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Carolina Panthers fans taunt U.S. Marine confined to wheelchair for wearing Cowboys jersey

Oct 25, 2012, 2:18 PM EDT

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Carolina Panthers fans, it’s hard to imagine how you could be more classy. Unless it would be kicking puppies. Our story begins at the Moosehead Grill in south Charlotte, as most disturbing stories do. That’s where Marine Garrett Carnes of Mooresville arrived with some family members for celebration and fine dining after his beloved Cowboys had beaten the Panthers, 19-17, on Sunday. Carnes, who lost both legs in Afghanistan and is confined to a wheelchair, was forced to leave the restaurant with his group after a verbal altercation with Panthers fans, reports the Charlotte Observer.

“Courtney [Carnes] was the first one out of the vehicle, and while she was getting Garrett’s wheelchair, one guy immediately started yelling at her,” said Brett Coburn, who described the man’s comments as “taunts.”

Coburn said that when the group reached the front door, the fan was waiting for them.

“He was standing at the door, and he started harassing us because of the Cowboys jerseys,” Coburn said.

He said the fan told Garrett Carnes, “Don’t use your wheelchair as a crutch.”

Wow. The Observer also talked with the Panthers fan in question, who did not want to give his name, according to the paper.

“Moosehead is a Panthers’ bar,” he said. “When they came, wearing the Cowboys’ jerseys, I started up on them. I asked them if they were Cowboys fans who lived in North Carolina.”

“I’m not going to fight someone in a wheelchair,” the fan said.

“I’m sorry it happened,” the fan said Thursday. “It just got out of control. I wish I could talk to him (Garrett).”

Members of the Carnes-Coburn party tried to “defend ourselves verbally,” Brett Coburn said.

“We were going back and forth,” the fan said. “Yes, it got out of control.”

It hardly needs to be said, but when you see a military veteran, the only uniform that matters is the one he wore overseas.

  1. micklethepickle - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Really? So it would’ve been okay if they had been harassing someone in a wheelchair that WASN’T a veteran?

    • texangirl - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:50 PM

      No one should get harassed period. If in a wheelchair and a veteran, well, there are no words for the type of people who harass a person who fought and lost limbs while fighting for our country.

    • chicagoirish23 - Oct 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      I agree more w/ the harassing someone in a wheelchair comment. I think it’s a disgrace that someone would harass a veteran for anything but I don’t see anywhere in the article that says when he was identified as a military veteran. Many people are confined to wheelchairs that haven’t served in the military. Just wondering at what point the moron involved knew the individual he was yelling at lost his legs in Afghanistan?

  2. stangz11 - Oct 25, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Stay classy bro…stay classy.

    But seriously though, some people just amaze me with their complete and utter stupidity

  3. crankyfrankie - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    I was unaware that the inbreeding had come that far north?

    • charliereno - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      You and me both, amigo.

    • gatorbait34 - Oct 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM

      You sir are a idiot.

    • asuthyo - Oct 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      You must have forgotten about West Virginia

    • skids003 - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      You mean that far South?

  4. albertmn - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    I have never gotten why you need to harass someone in a different jersey anyway. I occasionally give friends that cheer for other teams some good natured ribbing. But, I wouldn’t dream of harassing some random person just because of what they wore.

    • charliereno - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      I wish that there were more people that thought the same way that you and I do. Fans in American have become embarassing to be around, no matter who they’re rooting for, home or away. And as much as I love to toss back some drinks, I think that alcohol plays a MAJOR role in this idiocy.

      • michiganhockey11 - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:48 PM

        I can’t agree with you more. I had a great time going back and forth with some Chicago fans at a Wings game a few years back. It’s nice to catch “true” fans of any sport that can have fun natured ribbing throughout a game. Problem is, half the idiots that are problematic don’t respect the sport they are at, much less anyone else.

  5. lewp - Oct 25, 2012 at 10:43 PM


    What do you think would happen if some Marines with Carolina jerseys on had seen this situation?

    I can assure you, the Marines would have stuck together no matter what freakin jersey was being worn.

    In fact, why not set up where a platoon of Marines visits this establishment anyways? Let’s see how bad you civilians really are.

    • geshtahl - Oct 26, 2012 at 7:39 PM

      Did you actually read the linked article? Specifically this quote from the owner of the bar:
      “He [the owner] said the trouble was caused by people who “are not regulars” at the restaurant and added that the fan was not welcome to return.”

      I completely agree that harassing ANY veteran is as low as it gets. Let’s just not get carried away and assume that every customer of the bar is worthy of contempt.

  6. digbysellers - Oct 26, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    I’d love to spit some Beach-Nut in that dude’s eyes.

  7. markcycy - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Carolina has a football team. When did that happen

  8. michiganhockey11 - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    You want to taunt a disabled veteran? Give him a one way ticket to the front lines. Better yet, have someone shoot his nuts off with a .50cal from a mile away. Ignorant POS.

  9. notdumb - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    The act of wearing a rival teams jersey to anothers teams stadium is taunting pure and simple.

    But some ignorant hick that couldn’t make it in normal society that runs to the military to be taken care of is a hero? Since when did getting your legs blown off make you a hero?

    They should have thrown themselves on the ground to bow down to him.

    • michiganhockey11 - Oct 30, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      No it’s not, plain and simple. I have on many occasions wore my Wings jersey (#19) into games in Toronto and Chicago and I’m not met with any grief about it because most of those fans respect the game and respect great players. Outside of some good natured jabs, it’s never been an issue.

  10. notdumb - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I was in the ARMY and the amount of bordeline retards allowed to carry weapons is staggering .

  11. ihatethejets23 - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I didn’t know there were any Panthers fans in Charlotte. Most football fans I saw where Buffalo Bills fans.