Panthers fan from Chapel Hill put in choke hold by security at Cowboys game

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — “I didn’t do anything!” a Chapel Hill man at a Carolina Panthers game screams in a disturbing video that is going viral.

With five minutes left in the game Thanksgiving Day — with the Panthers cruising to victory against the Cowboys – there was a wild scene in the stands at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Twenty-four-year-old John Small had traveled from Chapel Hill with his mom to attend the game and cheer on their beloved Panthers to an 11-0 record.

Small and his mom also went to the game because it was a year after his father — who loved the Panthers — had died.  The family wanted to honor Small’s dad and keep that off of their minds for the holiday.

Related: Click here to watch the video. (WARNING: Contains swearing and curse words)

But as Small told WNCN – everything went wrong that day when security said they received complaints about Small — and it was time to leave.

“Let go of him, let go!” a woman can be heard yelling as Small is held in a choke hold during the video, which lasts about 1 minute.

“At first I thought they had the wrong guy and then I realized they were serious about it, so I wanted to get out of there without causing a scene, but I certainly threw up the 11-and-0 (paper) sign that I had rolled up all game,” Small told WNCN.

“At that point in time, I was walking up the steps in the aisle and got shoved in the back by one of the security guards,” Small said.

Small described what he felt while he was put in a terrifying choke hold.

“I was in an all-out panic,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe, I was trying to get out of the choke hold, that wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the guy in the Chicago Bears jersey, but I was just freaking out, I was panicking.”

Small was pushed over onto the ground at one point while in the choke hold.

A Chicago Bears fan tried several times to pull the security guard’s arm off of Small – and eventually succeeded.

Local police let Small go — but the Arlington Police Department is investigating the incident to see if stadium workers acted appropriately.

In the meantime – Small hasn’t heard from anyone with the Dallas Cowboys.

“I really don’t know what’s going to come of all of this,” he said. “We’re just trying to figure it what we’re going to do on our end.”

Small admits to drinking a few beers before and during the game… But maintains he did nothing wrong and never heard complaints from those around him.

Right now — he won’t say whether he plans to pursue legal action.

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