Rangers’ fan who cold-cocked rival was worried about going VIRAL, as dad refuses to defend him

James Anastasio’s father declined to defend his son, saying, 'There’s nothing to defend. It is what it is'


                            Rangers’ fan who cold-cocked rival was worried about going VIRAL, as dad refuses to defend him
Screenshots showing the Thursday attack (Twitter/ @ScottKaplanOn)
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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: A New York Rangers’ fan, who allegedly punched a Tampa Bay Lightning supporter after a game on Thursday, June 9, at Madison Square Garden was reportedly more tense about going viral. After his arrest for the viral attack, James Anastasio told an officer at the Midtown South Precinct, “This may be on the Internet. Oh f**k,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Hannah Dionne said.

As per reports, the 29-year-old struck the unidentified victim while leaving the venue; the whole incident was caught on camera. It’s not known yet what provoked the attack but the Lightning fan had apparently chanted something to mock the Rangers, who lost Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals. Anastasio also hit another person who attempted to stop him from escaping.

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The alleged assaulter was presented before the court after being charged with two counts each of assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. He was wearing the same red Rangers ‘Panarin’ shirt and gray sweatpants in which he was seen during the Thursday incident. After paying the bail amount, he was released but was ordered to come to court again on June 29.

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The Lightning fan’s brother, who witnessed the incident, told NBC, “We were just trying to get out of there like everyone else and then, all of a sudden, a beer was thrown at us, and me and my brother kind of separated in that second. The next thing I know, I look over, I hear a thud on the ground and it's my brother laying there. The thud. You can hear it in the video. I'll never get that sound out of my head. My brother's head hitting the ground.”

Meanwhile, James Anastasio’s father has declined to support his son’s action. He told The New York Post, “Sometimes choices in our lives have consequences. There’s nothing to defend. It is what it is. We’ll wait for him to come home, we’ll pick him up, and everything’s OK. Tomorrow’s a new day.”

Jason Goldman, lawyer of Anastasio, told DailyMail.com: “We are in the very beginning stages of gathering and learning all the facts. For now, we want to assure James is released back to his family in a timely manner, then will turn our attention to defending him in court.”

Besides, Madison Square Garden’s management also released a statement that read: “Last night, an abhorrent assault took place against a Tampa Bay fan at the conclusion of the game -- followed by a second assault against an individual who bravely intervened. All guests -- no matter what team they support -- should feel safe and respected in The Garden.”

The video of the assault has gone viral on the internet, though, with millions of views and several comments. “I hope this this man is okay and suffers no side effects resulting from this interaction from the other guys fist. Did he get punched for talking shit? Would not justify it but im curious,” a Twitter user said. Another one wrote: “Madness  but was the guy saying anything beforehand..still no excuse.” “Never would happen in Tampa ….fans can attend an away game with no fear…credit to the Rangers fans that stepped in to provide aid,” the third user added.

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