The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl last night, and then the city of Philadelphia “celebrated” with a riot.
Journalists listening to calls coming in on the Philadelphia police scanner heard about Christmas trees being set ablaze, drunken people climbing telephone poles, and marauding people roaming highways. People flipped over cars, pulled down light poles and traffic lights, threw bottles, and destroyed property. And, of course, people were injured in the melee, either from being assaulted by other rioters or by falling from the places where they shouldn’t have climbed in the first place. For hours afterward, the victory in a football game turned downtown Philadelphia into a dangerous, violent place where the law and normal rules of behavior went out the window.
It’s an all-too-familiar story, where a sports victory causes a bunch of drunken fans to go crazy. It’s happened before in Philadelphia, and in other American cities. It’s not just an American phenomenon, either — it seems to happen with European soccer fans, too.
I can understand the impulse to go outside and be with fellow fans to celebrate your team’s big win, but I don’t get why, in many instances, the celebration suddenly turns violent and destructive. I guess it’s just the influence of alcohol and drugs and fellow “celebrants” who are really just looking for an excuse to break things up and throw a few bottles, and a few punches.
At times like this I’m happy that Columbus doesn’t have a professional football team.