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US: Two more laser pointer incidents at U.S. football games

In the week after widespread publicity when a laser was aimed at NFL Buffalo Bills players on Sunday October 5 2014, two other U.S. football-related incidents made the news. It is not known if these incidents were copycats, or were unrelated but were judged more newsworthy in the aftermath of the NFL case.

Hawaii college game interrupted by laser pointer


On Saturday October 11 2014, a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Wyoming was interrupted in the fourth quarter. A green laser light had been spotted on the field near Wyoming’s quarterback.

The referee stopped the game announced over the public address speakers, “There's a member of the stadium that has a laser pointer that continues to shine in the eyes of the offensive players. We're currently seeking game management and security to resolve that situation." The person was not found.

University of Hawaii officials said they believe the laser was more powerful than classroom pointers, which legally are limited to 5 milliwatts.

Under Hawaii Revised Statues, Chapter 136, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess a laser pointer. Shining a laser at a person can lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was asked by KHON if he knew of any previous laser pointer incident. Jay told the TV station, “To my knowledge ... it really hasn’t happened at a college football game in recent memory that I can recall. But I think the spate of some of the recent NFL games that have been affected by lasers probably prompted this person to do such a really idiotic act.”

There may have been another laser pointer at the game, as well. A person in the press box told KHON he saw a red light “dancing for about two seconds or so .... which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”

A spokesperson for the Mountain West athletic conference said he was not aware of any other laser incidents at Mountain West venues. The 12-college conference oversees intercollegiate sports including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. He told KITV, “We have already communicated with all appropriate parties within the Conference to take whatever measures necessary to address and eliminate the use of laser pointers.”

Aloha Stadium officials said they would step up bag checks but that finding laser pointers on entering fans would be difficult.

From KHON2.com (story 1 and follow-up story 2) and KITV.com

Michigan high school game delayed due to laser pointer


On Friday October 10 2014, a football game between Walled Lake Western high school and Walled Lake Central high school was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. A laser pointer was used to distract Walled Lake Western players during the game. According to MLive.com, “Play was stopped for an extended period of time as officials, police officers and other members of the school's security staff gathered to discuss the matter and attempt to put a stop to it. The culprit was not located, though no further issues arose involving a laser pointer.”

Walled Lake, Michigan is about 26 miles northwest of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the October 5 2014 laser pointer incident occurred during an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Walled Lake is also 6 miles southwest of West Bloomfield Township, where Mark (or Marko) Beslach lives; he is the Detroit fan identified by ESPN and ABC News as the person who used the laser during the NFL game and was subsequently banned indefinitely from Ford Field.

Map of Detroit area
Map showing Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township, and Detroit in relation to each other


From MLive.com

US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players

The NFL football fan who shined a green laser pointer beam at two players on October 5 2014, has been “banned indefinitely from attending all future events at Ford Field,” according to an October 9 press release from the Detroit Lions football team.

In addition, the person was charged with disorderly conduct by the Detroit City Prosecutor’s Office. This is a misdemeanor and would require payment of a small fine ($50, according to WSJM.com).

Finally, the Ford Field season ticket holder whose tickets were used by the laser-wielding person has had his tickets revoked for the remainder of the 2014 football season (e.g., five regular season home games).

In the October 9 press release, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand wrote “[T]his occurrence was unique in that it could have affected the integrity of the game and more importantly could have jeopardized player safety.”

The Lions’ statement did not name the individual. Detroit city attorney Melvin Hollowell identified the person as a 17-year-old from the Detroit-area township of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

ESPN reported that the person was “Mark Beslach”, ABC News reported he was “Marko Beslach, a recent high-school graduate.”

Marko Beslach ABC News laser pointer Lions Bills Orton
The person identified as Marko Beslach by ABC News on its program “World News Tonight”


In a statement to the press, Lewand was asked if the season-ticket holder was the youth’s father. Lewand declined to give specifics but did say there was a close relationship between the laser perpetrator and the ticket holder.

A person with the account “Marko Beslach” tweeted before and after the game on October 5, about having a laser pointer and having used it on Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. The tweet was later deleted, but not before a screenshot was recorded.

Lewand said the tweets were part of how they found the perpetrator: “I certainly don’t think he did himself any favors by talking about it.”

The Lions said that stadium security and operations staffs worked with team security, NFL security, and Detroit Police to find and penalize the perpetrator.

The ban will be implemented, according to Lewand, using technologies such as paperless ticketing, camera monitoring systems and identification processes. If the ban was violated, the person would be prosecuted for trespassing.

Lewand also noted that ticket holders who sell their tickets are responsible for the behavior of the buyers. The sellers could lose their rights to tickets if the buyer causes problems.

Laser pointers are banned from all 32 NFL stadiums.

From the Detroit Lions press release, ESPN, ABC News, WSJM.com and FOX Sports. For details about the original incident, and the initial reports about the Marko Beslach tweets, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - October 10 2014: News source MLive.com reported that the father of the laser-wielding youth has asked for police protection due to harassment from Buffalo Bills fans. Details are in this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - June 29 2015: Marko Beslach in November 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $235, had to do 80 hours of community service, and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He will have his case reviewed November 23 2015. From the Detroit Free Press.

US: UPDATED - Laser aimed at NFL team quarterback, holder

Someone in the stands of an American football game aimed a laser pointer at players on October 5 2014.

The game was between the Buffalo Bills (visitors) and the Detroit Lions (home team). The laser pointer was aimed at Bills holder Colton Schmidt just before an unsuccessful 50-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter. Kicker Dan Carpenter was upset after the kick, talking to a referee until officials told him to return to the sideline. WIVB TV reported that the referee could be seen mouthing the words “No, I didn’t see it” to Carpenter.

In a post-game press conference, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the issue was resolved before the end of the game. He characterized the laser incident as less of a distraction and more of a motivator for Carpenter, who won the game with a successful 58-yard field goal with four seconds left to play.
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