Philly sports fans are known for their despicable behavior, but this latest stunt will make you long for those care-free days when abusing Santa Claus was the worst we could muster.
It turns out that the victim in the post Winter Classic brawl that took place outside Geno’s is an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
While details surrounding the cause of the incident are vague, Crossing Broad seems to have corresponded with someone who claims to have taken video of the melee on Monday night:
The Rangers fans [initially] said something that offended [the Flyers fans], which made [the Flyers fans] come to them, but that little dude [the guy who eventually got knocked out] tried to tell them to stop, don’t start, but the Flyers guy just ignored him and took his jacket off and punched his face. So the Flyers guy went too far.
The victim, 30-year-old Neal Auricchio Jr., is a Woodbridge, N.J. police officer. He completed two tours in Iraq before being wounded by a sniper shot to his calf. The Rangers organization has since contacted Auricchio, inviting him and his family to a practice and game.
Given the high profile nature of the case, police are currently gunning for the suspects. But they may not have to look far, as a fan on the Broad Street Hockey Facebook page boldly took credit for the knockout.
Philly.com reports that Facebook user Edward Neary wrote, “It was me and my friends do something about it.” He then continued on, obliterating any chance Philly may have of salvaging its tarnished reputation once and for all, “how dumb do I look knocking someone out pretty sure they look dumb eatin’ concrete.” Oh no.
Neary later recanted, stating that he was present during the incident but that his friends took part in the actual beating. But, as Philly.com also points out, Neary’s Facebook profile contains some choice lines that may not help his case, “Under favorite athlete, he listed, ‘Seriously I will punch you in the… face.’”
No arrests have been made yet and police have not confirmed if Neary or any others have been brought in for questioning. But one thing’s for sure: The next Flyers/Rangers game is going to be epic.