Paul, a Detroit Lions fan, wore a Barry Sanders jersey to Philadelphia last Sunday when the Eagles hosted the Lions and was involved in an unfortunate incident because of his gear.
He was beaten unconscious by some Eagles fans while leaving the game, which Philadelphia won 34-20, alone.
On his way to catch a train, six Eagles fans started harassing him. They started yelling at him and throwing things such as snowballs at him. The group of fans then attacked him and a blow to the head left him unconscious.
He was treated for a concussion and minor injuries at a hospital and was checked for internal injuries after urinating blood.
Here's what Paul had to say about the attack in an interview with Ashley Dunkak of CBS Detroit:
These people who started it outside of the stadium, this fight with me, they would have never started it if there was two or three of us. They were looking for one person, probably, because they were cowards.
Well, Sanders heard about the incident and is trying to make things a little bit better for the fan. The former NFL running back will send the fan a signed jersey.
When Paul found out about the kind gesture, he couldn't believe it:
I was actually completely, completely in shock, totally. I always thought really highly of Barry as a player, but this makes me kind of think of him as a player and a person in a whole new kind of level. I thought it was pretty cool, and I think I’m a Lions fan because of Barry.
Paul has been to four Lions games this season. He has also visited 21 different stadiums while wearing his Lions gear, so this isn't the first time that he was in an opponent's territory. In fact, he understands his role as an opposing fan:
I personally almost enjoy the little heckling that people do, joking around, saying to fans. It’s part of the game. It’s part of rooting for your team. If you heckle someone a little bit, as long as it’s all in fun and games and joking around and no one feels uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with it.
Talking and joking around is part of being a fan. However, he has been involved in minor incidents in the past. He said that he was spit on at Soldier Field once, but has been back without any incidents.
The attack in Philadelphia certainly crossed the line. Unfortunately, Paul knows that fan violence has happened far too often recently.
"Everyone knows it’s a problem,” Paul said, “and not only in Philadelphia – in other cities too."
Sanders is doing what he thinks is right. Paul said he was at the game during which Sanders broke the 2,000-yard mark in 1997, which will make Sanders' gesture even more special.
The legendary Lions running back is making a diehard Detroit fan's day by sending him a jersey. It was an unfortunate incident, but hopefully Paul will continue to support his favorite team at games.
Paul appears to be in good spirits, and it is all thanks to Sanders.
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