(Image via gofundme.com)
Staff Writer: Maya Arruda
Football fans are some of America’s most hardcore and passionate sports fans. Finding people who are more loyal and dedicated to their chosen team is hard. However, this passion and loyalty can lead to violence between fans of rival teams that ends in unfair tragedy.
A New Hampshire resident and avid New England Patriots fan, Dale Mooney, 53, traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, to watch the Patriots play against the Miami Dolphins.
Mooney had been a season ticket holder for the Patriots for the past 30 years, and there was no way he would miss the Patriots going against the team that tried to poach Tom Brady.
The game was very heated, and so were the fans. Before 11 PM, police and paramedics were called to respond after two fans fought, but only one stood up. The fan on the ground was rushed to Sturdy Memorial Hospital for treatment.
On September 17th, 2023, Dale Mooney died in Sturdy Memorial Hospital after the fight with another football fan.
Joey Kilmartin, a witness to the fight, stated that “[Mooney] basically engaged in mutual combat with another fan.”
Kilmartin had filmed the fight and turned the footage over to the police as evidence.
“It looked like somebody was in the middle of them, and then a man in a Dolphins jersey reached over, and he connected two punches to the victim’s head. It wasn’t something crazy or out of the ordinary until, 30 seconds later, the guy wasn’t getting up,” Kilmartin elaborated.
However, despite witness testimony saying Mooney had been punched twice in the head before collapsing to the ground, the preliminary autopsy report claims that physical trauma was not the cause of death.
Instead, an underlying medical issue may have caused Mooney’s death.
“Cause and manner of death remain undetermined pending further testing,” Norfolk DA Spokesperson David Traub stated.
The full results of the autopsy have not yet been released, though this is not unusual. It can take up to six weeks for the full autopsy results to be ready.
Mooney’s death is still under investigation. There have been no arrests.
Dale Mooney leaves behind his wife of 27 years, Lisa, and his two children, Brandon and Aaron. Dale also leaves behind his siblings-in-law and his brother, James. Dale Mooney’s funeral and wake were held on September 25th.
Mooney’s full obituary can be found here to pay respects.
A GoFundMe called “The Amazing Husband and Father Dale Mooney” was created on September 19th to help support Mooney’s family after his tragic death. So far, over $30,000 has been raised for the family. Both Patriots and Dolphin fans have donated to help support the Mooney family.
Miami Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed shared this GoFundMe on Twitter shortly after the fundraiser was created.
“Stuff like this should never happen, especially at a football game that we all love,” Ahmed posted.
However, not all Dolphins players have been as empathetic as Ahmed for Dale Mooney’s loss.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill publicly called Patriots fans “some of the worst fans in the NFL” the same night Mooney died after a fight with a Dolphins fan.
Consequently, a Change.org petition was made on September 19th that calls for Tyreek Hill to pay for Mooney’s funeral. Over 500 people have signed since.
Tyreek Hill has made no public response since.
Dale Mooney’s death is a tragic aberration that should have never occurred. Hopefully, the authorities press criminal charges against the Dolphin fans who punched Mooney in the head, and Mooney’s family will get justice and closure.
If anyone has information regarding Dale Mooney’s death, please contact the Norfolk District Attorney at 781-830-4990.