Policing pop department.
Brawl erupts after song played at rodeo
Felix Fanaselle says he and another rodeo patron got into a fight during the playing of Lee Greenwood's Proud to be an American.
By Elma Barrera
ABC13 Eyewitness News
(3/14/03) — Talk of war with Iraq has sparked an atmosphere of tension and anxiety. And it may be to blame for a brawl that broke out at the rodeo Thursday night.
With some 15,000 to 20,000 folks at the rodeo drinking beer and having fun, things can get a little out of hand at times. It happened when a tape of Lee Greenwood's song Proud To Be An American was playing. Some rodeo fans were standing and others were sitting down. Felix Fanaselle and his buddies chose to remain seated.
"This guy behind us starts yelling at us (because) we're not standing up," said Fanaselle. "He starts cussing at us, telling us to go back to Iraq."
The 16-year-old said the man seated behind him started spitting at him and spilling his beer on him and his friends.
"By the end of the song, he pulled my ear. I got up. He pushed me. I pushed him," said Felix. "He punched me in my face. I got him off me."
When the dust settled, Fanaselle had been handcuffed and released. He and John McCambridge were cited for "mutual combat" and fighting in public. That's a $200 fine. Fanaselle's lawyer says you don't have to stand for a country and western song.
"I guess next time, he'll think maybe we need to stand for the Okie From Muscogee," said attorney Clayton Rawlings. "This is phony patriotism. This man needs to be ashamed of himself for what he did."
Rawlings says he and the Fanaselle family will give McCambridge a chance to make this right without going to court. The family says the biggest insult was McCambridge telling Fanaselle to go back to Iraq. Fanaselle is half Hispanic and half Italian.
"He was born in this country and who is this clown to tell him to go back where he came from? He came from Houston, Texas, so he is where he came from," said Rawlings.
Rawlings says if the citation isn't dismissed after witnesses testify, they'll be going to court with accusations of assault and battery, mental anguish and lawyer's fees. Eyewitness news tried to contact John McCambridge in Austin for his side of the story, but so far there's been no response.