WASHINGTON, DC – The nine-second video has been viewed more than a million times on Twitter, and Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jake Fraley is glad it got the attention.
Fraley was on the warning track, a few feet away from a standing fan, and yelling at the fan who talked about his kids, including profanity. The interaction came at the end of the Reds’ game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, and Fraley leaves after telling the fan to “shut your (expletive) mouth.”
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The fan interacting with Fraley responded, “it wasn’t me” and “you got the wrong guy,” then clapped as Fraley walked toward the dugout. The Twitter account that posted the video then wrote that a group of three fans were ejected.
Fraley, in his fourth season in the big leagues, says he expects riots at all the road parks, especially in Philadelphia. He heard everything up to that point and had no problem with it. What changed is that he heard a fan mention his kids and, to him, that crossed the line. His reaction was captured in the nine-second viral video.
“You can say whatever you want about me,” Fraley told The Enquirer. “I don’t really care. I’ve heard it all from college to the big leagues now. But once you start talking about my kids, you’ve crossed the line. There is a line of respect that, unfortunately, I guess these guys didn’t understand. Right, wrong or indifferent, it was what I decided to do to express the emotions I felt were needed at that moment.
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“I know it’s going viral and I hope it does. I hope sports fans understand that we as professional athletes are human. We play a game that is extremely difficult. And if you cross the line by talking about someone’s family, especially someone’s kids, just because you’re sitting in the stands doesn’t mean you can do that. I felt I had to say something and that was the decision I made. I remain so.”
Fraley declined to share the comment directed at his children, but said he was yelled at shortly before going to the fan at the end of the inning.
“The regular fan that ran up to me was most of the play leading up to that point,” Fraley said. “Then, for whatever reason at that moment, that dude decided to start talking about my kids, and that’s where I drew the line.”
His wife, Angelica, responded to a tweet from tabloid website TMZ about the interaction, writing: “If you know Jake, you know he doesn’t lose his cool, but you don’t talk about anybody’s kids. Some fans will threaten the players’ children in front of the children in the stands. Not this.”
It was the first time Fraley had heard fans say anything out of bounds this season, he said. He immediately approached a security guard standing in the outer corner.
“Security was there,” he said. “Apparently, he saw that I was upset and asked me what happened. I said there were some guys up there, I think it was a group of them, and they were talking about my family. I told them they better get him or I’m going up there.”
This article originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds outfielder Jake Fraley explains why he confronted Phillies fan