Police Treat Super Bowl Rioters Better Than Those Who Care For Black Lives

The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl last night, and Philly’s residents “celebrated” in an appalling manner: smashing windows, flipping cars, tearing down light poles and setting fires.

None of that is particularly surprising, unfortunately, as it has become fairly common for cities to start riots after watching their local professional sports team play in a championship game.

What is still shocking is the way the police respond to sports-related riots compared to other riots, particularly those in reaction to racial injustice. Whereas past African American rioters are widely labeled thugs and disparaged for bringing shame to themselves and their cities, sports fan are treated with kid gloves by the media and law enforcement.

“If everyone could go home, that would be great,” Police Sergeant Brian Greer posted on Twitter following the game. “We have to get some rest to start planning a parade in the morning.”

Yeah, gee, if you guys wouldn’t mind behaving a little better, please, we’d sure appreciate it. You’re not in trouble, though!

Despite police scanner reports of police injuries, stolen police horses, bottles being thrown at officers, looting and destruction to store property, the Philadelphia police department mainly opted to allow the crowd to fizzle out on its own.

Just three people were arrested amidst the chaos in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, over 550 people were arrested for the unrest in Baltimore in the spring of 2015, following the controversial death of Freddie Gray.

Hawk Newsome, the president of Black Lives Matter New York, spoke to Newsweek about the inherent double standard of vilifying people who riot in search of justice and laughing off rioting because of a sports championship.

“[The people of Baltimore] were just so angry, they didn’t know how to express themselves any other way… It’s not like they were doing it in the name of fun,” said Newsome. “I wish they wouldn’t riot, but I can’t condemn them and neither can anyone else, especially not the media, especially not the politicians when they condone people who are just drunk and destroying property because their team won.”

Why the difference in treatment? There’s probably something to the fact that the Eagles rioters weren’t protesting the police themselves. Groups that protest police brutality specifically seem to get treated the worst by law enforcement, which given the conflict of interest is hard to label a coincidence.

Race is, of course, another major factor. There were a lot of white people among the crowds in the streets of Philadelphia, and white people tend to get a pass. The police just don’t view a crowd of white troublemakers to be as dangerous.

This year’s NFL season has been marked by discussions of whether or not it’s appropriate for players to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against communities of color.

In light of Philadelphia’s own rioting just for the hell of it, it seems ridiculous to label kneeling a “disrespectful” act. The kneelers – and heck, even the rioters in Baltimore – are crying out for greater justice. What’s the sports fans’ excuse?

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

59 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Chad Anderson
Chad A5 months ago

Thank you!

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Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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DAVID fleming
Dave fleming6 months ago

TY

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John W
John W6 months ago

Yawn

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Joan E
Joan E6 months ago

No surprise there.

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KS Goh
KS Goh7 months ago

Thanks very much

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