WTAE Pittsburgh – Authorities are withdrawing charges against a Nashville Predators fan from Tennessee who labeled himself a “dumb redneck with a bad idea” after throwing a catfish onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Jacob Waddell, 36, said he had offers from four attorneys, including one in Pittsburgh, who were willing to represent him for free after he tossed the dead fish onto the rink Monday night. The incident was seen on national television.
“Having reviewed the affidavit involving Mr. Waddell as well as the television coverage of the incident, District Attorney Zappala has made the determination that the actions of Mr. Waddell do not rise to the level of criminal charges. As such, the three charges filed against Mr. Waddell will be withdrawn in a timely manner,” said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.
Back home in Tennessee, Waddell said he has received some social media criticism from Pittsburgh fans calling him a redneck or a hillbilly.
“I’m both of those,” he acknowledged. “But I still outsmarted their entire arena and was able to get a catfish on the ice.”
And the arena unwittingly helped him do it by giving him the necessary tools for the job: A free Penguins shirt and towel, which were handed to all fans upon entry to the building.
“The best part is I used their towel and their shirt to put the raw catfish in, right before I threw it on the ice,” he said. “If you see the video, you’ll see me take their towel off, take their shirt off, throw that bad boy right on the ice. They provided me what I needed to do that, which is the best part of all.”
Pittsburgh police said Waddell tossed the fish over the glass surrounding the rink. He was ejected and charged with disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime and disrupting meetings or processions.
“I was fully expecting to get thrown out,” he said. “I knew going into Pittsburgh, being a hockey town, they weren’t going to let me do that on their ice and get away with it, and welcome me back to sit down. But I didn’t care. I knew I was going to get it on the ice one way or another.”
The Nolensville, Tennessee man told Nashville radio station WGFX-FM that he came up with the idea ahead of a trip to see relatives in Ohio.
He said that “like an ignorant redneck, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to throw a catfish on the ice at this game?'”
Waddell said he partially gutted the catfish and ran over it with his truck to flatten it, then stuffed the fish into his compression shorts and walked through a security pat-down unnoticed.
Hockey has a long tradition of objects being thrown on the ice, usually in affection like when fans toss hats to mark hat tricks. There are odd offerings, too, including the time-honored tradition of Detroit Red Wings fans throwing octopi during the playoffs.
“I think it’s great because it creates a rivalry that maybe wasn’t there before, and it’s gotten wheels and legs that you never could imagine,” Waddell said. “I was born and raised in Nashville. Anything I can do to help this city, especially the Preds, get put on the map — Smashville needs a little more respect, I think. This is a way to get it, and if it gets us more fandom, gets us more attention, puts us on the map more — this is my city, so any way I can help, I think it’s pretty cool.”
No longer welcome at Pittsburgh’s arena, Waddell is throwing some shade at Penguins fans who may be traveling to Nashville for Games 3 and 4.
“Their crowd was kind of weak. I’ve been in louder churches than that arena,” he said. “They tried the whole ‘Believe’ moniker — I mean, they just won it last year. It’s not like it was the Cubs; the Cubs won it last year, hadn’t won in 100 years.
“Their team is amazing; their fans are so-so, not nearly like Smashville fans. They’ll find out what real fandom is like when they come here.”
Just like I said yesterday, there was no chance in hell this guy was gonna get charged. I was thinking maybe they’d still slap him with a disorderly conduct, but turns out the leeches (aka attorneys) were losing their minds about somebody getting in trouble for delaying a hockey game by throwing half of a catfish onto the ice. The more I write about this story, the more annoyed I get. This will (hopefully) be my last blog about this subject so let me get a few thoughts off my chest.
First off, Nashville needs to get a new tradition. Don’t steal Detroit’s schtick and then try to make it a thing whenever your team plays well for like the first time ever. Stick to smashing cars like hillbillies and playing depressing ass country music after your team scores goals.
Second off, fuck this guy and all the attorneys who are backing him. There’s nothing more annoying than people trying to warrant attention upon themselves during a big event that doesn’t involve them in the first place. This is like the equivalent of no-name politicians coming out of the woodwork to “disavow” Trump during last year’s election. Nobody knows who the hell you are, nor cares, so quit trying to shift the attention upon yourselves, assholes. These people are the absolute worst.
Finally, this guy needs to cool it with the “They’ll find out what real fandom is like when they come here” talk. Sure, Pittsburgh doesn’t have the loudest fans in the league. But you know why we don’t? We win. Nashville loses. It’s that simple. When the expectation here is to win, we don’t need to act like jagoffs that have never witnessed a big hockey game in our lives before. Call us spoiled. Call us ungrateful. Call us whatever. At least we know to throw hats on the ice after one of our players scores a hat trick.