Home  »  Military  »  ‘Stop Using Your Wheelchair As A Crutch': Marine Who Lost Both Legs In Combat Forced Out Of Restaurant By NC Panthers Fans

Oct 26, 2012 Comments Off Pat Dollard

Excerpted from The Daily Mail:
A U.S. Marine who lost both his legs in Afghanistan was forced to leave a Charlotte restaurant with his family after local football fans hurled vile abuse at them for wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys.

Marine Garrett Carnes, of Mooresville, North Carolina attended Sunday’s Carolina Panthers’ game against the Cowboys with his wife Courtney, their parents, and friends Brett and Nicole Coburn.

After the game, which the Cowboys won 19-14, the group stopped at the Moosehead Grill for dinner. Several members of the party, including Garrett Carnes, were proudly wearing their Dallas Cowboys jerseys.

A group of disgruntled Panthers fans spotted their jerseys and started to taunt Carnes and his group even before they entered the restaurant.

‘Courtney was the first one out of the vehicle, and while she was getting Garrett’s wheelchair, one guy immediately started yelling at her,’ Brett Coburn told The Charlotte Observer.

Once in the restaurant, the Panthers fans continued to mock Carnes and his group. One person told Garrett Carnes: ‘Don’t use your wheelchair as a crutch.’

Carnes, who is still undergoing treatment for his wounds at a Washington-area hospital, told them he was a veteran who had lost his legs in Afghanistan.

The situation quickly deteriorated and according to witnesses the two parties almost came to blows after one of the Panthers fans approached Carnes in a threatening manner.

Other patrons stepped in to defuse the situation, but staff asked Garrett Carnes and his party to leave. The police were called by Courtney Carnes, although no charges were filed.

Carnes’ mother, Rhonda, has since addressed a note to restaurant patrons on Facebook. She wrote: ‘Why didn’t any of you stand up for my son and daughter? And to think my son almost died for every single person in that bar, by defending all your freedom.’