U.S. Open Fan Speaks About Altercation
INSIDE EDITION talks exclusively to the man at the center of that infamous incident in the stands at the U.S. Open, who says he's no villain.
It was the altercation seen around the world. Two spectators taking a fall over the seats in the upper deck at America's number one tennis event, the U.S. Open.
The match, broadcast live on ESPN, was brought to a standstill. Even the tennis stars on the court stopped playing and watched in stunned silence.
The announcers at the time said, "I believe there may be an old-fashioned fight going on in the upper deck."
The next day the incident was downloaded more than a million times on YouTube. 27-year-old Joey Pedevill found himself on the front pages of newspapers across the USA as the "badmouth bully" who "goaded a senior citizen and his daughter into a throwdown."
Now, for the first time, Pedevill is speaking out about the incident, exclusively to INSIDE EDITION.
INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney asked Pedevill, "Are you a bully?"
"Absolutely not," said Pedevill.
"Are you a villain?" asked McInernery.
"No," replied Pedevill.
McInernery asked, "Are you proud of your behavior?"
"Of course not. If you get assaulted, you tape the next three minutes of that person's life, nobody would look good," said Pedevill.
Pedevill says he was the one who was assaulted. On the video, you can see the woman hitting him, slapping him across the face.
"She slaps me in the face, assaults me, and I handled it the best way I could. I laughed it off," said Pedevill.
Pedevill says it all started when he and a buddy were sitting in the stands. He says he was rooting for one of the players. He admits he was using some salty language, but he says not while the match was in play.
Then, an elderly man and his daughter sitting four or five seats away got up and approached him.
"She was telling me, 'shut up', 'shut up'!"
McInerney said, "You could have ignored it. You could have turned away."
"I could have ignored a slap?" said Pedevill.
"Before she slaps you, you could have turned away and you could have just sat down. Why not just refrain from cursing?" asked McInerney.
"If she had asked me nicely, or said anything in a proper manner to me at all, I would have said 'fine. You know, no problem, you want me to quiet down, fine.' The first words out of this woman's mouth were, to 'shut up'!"
He says he didn't deserve what happened next, saying, "So eventually, she goes to sit down, after the old guy tugs her away. And then here he comes back and you can hear it. He kicks over my beer, and then he hits me in the face. And there's no where to go, you're gonna fall."
Pedevill says he had no interest in fighting with the 75-year-old man.
"You'll see that I get up. I never try to attack the guy. And then the woman, instead of trying to help her father, grabs me by the neck," said Pedevill.
Pedevill says he understands how he came out looking like the bad guy. Afterall, he was in an argument with a woman and her elderly father.
McInerney said, "Why do you think the crowd turns against you?"
Pedevill said, "I think because I'm the younger man. I think that they probably could relate to her more. I mean sure I was being loud, but I didn't deserve to be assaulted."
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