A young gay couple was left bruised and beaten after being assaulted in what the NYPD believe to be a hate crime perpetrated by fans of the Knicks basketball team. The event took place outside of Madison Square Garden during the playoffs and a video of what are believed to be the offending Knicks fans — decked out accordingly — has surfaced and has gone viral, along with the story itself, across the Web.
The incident involving the allegedly "gay-bashing" Knicks fans happened on Sunday, May 5. The video of what police believe may be the assaulters shows a group of young men, in Knicks team colors/jerseys, who supposedly are coming from beating up 27-year-old Nick Porto (who ended up with a broken nose) and his 22-year-old partner Kevin Atkins (who was left with a broken wrist).
The alleged gay-bashing comes on the heels of NBA player Jason Collins coming out as the first openly gay male athlete in the U.S. (though the Atlantic claims otherwise).
Atkins and Porto say when they were walking home after a Sunday brunch they encountered a group of young men who began making fun of them for being homosexual. Their hair was pulled, they were aggressively attacked and their belongings were ransacked.
"I've never had a feeling like this before in the city," Porto said from his partner Kevin Atkins' Bed-Stuy home, as relayed by DNAInfo. "I didn't know that it's not over, that this sort of stuff still happens."
Porto also took to Facebook to explain what he felt happened.
"A group of Knicks fans were upset about the game and they just decided to 'fag bash' the two of us ... They called us f----ts. They made fun of my jeans — I made the jeans myself, for that day ... Fists started flying. I was on the ground, and the only thing I could do, I reached out and grabbed someone's hair."
Porto also added that he feels somewhat responsible for Atkins' being hurt during the attack, as perhaps he could have kept himself from talking back to the assailants. Atkins works in reality television and has a job that requires a great deal of typing; this is something that won't be so easy to accomplish with a broken wrist.
"I'm so upset — it's my fault, I spoke back to them — that Kevin was hit," Porto said. "He didn't deserve it whatsoever ... I was that idiot that should have just walked away."
More than the physical wounds, Porto seems to have lost a sense of safety he'd had about being a gay man in New York City.
"I was being foolish," Porto said. "I was so naive to think that things were better here."
Since being posted on YouTube less than two days ago (as of Friday, May 10), the video of the alleged assailants has already been viewed more than 3,000 times. Comments have, understandably, been disabled for the video, though it and the story has traveled far and wide across the 'Net as yet another sad reminder of the hatred and fear that still exists in America today.
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