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What is the Penalty for Streaking at the Super Bowl?

The penalty for streaking at any sporting event depends on a variety of factors including the state and what other charges are levied against the offender.

When a streaker ran onto the field at Super Bowl 55 between the Buccaneers and Chiefs, the punishment was a misdemeanor for trespassing, a night in jail, and a $500 fine. [1]

 In other circumstances, the punishment can be even harsher. Additional charges like resisting arrest and indecent exposure can invoke harsher punishment. Texas has some of the strictest rules where streaking at a sporting event can cost you $2000 dollars and 180 days in jail. [2]

Key Takeaways

  • Potential fines, jail time, and other consequences can depend on what state the game is being played in and if resisting arrests and misdemeanors are part of the charge.
  • At a minimum, streakers can expect to spend the night in jail and be charged with trespassing.
  • Monetary fines can vary from a few hundred dollars to upwards of two thousand depending on the state and what other charges are filed such as indecent exposure or resisting arrest. 

Usual Punishments and Fines

While the punishment for the streaker in Florida seems minimal, that shouldn’t encourage anyone to hurdle over the railing and onto the field. Some states have much stricter punishments for trespassing at sporting events. 

In Texas, for example, streaking comes with more dire consequences. In the Lone Star state, a streaker is likely to be charged with Criminal Trespassing. This is a Class B misdemeanor and can be punished with up to 180 days in jail and a fine that can reach $2,000. [3]

A more lenient outcome would be disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor that doesn’t entail jail time and has a similar fine to what the streaker in Florida had to pay. 

The actual punishment depends on what law enforcement decides to charge the streaker with. Resisting arrest is another common charge that is sometimes levied on streakers and dodging security can be considered resisting arrest. If this charge is added, you can expect the misdemeanor to carry an additional fine of $1,000 and another 90 days in jail. [4]

For those hoping to end up on television and enjoy their moment of immortality, they’re in for disappointment. TV crews immediately cut away from the action when someone runs on the field, in hopes of discouraging other people from imitating them. But in the age of YouTube, there’s plenty of fan footage of streakers at various sporting events.

The streaker at the Super Bowl may not have been looking for fame, but a financial windfall. A story came out after the game that the streaker had made a sizable prop bet that there would be a streaker at the Super Bowl. The payout? $374,000. [5]

Unintended Consequences

On top of the legal fees and arrest record, sometimes streakers can get more than they bargained for when they run onto the field of play.

Read more: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN NFL GAME IS DELAYED?

Can we please stop with these gender reveals? Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner took matters into his own hands, wiping out the wannabe celebrity so the game could continue. 

Wagner wasn’t the first athlete to clean up the mess instead of waiting for security to run them down. In some cases, security details have allowed the streaker to run amok for several minutes hoping they’ll tire out and make the chase easier. 

You can hardly blame players or security officers for being rough with these yahoos when they come sprinting out of the stands. But while these interruptions tend to be innocent and likely fueled by alcohol, there’s always the fear that the streaker may be carrying a weapon or intend to do either players or officials harm. 

While there hasn’t been a case like this at an NFL game yet, I can’t blame players that want to keep their distance and let someone else deal with the streaker.

Streakers… Suing?

Streakers have even tried to extract their pound of flesh from the players that have tackled them with, in their opinion, too much force. The gender-revealing streaker that Bobby Wagner took care of has filed a lawsuit against the Santa Cruz Police Department for what his lawyers are calling, “a flagrant assault.” [6]

A similar situation cropped up at a Canadian Football League game in 2018 where a streaker claimed he suffered serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury when Marcell Young of the British Columbia Lions tackled him. [7]

Kevin Harlan Immortalizes a Streaker

Commentator Kevin Harlan is one of my favorite announcers in professional sports. In addition to doing play-by-play for CBS, Harlan also calls games on the radio for Westwood One. [8]

In 2016, toward the end of a game between the 49ers and Rams, Harlan decided to have a little fun when a streaker came sprinting onto the field.

A few years later, Kevin Harlan was on the mic again for our infamous Super Bowl 55 streaker. And to the delight of social media, Harlan did not disappoint.

Harlan must have some sort of streaker magnet attached to him. Because guess who was doing the radio play-by-play for the infamous gender review? 

References

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/super-bowl/2021/02/08/super-bowl-streaker-man-ran-field-charged-trespassing/4434479001/
  2. https://versustexas.com/streaking-punishment/#:~:text=Punishments%20for%20fans%20who%20streak,lifetime%20ban%20from%20the%20venue
  3. https://versustexas.com/streaking-punishment/#:~:text=Punishments%20for%20fans%20who%20streak,lifetime%20ban%20from%20the%20venue
  4. https://www.findlaw.com/state/washington-law/washington-indecent-exposure-laws.html
  5. https://wwos.nine.com.au/news/super-bowl-lv-streaker-bets-on-himself-wins-big/64d77960-ab28-4a91-940c-05bf66c35e2e
  6. https://en.as.com/nfl/fan-hit-by-bobby-wagner-at-mnf-to-take-legal-action-against-rams-n/
  7. https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/06/21/streaker-hit-by-player-at-cfl-game-hires-lawyer-says-he-was-injured/
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