Perhaps this New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers joint practice wasn’t a good idea after all. The two teams got into a fight for the second day in a row on Wednesday, and this one spilled into the crowd where Patriots defensive tackle Deatrich Wise landed on a female fan during the fracas.
What Led to the Fight Between the Patriots and Panthers?
The woman received medical attention but was not injured. Tensions boiled over when Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey was tackled near the sidelines by Wise.
The hit came near the out-of-bounds boundary, and McCaffrey took exception to the tackle. He spiked the ball in Wise’s direction, which prompted the scuffle. NBC Sports’ Tom E. Curran was on hand and gave his account:
Here is a look at the play that led to the fight from Boston Cream.
Several Panthers players came to McCaffrey’s aid, launching Wise into the crowd, where he landed on the fan.
The Patriots-Panthers Fight Video
Here is a look at the fight that seemed to get fans in the area a bit scared as the large men came tumbling in their direction.
AWLSabermetrics captured the video.
Mikey McDermott had an even better view of the skirmish, which shows just how up close and personal it was for fans.
More Details on the Fan’s Condition
Several media members offered updates on the woman’s condition after the scrum, and joint practice was over. Curran had the following details on the woman Wise fell on.
Morey Hershgordon of WPRI added more details:
Will the NFL Speak With the Patriots and Panthers About the Brawl?
Tuesday’s scraps probably wouldn’t have moved the needle. Still, it would not be surprising if the NFL contacts both the Patriots and Panthers about their behavior at these events that are open to fans and do not provide the same boundaries between the players and the crowd that real games and stadiums have in place.
The story’s tone would have been entirely different had the woman been seriously injured. It is likely, or at least advisable, for the NFL to do something to curtail similar activities before they become a liability.
Wise was ejected from joint practice due to his participation in the scrap. This is the second day in a row the Patriots have had to eject players for fighting. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who had an all-around tough go on Tuesday, was ejected during the first scrimmage with the Panthers.
Carolina’s Kenny Robinson was another negative element between the two teams. The fight that spilled into the stands was actually the second scrap of the day. The first one was reportedly caused by Robinson taunting Patriots wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson after a hit that left the latter injured.
According to NFL.com’s Mike Giardi, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule didn’t like Robinson’s behavior and kicked him out of practice for the second straight day.
The Patriots’ respected leader and veteran Matthew Slater took exception to the taunting over an injured player, per Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels.
These elections undermine the purpose of the joint practices, which is to get both teams live reps against other NFL competition that isn’t on the same club. Per NESN’s Zack Cox, Patriots veteran Jalen Mills echoed these sentiments in a post-practice media session.
It also sets the stage for Thursday night’s exhibition contest between the two teams. While things can be different once the teams compete in an NFL stadium and before even more fans, it is logical to wonder if any bad blood will spill over from the spirited and somewhat reckless joint practices.
The Panthers, more specifically Robinson, seem to be painted as the villain. The blame may be justifiable, but the Patriots will likely need to be more disciplined and controlled as the regular season approaches to escape unnecessary and potentially damaging penalties.