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Catfish chomper: 'Everyone else was doing it'

Megan Guza
| Monday, June 12, 2017, 3:18 p.m.
Jason Crystol, 23, takes a bite out of raw catfish in celebration on Carson Street in the South Side, after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, Sunday, June 11, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Jason Crystol, 23, takes a bite out of raw catfish in celebration on Carson Street in the South Side, after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, Sunday, June 11, 2017.

Some Pittsburgh Penguins fans are achieving notoriety for eating dead catfish — raw — off the street during raucous celebrations following the Penguins' Stanley Cup victory over the Nashville Predators.

Photos and videos of Sunday night's antics almost immediately went viral on social media and were picked up by national and international news outlets.

"It was 100 percent peer pressure," post-game catfish eater Jason Crystol, 23, told the Tribune-Review on Monday afternoon. "Everyone else was doing it. I was like, 'I can't just let it lay there.'"

Crystol started Sunday night at PPG Paints Arena, where he attended the Penguins' sold-out Game 6 watch party. He ventured to the South Side with his girlfriend and friends after the game ended.

Police shut down a section of East Carson Street to allow for post-game revelry.

There, a catfish thrown by someone in the crowd landed right in front of Crystol. After some other fans tore into the fish in what they perhaps intended to be a final insult to the Predators, Crystol dug in.

Some Nashville Predators fans achieved notoriety during the Stanley Cup playoffs for throwing dead catfish on the ice during games.

"It was awesome," Crystol, a Monroeville native, said. "But I don't think I'll ever eat a catfish again."

The lifelong Penguins fan added: "It was a fun thing to check off the bucket list. It was a good time – a cool story."

Crystol apologized to his mother for his actions in a tweet Monday morning. As of early Monday afternoon, he hadn't spoken with her.

Crystol, whose birthday is Saturday, said he can't wait to go to the Penguins' victory parade.

"I'm going to take my new status and I want to eat some hot dogs with Phil Kessel," he said.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter at @meganguzaTrib.

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