[Editor's note: While I cannot say that I heard the language that Espindola reportedly used, I was only a row up from where he flipped off fans. Despite my best efforts, no video or pictures are currently in my possession to use for this article. If any do come about I will update with them.]
At halftime of the Philadelphia Union’s 1-1 draw on Saturday, frustrated Real Salt Lake striker Fabian Espindola lost his composure and made an unprofessional ‘salute’ to the Sons of Ben in the River End on his way to the away team locker room.
Espindola, who later scored the game tying goal for Salt Lake, had heard a number of chants from the Sons of Ben throughout the first half directed towards him. As the 26-year-old made his way past sections 139 and 138, fans have told the Brotherly Game that Espindola used some choice language before moving to the stairs that lead to the players hallway. Once in between sections 137 and 136, where the stairs and hallway that lead to the locker rooms lies, the Argentine found the fans in the area to be even more of a problem, proceeding to flip off all those in the vicinity.
Once the game was over the former Boca Juniors forward made his way past the same fans, but didn't make any gestures or say anything to fans, instead choosing to ignore all the comments directed at him.
MLS has taken situations like this one serious, reportedly going so far as to investigate claims that former Toronto FC defender Adrian Serioux flipped off fans at BMO Field in Toronto while visiting with his then team FC Dallas.
Situations in American sports similar to this one have ended in team or league based fines, typically in the $5,000-$10,000 range. Allen Iverson was fined $5,000, while still with the Philadelphia 76ers, for flipping off Milwaukee Bucks fans in 2003, and Michael Vick, then with the Atlanta Falcons, was fined $10,000, a $5,000 for each of his middle fingers, for giving the double bird to Falcons fans in 2006, along with other notable sports figures as Mike Ditka and Larry Csonka.