‘I wanted to see the games’: Cleveland man arrested for jumping fence at Progressive Field explains why he did it

Updated: Oct. 9, 2020 at 11:47 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Otis, who would prefer to go by Malcolm Hicks, was on a national stage after he was one of two arrested for jumping the fence at Progressive Field, breaking COVID-19 regulations.

In an interview with 19 News, he explained that he was a fan that wanted to see the Indians play.

“I consider myself an advocate for the Tribe, I love baseball,” he said. “Due to COVID, we weren’t able to any games. It’s a big rivalry, and I wanted to see the games.”

This apparent love for the Tribe is what motivated Hicks that night break COVID-19 restrictions and to climb over the park’s left-field fence. For a few minutes, he was one of only two people in the stadium that were not allowed to be there.

Hicks was subsequently arrested and fined for his actions, which he admits were not a good idea.

“I had to spend 5 days away from the mother of my child—my son— and she’s bearing,” he explained.

The MLB’s restriction on attendance was meant to be part of an effort to curb the impact of COVID-19, which has already claimed over 200,000 lives and impacted millions more. Hicks argues, though, that MLB fields should not be closed if other venues can allow fans.

“The Browns are admitting 6,000-7,000 people,” he said. “Every aspect of civilization is being closed, but you still pick certain things that can be open, I don’t understand it.”

Hicks also added that, despite his mission to enter the stadium, he still understands the importance of social distancing.

“Yes, I made a poor decision, but everyone follows the COVID rules,” he said.

As for the fence hopping, he said he doesn’t plan on doing it again: “I got it out of my system.”

But he certainly doesn’t want his actions to start a trend with other fans desperate to enjoy something that’s simply not possible during this pandemic.

“I do not tell anyone to hop a fence by no means, because you will be apprehended,” Hicks said.

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