Yesterday, a tweet started circulating on Twitter that purportedly showed Mercyhurst men’s hockey player Carson Briére, son of former NHLer and current Philadelphia Flyers GM Daniel Briére, and another unidentified man inexplicably tossing an empty wheelchair down the stairs at Sullivan’s Pub in Erie, Penn. Seconds later, with the wheelchair upended one flight down, both men casually stroll into the pub, as nonchalantly as if they had tossed a red Solo cup into the trash instead of throwing someone’s access to the world down a flight of stairs.
Deadspin reached out to Mercyhurst’s Athletic Department yesterday evening, but received no response. This morning, the school issued a statement all but confirming one of the men was Briére.
Updated: Carson Briére admitted he pushed the wheelchair and provided a statement to TMZ Sports: “There is no excuse for my actions,” he told the outlet. “and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
Upon fessing up Briére claims he is “deeply sorry” for his behavior.
His father had this to say, per TMZ: “They are inexcusable and run completely counter to our family’s values on treating people with respect. Carson is very sorry and accepts full responsibility for his behavior.”
Where it started
Here’s the original tweet and the statement:
Julia Zukowski, who posted the original tweet thread, confirmed to Deadspin that the man in the white hat is Briére. Zukowski tweeted that the wheelchair was left at the top of the stairs because the woman who uses it (who wishes to remain anonymous) had to be carried downstairs to use the restrooms. So not only did this woman have to deal with inaccessible restrooms, she had a couple of assholes toss her chair down the stairs for no reason that anyone can discern. A GoFundMe has been established to help the woman purchase a new chair.
Deadspin also attempted to reach out to Briére for comment, but received no reply before the story went to publication. However, Zukowski did share this direct message from Briére that she received on Instagram shortly after the piece went viral:
This is where I stop you from emailing me with your “boys will be boys!” nonsense about how boys don’t know why they destroy things, their brains aren’t fully developed, blah blah blah. Carson Briére is not a child. He is a 24-year-old man who plays hockey and has a father who works at hockey’s highest level. This is bullying, plain and simple. It goes without saying that the only reason a wheelchair would be sitting unattended in a public space is that 1) someone uses it or 2) someone will need to use it. This is the equivalent of grabbing a wheelchair at the entrance of your grocery store and ramming it into a display full of canned corn. Idiotic. Cruel. Absolutely unhinged.
According to the Mercyhurst statement, the school is investigating. Deadspin reached out to the Erie Police Department to determine if they were also looking into the matter but, at the time of publication, we had not received a response.
Updated: After this story went to publication, Dan Spizarney, chief at the City of Erie Police Department, reached out to Deadspin with the following statement: “We are aware of the incident, a report was recently made, we’ve begun an investigation, but at this time we can’t comment any further.”
We’ll continue to update this story as more information becomes available or if anyone decides to comment.