14 Questions We STILL Have About the Montgomery Riverboat Brawl
Photo: Michael Barera/WikiCommons

14 Questions We STILL Have About the Montgomery Riverboat Brawl

We have watched the footage over and over. And over. Still, we're seeking answers.

If you're anything like us, you've seen the video. Many, many times. Various angles. Sound on. Sound off. Director's commentary. Soundtrack music both original and classic. You've watched the footage more times than you've seen your own wedding video, or your kid take their first steps, or that no-look three from Steph Curry. You can account for every person who was present, and all of the fades that were handed out.

If you're anything like us, the preceding paragraph needs no explanation. You're aware of what happened at Alabama's Montgomery Riverfront Park this past weekend, when a Black man was going about his day, doing his job, literally minding his business, before a bunch of white folks got irrationally angry and responded to a simple request with fisticuffs. And you're also filled with glee due to the way Black bystanders—men and women—immediately swooped in by land (and sea) to protect their skinfolk, and lay the smackdown on some un-melanated boaters who effed around and found out.

Related: 15 Questions We Have About Jerone Davison's Bizarre "Democrats in Hoods" Political Ad

If you're anything like us, you've been enjoying the smorgasbord of social media jokes at the expense of the pasty perpetrators who tried that in a small town. But after many, many replays—if you're anything like us—you've still got questions. So many questions. We'll be thinking about the Montgomery Ferry Brawl (also known as Fade in the Water, The Alabama Sweet Tea Party, and, simply, August 5th) for a very long time. We're sure you will, too. And hopefully, one day, we'll all get answers to the following questions.

1. Why was their boat there in the first place?

The entire situation began when a group of white boaters docked their boat (shown above) and left it despite being told it couldn't stay there because a riverboat was about to dock. We could be wrong, but we’re pretty sure proper boat docking etiquette is one of the first things they cover in White People Etiquette School, right up there with talking your way out of a traffic ticket by mentioning you’re buddies with the county sheriff, and how to incorrectly guess what country a person is from, unprompted.

2. Why didn’t they just do what they were told?

In this video, you can see the riverboat employee calmly explaining that the boat needed to be moved. He even points repeatedly at the riverboat that's trying to dock, making it crystal clear what the problem is and giving ample time to rectify the situation. But instead of doing the simple thing and moving the boat, they decide to instigate a brawl.

Black people are constantly told that police brutality could be avoided if they simply complied with law enforcement and did what they were told. So we can't help but feel a tiny bit of poetic justice after what’s about to happen.

3. Where did this white dude learn how to fight?

We don’t know what possessed this man to shove the riverboat employee, but whatever the reason, he definitely did not have the fighting skills to back it up. Why are his legs flailing forward like that after the shove? Is he attempting a karate split kick? Is he auditioning for Cheer? This was clearly not a well thought-out plan.

4. Brother really threw his hat up like “Oh, they messed with the wrong one.”

This is more of a statement than a question, but you gotta love how—after the white dude shoves him for no reason—the riverboat employee makes like Bobby Shmurda and throws his hat approximately 50 feet in the air, which is the universal Black symbol for “Oh, it’s on now.” It’s the Black equivalent of sounding the Horn of Gondor. The Blacks have been summoned, and as you’ll soon see, they’re about to heed the call.

5. Has this dude never heard of leg day?

A quick aside, but has this man never heard of squats? Or deadlifts? Or calf raises? No wonder he didn’t stand a chance trying to square up on those bony chicken legs.

6. Did they really think they could get away with it?

Seriously, did they? Because you can see that—not even five seconds into the fight—a man is already Usain Bolt-ing it to the rescue. Reinforcements are on their way, and there’s more where that came from. Which brings us to our next question…

7. Why has this kid not been recruited to the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team?

If you look at the bottom right corner, you’ll spot the fastest 50-meter free you’ve ever seen in your life. Pretty sure this kid could give Michael Phelps a run for his money. Not only that, but after swimming to shore, this kid pulled himself onto the dock and sprang into action like a straight-up Navy SEAL. Get this kid some goggles and call the U.S. Olympic swim team because this boy is ready to GO.


That man swooped in like a Black Stone Cold Steve Austin and started chairing people left and right. Was his family having a cookout right around the corner? Was there some sort of outdoor WWE tournament going on nearby? Or does this guy always walk around with a chair because “you just never know?” This is one of those questions that generates more questions than it does answers, but the internet is here for it.

9. Surely this woman is going to file for divorce after this, right?

We’re gonna go out on a limb and guess that this woman probably did not wake up that morning expecting to get dunked into the Alabama River because her husband and his buddies refused to move their boat and chose to get into a fistfight instead. And where was the husband when she was getting yeeted into the river? Probably getting hit with a [Drake voice] combination like the rest of his buddies. Yeah, we don’t think their marriage is surviving that.

10. This has to be the moment where these guys realized they had f**ked up, right?

Either that or five minutes later when they were all getting arrested. Speaking of which…

11. Why do white people always get arrested so calmly?

This was not a surprise—we’ve seen it time and time again—but it’s always a little frustrating to see white people get arrested as gently as a kindergartener getting sent to time out. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not asking for anyone to be slammed to the ground with a knee in their back. Quite the opposite, actually. We just want to know what it feels like, for once, to be arrested without having your head smashed into a windshield. Must be nice.

12. Have white people never heard of sunscreen?

This is apropos of nothing, but it’s always amusing to be reminded of just how badly white people get burned in the sun. It’s their kryptonite, along with mullets and the frozen meals section of Trader Joe’s. For real, though, our condolences—those sunburns look painful.

13. Surely, this is the last time these dudes try to start a brawl, right?

It’s one thing to get your block knocked off in a fight. Or to get arrested for starting a fight. But getting arrested for starting a fight in which you got your block knocked off? That’s gotta sting. Almost as much as those sunburns.

14. All of this happened because [checks notes] a Black man politely asked a group of white people to move their boat and they got so mad they tried to kill him?

Yeah, that sounds about white.