Here’s a public service announcement for anyone looking to tailgate at Qualcomm Field before a San Diego Chargers game: Burgers and beers are fine, but make sure you leave the football at home.
That’s right, throwing a football in the Qualcomm Field parking lot will result in a sizable fine — a fact 27-year-old Jesse Unger found out the hard way before last month’s Chargers-Colts game.
Unger was tossing the pigskin around prior to kickoff when he was told by police officers to stop. Thinking they were joking, Unger continued until he was handed a citation for — literally — “playing ball.”
San Diego Municipal Code 59.0502, according to U-T San Diego, states that one cannot “intentionally throw, discharge, launch or spill any solid object [including footballs, baseballs, frisbees and other such devices] or liquid substance or otherwise cause subject or substance to be thrown, discharged, launched, spilled, or to become airborne,” and the very first rule posted on Qualcomm’s Parking Lot Policies and Procedures web page expressly prohibits ball throwing of any kind.
Unger’s fine amounted to $280, prompting him to take the ruling to court. Luckily, the judge found the regulation to be ridiculous, and he agreed to offer Unger a suspended $75 fine if he pleaded guilty.
After one of the strangest guilty pleas in recent memory (“I plead guilty to throwing the football, Your Honor.”), the judge reportedly started rambling about the Chargers’ rushing woes, adding a fitting conclusion to the absurd ordeal.