The New Orleans Saints fan who started a controversy when he snatched a ball intended for a female Bengals fan on Sunday has released a statement to his fellow Saints fans.
The New Orleans Advocate reports that Tony Williams is a long-time Saints season-ticket holder who maintains that since the ball was not directly handed to the Bengals fan, he had as much right to it as anyone.
“He tossed the ball," Williams said. "It’s fair game, to me. My whole mindset was my grandson.”
"The Saints fans that were around me, and know me... they were all saying, 'Keep the ball.' But the other people, where the lady was, (were) saying, 'Give her the ball.' I caught it fair."
Williams kept the ball and eventually handed it off to his 8-year-old grandson a few sections over.
The ball's intended recipient, Bengals fan Christa Barrett, was later given another football by the Saints staff and promised additional swag by Cincinnati tight end Jermaine Gresham, who threw the ball.
- Brendan Maloy