Protester sues NFL player Bobby Wagner for crash-tackling him, ending a pitch invasion while carrying a smoke flare


A protester who ran onto the field during the San Francisco 49ers’ Monday night home game against the Los Angeles Rams has filed a police report after being tackled by Rams’ linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Santa Clara Police Department Leutenant Cuong Phan confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the department has an active investigation of the incident, which meant he could provide few other details.

Wagner reacted with bemusement when asked about the protester’s complaint, which was made on Tuesday.


“I heard about it, but it is what it is,” Wagner said at the Rams’ training complex.

“It’s behind me. I ain’t really focused on it.

“I’m more concerned about the security guard that was hurt trying to chase him. We don’t know what that (pink smoke) is. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Wagner flattened the protester who ran across the field and toward the Rams’ sideline while waving a device emitting pink smoke shortly before half-time at the 49ers’ home ground. 

Teammate Takk McKinley also helped as Wagner subdued the protester, who had eluded security during the run across the field, while another protester was caught before getting very far onto the field.


Wagner indicated that players and coaches have a right to be concerned in such situations.

“You just never know,” Wagner said.

Security guards hold a pitch invader's hands behind his back as they keep him on the ground after chasing him down.
NFL player Bobby Wagner has been praised for his actions in helping security subdue the protester.(AP: Godofredo A. Vásquez)

“People run on the field for no reason sometimes. Again, pretty sure it’s going to keep happening, but you never know what that person has got in their pocket, their hands, whatever … There’s consequences for your actions.”

Wagner’s actions have been widely applauded around the NFL, including by San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan immediately after the game.

“I think that we all know where Bobby’s intentions were, and I support Bobby Wagner,” Rams coach Sean McVay said on Wednesday.


“I don’t think anybody would disagree.”

Wagner said he was mildly surprised when video of his help with the protester went viral, noting that most field invasions aren’t shown on television broadcasts to discourage the behaviour.

Peyton and Eli Manning even provided play-by-play commentary on Wagner’s hit during their ESPN broadcast of the game.

“I think a lot of players want to do it, too,” Wagner said.


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