said he expected when he first tweeted it out.
“I thought maybe some people on the Panthers’ Twitter would see it, but it just took off,” he said.
ESPN football analyst Ryan Clark, who played collegiately at Louisiana State and professionally with the Pittsburgh Steelers, retweeted Jones’ video.
“That was cool,” Jones, an LSU fan, said.
Viral incidents at Panthers stadium
Sunday’s fight is the latest viral episode at the Panthers’ stadium.
Last week, when the Panthers hosted the Philadelphia Eagles, two fans were recorded being escorted from a men’s restroom by police, allegedly they had sex in a stall. The video was posted on TikTok and has amassed over 10.7 million views.
The two Eagles fans had to leave the property for violating stadium policy, CMPD said in a statement to the media. No arrests were made, police said.
At the same game, a fan wearing a green hat ran onto the field and removed his shirt right before halftime. He laid down on the turf until security arrived and escorted him off the field.
In September 2019, Panthers fans were accused of participating in a brawl during a weather delay of a Thursday night game. They were ejected and banned indefinitely from the stadium, team officials said at the time.
The fight was caught on a 23-second video that spread across the internet, the Observer previously reported.