An eyewitness to Sunday night’s fight at Gillette Stadium that ended in a fan’s death is calling on the league to control the brawling that’s being glorified on social media.
“It’s sad and senseless,” said Joe Kilmartin of Nashua, N.H., who watched as a fellow Granite State man died near him in the upper tier at the Foxboro stadium after grappling with a Dolphins fan.
That death is under investigation by the Norfolk DA’s office, as the Herald has reported. Authorities have not said if any charges will be filed in the death of Dale Mooney, 53, of Newmarket, N.H.
Kilmartin, 29, said he did not know Mooney but recorded the clash on his cellphone. He added that he had shared that clip with police.
He also texted a copy of that video to the Herald, and it shows a man, believed to be Mooney, high up in Section 310 fighting with a fan in a Miami Dolphins team shirt. Mooney, it appears, was wearing a Number 10 Patriots jersey, the same number worn by quarterback Mac Jones.
Mooney is seen going down the aisle to confront the other man as the two quickly begin to wrestle as others attempt to get out of the way. Stadium security officers in orange shirts arrived almost immediately after.
Kilmartin told the Herald Tuesday night he witnessed the Dolphins fan “punch” Mooney “in the face” near the end of the game. The Patriots went on to lose to the Dolphins 24-17.
But Kilmartin said getting in a fight over a game is ridiculous.
“It was frightening. I’ve been thinking about it since and the way a man took another man’s life. It’s tragic and could have been prevented,” Kilmartin said. “It’s not something you should have seen in Section 310.
“This needs to be addressed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL needs to set an example for the country. Sadly, fighting has become almost acceptable. You see more of it on social media,” he added.
Kilmartin said the fight wasn’t particularly brutal, but Mooney seemed to be stricken after by the what appeared to be the stress of it all.
“It was a mutual combat situation but the DA needs to file some type of charge, in my opinion,” Kilmartin added. “He received a good punch to the side of the face — around the temple or jaw. But I think he had a heart attack in the tussle.”
Kilmartin stressed: “It’s just a football game! It’s not something to get worked up about. We’re all human beings.” He did add booze may have played a role, adding, “everyone was drinking.”
Patriots and Gillette Stadium officials released a statement Tuesday that said: “We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Dale Mooney, a lifelong Patriots fan and 30-year season ticket member, who died while attending last Sunday night’s Patriots game. We continue to work with local authorities to assist them with their ongoing investigation. We extend our sincerest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Dale’s family and to all those who are mourning his loss.”
The State Police said Mooney suffered an “apparent medical event” during the game. His wife was quoted as saying he was a father of two and a season ticket holder.
Mooney was transported to the Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro where authorities say he was pronounced dead Sunday night.
State troopers are following “normal protocol” by investigating the death, the DA added.