Starting this week, Florida has a new law stiffening penalties on attention-grabbers who sprint across sports fields – often in various stages of undress. One well-known streaker says it just won’t work.
“I think that’s like a scare tactic,” said Instagram model and influencer Kelly Kay, who jumped from the stands to run across the Hard Rock Stadium field in Miami Gardens during the Super Bowl in 2020, referring to the new law increasing fines on offenders and allowing authorities to seize their assets. It took effect Sunday.
“To tell people, ‘Not only are you going to get in trouble for this and go to jail, they’ll get a charge, we’re going to take your money,’” Kay of Knoxville, Tennessee, said in an interview. “But if it was me and that law was in effect when I ran on the field, I would still do it because of the long-term effect.”
Kay, then 27, was tackled by security quickly near the end zone. She was arrested and hit with trespassing charges that were eventually dropped. Since then, she has soared to one million Instagram followers. (She told The New York Times she decided not to do it nude because she knew children would be watching.)
The anti-streaking measure, “Interference With Sporting or Entertainment Events,” sponsored by Rep. Taylor Yarkosky, R-Montverde, received nearly unanimous support in both legislative chambers earlier this year, passing 109-3 in the House and 39-0 in the Senate. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law in June.
Yarkosky, first elected to the House last year, said he primarily introduced the bill to stop streaking, in which people run across the field fully or partially nude. Kay was walked off the field by security while exposing pink thong underwear under a black cover up.
“I have four daughters and a son,” Yarkosky said. “You save up money and take them out to a baseball game or a football game, and the last thing you want to see is somebody running around indecently for corrupt financial gain.”
He acknowledged the new law may not prevent influencers like Kay from seeking fame, but hopes it will give them pause.
“You’re gonna have the social media influencer, but you know, it could really hurt their career,” Yarkosky said. “There’s a lot of things that could happen, that they may think twice about doing that.”
The law applies to all who storm onto fields or arena floors during sporting events whether fully clothed or not, and includes fans rushing the stage during concerts and artistic or theatrical events.
Yarkosky said, in many cases, those individuals running across fields or onto stages are doing so at the behest of others – such as a website owner – who seek publicity for themselves, and that they are paid to do so.
Any individual soliciting the person to carry out the action in exchange for something of value can be charged with a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The new law also allows authorities to seize the assets of any person who rushes or streaks at entertainment venues and who was paid. They can face charges of a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $2,500.
Individuals who rush and streak fields or other entertainment venues, even without being paid, will still be charged with a misdemeanor.
Previously, rushing or streaking at entertainment events was punishable with the same jail time but the maximum fine was $1,000.
Florida is no stranger to streaking or rushing the field.
In the Super Bowl in 2021, held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Yuri Andrade of Boca Raton, then 31, blazed across the field during the fourth quarter in a pink leotard that displayed his buttocks.
Andrade’s actions were part of a publicity stunt to promote his friend’s adult website, the name of which was printed on the leotard. In interviews later, he said it was “the greatest moment of my life.”
Andrade was arrested and charged with trespassing. He eventually pleaded no contest and had to write a letter of apology to the NFL, perform 100 hours of community service and serve one year’s probation, according to court records. His attorney at the time, Luis Cartaya, said his client also had to pay a $500 fine. Andrade did not respond to a text message asking to discuss his case.
According to court records, the owner of the adult website, Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, paid another man, Douglas Schaffer, $5,000 to storm the field and distract security and allow Andrade an opening to get further on the field. Schaffer was arrested and pleaded no contest to the same charges as Andrade and got the same sentence in court.
This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The reporter can be reached at email@example.com. You can donate to support our students here.