Charles Hillios was at a Yankee-Red Sox game in 2007 rooting for the Red Sox and cheered when they hit a home run. Shortly thereafter he went to the concession stand, where he was attacked by two Yankee fans. Hillios needed eye surgery after the assault, which resulted in misdemeanor assault charges for the two assailants. Hillios has filed a federal lawsuit against those two, the stadium security company and the Yankees themselves.
The Yankees offered up their defense in a court filing. Not only are they denying their own culpability, they say Hillios is to blame because he's a Red Sox fan. According to the New York Post, the team argues they are "not liable for the alleged intentional conduct" because Hillios "assumed the risk of foreseeable injury based on his own conduct."
It's charming to know that the Yankees use the same defense as those accused with rape. We don't know exactly how Hillios behaved on the night in question. Anyone who has been to a baseball game is familiar with drunk, obnoxious fans of every stripe who can provoke fights with others in the stands. But that doesn't excuse security allowing such a fight nor does it remove the Yankees' liability for what goes on in their own stadium.
That's why there are security guards in the aisles refusing to let you move during "God Bless America," that's why they cut off beer sales before the end of the game and that's why everyone who goes into the stadium has to remove their caps and cell phones for inspection. It's because the Yankees take responsibility for what goes on in the stadium. You don't get to just abdicate that responsibility when something happens that you don't like.
These Red Sox-Yankee fan incidents are far too common. It's sad that people are that misguided but it is even sadder the way that the two teams stoke these flames. Instead of making strong statements against fans beating each other because of what group of millionaires wear which color clothing, they say it is okay to beat someone up if they root for the other side.