When Alex Sofillas brought his Redskins banner to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, he had no idea it was going to bring him his 15 minutes of national fame and a close encounter with a feisty Eagles player.
Sofillas, a student at West Virginia and a life-long Redskins fan, had traveled a distance to cheer for his team. The 21-year-old brought with him a burgundy flag that read, “You’re in Redskins country” in bold white and gold letters, along with the Redskins logo. Sofillas, along with his father, uncle and a few friends, made their way down to the front railing of their section near the Eagles tunnel during pregame activities.
As the Eagles players exited the tunnel, Sofillas, who stood out alongside a horde of Eagles fans, began waving his Redskins banner. Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy saw the group and ran over to hand out high fives to the Eagles fans. Before he left, he snatched Sofillas’s banner, balled it up and threw it to the ground before trotting off to the field.
“It was shocking,” Sofillas said. “I was like, ‘What just happened?’ He was like, ‘Get this outta here, man.’ He was very strong. His grasp on the flag and his pull was so strong. It was very shocking.”
The Fox cameras caught the exchange and aired footage during the pregame broadcast. Instant critics were divided between those who thought McCoy was out of line, and supporters of the Eagles, who accused Sofillas of taunting McCoy.
“I don’t think I was really taunting him. I was excited like everyone else was excited,” Sofillas said.
Thanks to nearby Comcast SportsNet folks, Sofillas got his banner back. Fox continued to air the footage throughout the game, and he spent the next few hours getting text messages from friends about his newfound fame. The Eagles fans who ended up on camera as a result enjoyed their fame as well, and everyone wanted a piece of the banner.
“The Eagles fans thought it was really cool,” Sofillas laughed. “One of them wanted the flag as a keepsake, I think because LeSean touched it. He didn’t even offer to buy it. He just wanted it. One guy during the game wanted to bet me 30 bucks and the flag on the winner of the game but I declined.”
In the end, Sofillas walked away with his banner intact, a story to tell and no ill feelings toward McCoy.
“When it happened, I don’t think he was doing it in good spirit. But afterwards, I think he realized how it looked,” Sofillas said. “But it was the heat of the moment. I understood. He was pretty pumped up. It was right after the players came out of the locker room. I was standing by a bunch of Eagles fans so he came over to fire them up. I think he just got caught up in the moment.”
(Gif via SB Nation.)