Florida lawmakers seek crackdown on fans who run on field, hurl objects into games

Police tackle fans that ran onto the field during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Imag

Fans who run onto the field during sporting events, try to hit players or coaches, or hurl objects into games could face first-degree misdemeanor charges, under a measure filed Tuesday by Sen. Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee. 

Simon filed the proposal (SB 764) for consideration during the legislative session that will start March 7. It also would apply to other entertainment venues. A similar measure (HB 319) was filed last month by Rep. Taylor Yarkosky, R-Montverde. 

The proposal by Simon, who was an All-American defensive tackle at Florida State University before playing eight years in the National Football League, said fans could face first-degree misdemeanor charges, which carry up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500, if they "knowingly enter or remain unlawfully upon the covered area of a sporting or entertainment event." 

The same charge could be applied for throwing objects on the field or attempting to strike players or coaches. Also, the bill would seek to prevent people from benefiting financially from such actions.