BEREA, Ohio – A fan was arrested for allegedly throwing a plastic water bottle and hitting Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam during the closing moments of Sunday's 31-30 home loss to the New York Jets.
Cleveland police said Tuesday that Jeffrey Miller, 51, of Rocky River, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and failure to comply. Miller was spotted by stadium video surveillance throwing the bottle and was followed with cameras.
After the Jets scored their go-ahead touchdown on a pass from Joe Flacco to rookie Garrett Wilson with 22 seconds left, Haslam was seen on a video walking toward an end zone tunnel in FirstEnergy Stadium when he was struck by the projectile.
Haslam stopped and pointed in the direction that the bottle came from.
According to the police report, Miller initially failed to stop when ordered by officers. Once he was detained, Miller told police “it never hit the field” as he was being taken to a holding room inside the stadium. He was later booked and held in the Cuyahoga County jail.
In the report, police said Miller appeared to be intoxicated.
The Browns intend to ban Miller from the stadium, a person familiar with the team's decision told The Associated Press. The person to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity while the legal process plays out.
Earlier, the team released a statement condemning fan unruliness.
“Fan, player and staff safety is the top priority in our building and behavior that puts others in danger will not be tolerated,” spokesman Peter Jean-Baptiste said. “Luckily no one was harmed in this incident and as a standard practice, we’ve cooperated with law enforcement authorities and security video footage of the object being thrown is in the appropriate hands.
"We will have no further comment on this matter.”
The Browns were winning 30-17 with 1:55 left before giving up 14 points in a minute and suffering one of the worst losses in team history.
Afterward, star Myles Garrett criticized fans who stuck around until the end for booing the Browns.
In 2001, a game in Cleveland was stopped in the final moments after angered Browns fans pelted the field — and officials — with plastic bottles following a controversial call in a loss to Jacksonville.
The Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.
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