It’s not uncommon for elite sportsman to be targets in public. I’ve spent a lot of time in public places with high profile athletes and most of the attention is positive, if a little overbearing.
On the negative side, a couple years ago, I went to a bar with an athlete. This was a weeknight after a long day of sponsor commitments and the athlete felt like a beer to unwind before retiring to his hotel room. We only stayed for two drinks but that was enough time to attract trouble.
First it was happy snaps. Some tipsy office workers wanting photos. Next it was two drunk guys who proceeded to talk in your face as opposed to at your face. Next came the unwanted female attention with some direct and rather disgusting language. And finally it was a group of drunk guys who all of a sudden became experts on my athlete’s sport and started to criticise and hurl insults. We didn’t react. Instead we got out of there, but that didn’t stop one of the guys pushing the athlete whilst yelling “you think you’re better than us?”
I think that last statement sums up the feeling amongst the troublemakers. These people need to bring others down to feel important. And there are plenty of them out there. Eddie has a point.