Man Charged With Throwing Octopus Has Charges Dropped - SB Nation (blog)


Robotic Staff
Staff member
Robotic Staff
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Man Charged With Throwing Octopus Has Charges Dropped
[SIZE=-1]SB Nation (blog)[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]One of the fans who was fined and charged with disorderly conduct late last season for throwing an octopus on the ice at Joe Louis Arena had the charges against him dropped by the city of Detroit. ...[/SIZE]
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Staff member
They don't throw live octopus on the ice, even if it IS a hockey game (sorry Sedna). The animal is dead and was not killed for this purpose (we have yet to see fresh water octopuses in spite of the size of the surrounding lakes that LOOK like oceans). So it might be a gross and barbaric but not cruel in any direct sense.


Haliphron Atlanticus
Let's try to be more objective about this. Keeping octopus is an avocation of mine that I'm very enthusiastic about. Because of my interest in octopus, I'm tempted to see this octopus tossing tradition negatively, but that tradition is part of someone eles's avocation, about which they are very enthusiastic. I'm not ready to support criminalizing some other guy's tradition/hobby without some compelling reason, because I don't want anybody to be able to shut down any part of a hobby that enriches my life without a compelling reason. I'm fine with shutting down fire crackers, hazing, shooting guns in the air, etc. because of the obvious risks, but these guys aren't jeopardizing anything more than the feelings of a few people who have made pets out of a food animal.

There are probably a few people who keep pet turkeys, and if they wanted to hand out $500 fines for people who eat turkey once a year as part of a tradition, I would be against it. There are about 300 million Americans who practice that tradition, so the pet turkey people are ignored, but there are only a few thousand (hundred? :smile: ) Detroit hockey fans, so they're getting fines. I generally think people should be allowed to do whatever they think enriches their lives, unless there is a darn good reason not to let them do it, and the reason shouldn't ever be that there aren't many of them, and their hobby is goofy. Isn't TONMO a small group of people with a goofy hobby?

These fans, collectively, only toss a few octopus per year, and they buy them dead, by the pound, at seafood counters that sell thousands per year for people to eat. They may be doing a very goofy thing, but they're not hurting anybody, or anything, and I think they have as much right to do it as I have to do the harmless and goofy things that I love to do.


Staff member
I think the assumption that they buy them only dead isn't quite correct. There have been many instances in the past of living, writhing, and dying octopus thrown on the ice. I think some fans may prefer it that way - I believe that was the older tradition for sure and I'm sure some fans take pride in throwing them out live. It happens, just keeping that part real.

Even if dead, personally I don't find it any less barbaric than, say, throwing out dead cats at baseball games.

Foolish tradition - one of many - not all traditions are good.

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Colossal Squid
I personally believe that this behaviour promotes the mistreatment of animals. Don't get me wrong, I'm not vegetarian and I do dissect animals, however, I insist that my dinner has been killed humanely (& farmed as such too, so free range eggs, and free farmed pork etc no traditional veal!), and that all students I teach with dissections etc treat the animals with respect and get as much information as they can out of it.

my :twocents:


Haliphron Atlanticus
All of the first hand reports, and videos that I've seen describe dead octopus being tossed, and while I wouldn't be surprised if tossing a live one has happened in the 59 years that fans have been doing it, I would be surprised it it has happened more than 0.5% of the time. Given the difficulty of finding large live octopus in Detroit, plus the difficulty of a fan keeping it alive, maybe for hours, at the game, waiting for a chance to toss it out on the ice, it's probably happened somewhere close to, but not equal to, never. I have found many accounts of people describing the tradition and juicing up the story by saying "live octopus" instead of "octopus". It make a better story, especially if you want your audience to be against the practice, so I'm not surprised that it gets repeated, and believed, but my guess is that the part about the octopus being alive is 99.5% urban legend.

Even if my guess is wrong, my point is the same, that there's something wrong with forcing other people to give up something that they think enhances their lives, just because somebody else disapproves. You have a right to think it's a foolish or barbaric tradition, and I wouldn't try to defend it's merit, but I don't want anyone's "pursuit of happiness" to be impeded just because some other people think it's foolish or barbaric - even if it is.

I think people should be very reluctant to use the law to control other people, and only be willing to do if there's a real problem that needs to be solved. I don't think disapproval is enough. Disapprove all you want, but don't start handing out $500 fines without a really good reason. People should have the right to do foolish things, as long as the consequences to others are minor.

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