Fans became unruly, officials ducked for cover and one person was knocked unconscious.
Jeffrey Lange feels he alone is being blamed for the vicious flurry of snowballs that almost caused the New York Giants to forfeit a game to the San Diego Chargers last Saturday."I feel like I'm being tossed out there like a piece of meat to the lions," Lange said Thursday at a news conference at his lawyer's office. "I can't believe I've been singled out."
An Associated Press photograph showed Lange throwing a snowball at the game. The photo was published in numerous newspapers.
Lange, 26, of Readington, said today he had no idea he had been photographed and his life has been completely changed since his picture appeared.
He lost his job and believes he is the victim of discrimination, Lange said on ABC-TV's "Good Morning, America."
"I'm not condoning my behavior," he said. "But I got caught up in the moment. We were attacked and we threw at those throwing at us."
Lange was arrested Wednesday. He was charged with improper behavior, specifically for throwing an ice ball onto the field during the game, his attorney, Robert Ballard Jr., said. Ballard said Lange did not throw anything onto the field.
Lange's behavior was unacceptable, but he did not deserve to be arrested for it, Ballard said.
"He has been made the poster child for unruly American fan behavior," Ballard said. "There were thousands of other people at the stadium throwing snowballs."
Lange was released after posting $250 bail. He faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Lange, who was an administrative assistant at a local company he declined to name, will plead innocent to the charge Jan. 3.
Today, Lange said he no longer has a job.
Giants officials and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority had offered a $1,000 reward for the first person to correctly identify Lange from the AP photograph.
About 15 people called the team to identify Lange, Giants officials said.
The publicity Lange has gotten since the game has jaded the lifelong football fan who played the game in high school.
"It's turned my life upside down," he said. "I can't go to work. I can't go out."
One news report Thursday said one of the people who had turned in Lange was his ex-wife. An exasperated Lange protested that he was never married.
But the large number of people who turned him in for the reward upset Lange.
"It's annoying what money can do to people," he said.