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Los Gatos Man Starts Nonprofit After Being Attacked at 49ers Game

Los Gatos resident Manuel Austin was brutally beaten Dec. 19 before a Monday night football game at Candlestick Park, starts website to curb fan violence.

Los Gatos resident Manuel Austin sat in his seat at Candlestick Park at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2011 as his beloved team, the San Francisco 49ers were set to square off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night football match-up that would be broadcast to viewers around the world.

Unfortunately, Austin would never see the game.

Moments after he got to his seat, the stadium’s power went out causing a blackout that lasted several minutes. A group of intoxicated and unruly fans sitting in the row in front of Austin and his family stood up during the confusion.

As the lights turned back on, Austin, 66, said he asked the gentleman directly in front of him to sit down so he could enjoy the opening program—the man responded with a verbal outburst of swearing and physical threats.

The two exchanged words and before Austin knew it, the fan and two other men sitting in the row in front of Austin attacked him, striking him in the face, eyes and mouth, causing him to lose three teeth and thus putting him into a semi-conscious state as one man jumped on top of him and continued to hit him.

“I’d be dead if it weren’t for my son,” said Austin of his son who shares the same first name, Manuel A. Austin. His son, who was accompanied by his wife and mother, helped break up the scuffle. “I never hit or struck anybody.”

Austin’s wife Linda alerted a stadium usher and security came to the scene and detained Austin and the three intoxicated fans.

One of the men involved, according to police, was Mark Bollock, 57, of Mendocino County, who was cited for assault. However, Bollock told the San Francisco Chronicle that Austin was the attacker. The altercation remains under investigation by the San Francisco Police Department and no other suspects have been charged.

Austin, who owns the San Jose-based private mail service A & A Distribution, spent three hours in the intensive care unit at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos.

His life has not been the same since that Monday night incident. He still receives therapy on a regular basis, endures headaches, dizzy spells, vomits on a daily basis and has lost 50 percent of his hearing in his left year.

"Life has been hell for me," he said.

Despite the pain he has sustained, Austin is currently using his experience to advocate against fan violence all over the world, bringing awareness to the irresponsible drinking, intimidation and bullying that goes on in the stands of professional sports games.

“It’s like the wild, wild west when you go to a football game,” Austin said. “We can’t put people at risk with that kind of drunken behavior, it’s inexcusable.”

Austin started a nonprofit website, endfanviolence.com, and is working with local elected officials such as Congressman Mike Honda and Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman to craft legislation to fine offenders of fan violence, prosecute offenders with harsher criminal sanctions and create a registry of those who are cited for assault.

“We also want to make the person who purchases the game ticket responsible for actions taken,” Austin said. “There has to be punitive measures against those offenders.”

According to Austin, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee have reached out to him as he recovers from his injuries.

“Everybody has been really caring and really nurturing,” he said.

The attack at Candlestick Park came just eight months after was brutally beaten by two men in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium following the opening day match-up between the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Stow was in an induced coma for several months and had part of his skull surgically removed to relieve some of the pain.

Austin said if it weren’t for the interference of his son during the violent altercation on Dec. 19, he would be in the same condition as Stow.

“I’d be a Bryan Stow if my son wasn’t there,” he said.

Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz March 01, 2012 at 10:10 PM
This is just plain SAD! Back in the day when I was married to a New Yorker. We were at a N.Y. Yankee Game & I wondered why my spouse said that I had to be walked to the restroom. I had no idea it was because of the violence that goes on at the game....Now CA is getting as bad as New York!
Mick Johnson March 14, 2012 at 04:26 AM
they arrested the idiot...maybe he has some money or property Mr Austin can sue for. He can't hit him back...well, not legally anyway.
Mick Johnson March 14, 2012 at 04:32 AM
The attacker was only 9yrs his junior...so age really isn't that much of an issue. 6'5" 300 lbs...That...is an issue, along with the alcohol. I avoid violent confrontations with a passion...I am trained, Militarily, and personally in the 'art' of 'Violence', the brute should be praying daily and giving thanks that someone such as myself, and many others like myself, were not in the seat that Mr Austin occupied. It would have been an entirely different article you would be reading. ooorah. Oh Yeah....Mace>>>Chemical Mace is a tear gas in the form of an aerosol spray which propels a lachrymatory agent mixed with a volatile solvent. It is sometimes used as a self-defense device. This form of Mace is legal in very few countries, thus its use is becoming uncommon. But I reckon you already knew that...
Mick Johnson March 14, 2012 at 04:43 PM
he wont go to jury...he will plead-out,
Mike Calahan May 01, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Unless witnesses come forward, this case won't go very far. Bollock was cited and ejected from the game, but, from what I've found, has never been formally arrested. Even if a criminal case doesn't go through, Manuel can sue this guy and make his life hell. Bollock claimed he had been attacked and suffered a black eye and some bruises on his shoulder (injuries most children suffer when learning to ride a bike), but I don't see him attempting to bring awareness to fan violence. Hmmm.

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