Fan rips facemask off Joe Montana statue after 49ers suffer first loss of season

After the San Francisco 49er’s first loss of the season to division rival Seattle, a criminal act that added insult to injury. A fan defaced the Joe Montana statue outside Levi’s Stadium.
 
“This is just stupidity, and it makes you shake your head more than anything,” said 49ers fan Matt McCain.
 
Santa Clara police said 37-year-old suspect Jorge Lopez intentionally grabbed the facemask on the statue and ripped it off. Video on social media showed the inauspicious moment as fans were streaming out of the stadium.
 
The Montana statue is one half of the artwork depicting “The Catch,” when San Francisco football moved from also-rans to world champions.
 
“Long-time fan. Suffering early on and then I think it was the ’81 [season], everything changed with the catch,” said 49er fan Alberto Sanchez.
 
The 49ers released a statement that said in part, “Crews have already begun repairs on the statue and expect work to be completed prior to Sunday’s game.”
 
A replacement facemask is now in place, and other tweaks are in the works so the damage isn’t visible. Jorge Lopez is charged with felony vandalism.
 
“As folks are leaving, our security forces whether they’re law enforcement or private security folks, are in position that they’re watching the fan exodus and in this case they observed this fan acting unruly and damaging the statue,” said Capt. Wahid Kazem, a spokesman for the Santa Clara Police Department. 
 
Managers for the 49ers said they contacted the statue manufacturer to make sure they have another back-up face mask in case something like this happens again. Additionally they say they’ll have added security out here keeping watch to make sure no one else vandalizes a statue. Team officials declined to say how much the damage will cost, or how the artist and manufacturer reacted. Santa Clara police say the lesson is simple.
 
“Whether it’s a good game or a bad one, let’s leave the venue as we found it,” said Kazem.