Why do fans trash their city when they win?

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship.  Could somebody explain this?:

Violence erupted within 30 minutes of the game's end as rowdy fans poured out of area bars and, shortly after, the 19,000 ticket-holders inside Staples began to emerge. Phalanxes of LAPD officers successfully funneled the tightly packed revelers away from the venue, but bands of mostly young men grew aggressive and brazen as they moved into the surrounding blocks.

A typical scene played out on Figueroa Street, where revelers tore down a traffic sign, ripped open newspaper racks and lighted the papers on fire. As police in riot gear approached, the crowd hurled unopened cans of energy drinks at them. Several men stomped on an SUV parked on the street, breaking its windows.

Police chased the roving groups for about two hours, pushing them farther afield until they dispersed and relative calm returned.

Before it was over, police had fired tear gas and stinging pellets to disperse a scrum of several hundred people who surrounded a city bus filled with passengers and attempted to yank the driver out through a window. A cabbie fled when his taxi was set upon by another mob that kicked in the windshield and set it ablaze. A local YWCA, several restaurants and other storefronts had windows smashed. At least eight people, one of them beaten unconscious, were taken to area hospitals. Firefighters put out 19 rubbish and vehicle fires and police had made about 50 arrests.

via Lakers violence: Authorities release raw video of mob attacking cab, seek public’s help [Updated] | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times.

This sort of thing happens in other cities too, including college games.  But not all cities.  It’s a worldwide problem, common also with soccer.  (Let’s see what happens when some team wins the World Cup.)

Now I can see people getting angry when their team loses, but why get aggressive and destructive and mean against their own city when they win?

I’m just trying to understand the mindset.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    Both success and winning create a sense of permission – a sense that the rules don’t apply to me/us anymore. The sinful nature feels unbound (even more so in a permissive society). Fans riot. Presidents break laws. Businessmen commit fraud. Sports stars, movie stars, congressmen and mega-evangelists commit adultery. Of course, the rioting fans are different in that they sin openly. But that is probably just the result of the anonymity felt in crowds.

  • Tom Hering

    Both success and winning create a sense of permission – a sense that the rules don’t apply to me/us anymore. The sinful nature feels unbound (even more so in a permissive society). Fans riot. Presidents break laws. Businessmen commit fraud. Sports stars, movie stars, congressmen and mega-evangelists commit adultery. Of course, the rioting fans are different in that they sin openly. But that is probably just the result of the anonymity felt in crowds.

  • Karyn

    First, I will disclose that I am a Laker fan and very happy about our team’s victory over the Celtics to win the back-to-back Championship. Second, Tom is correct; good observation, Tom. Third, regarding the issue of the locale in which “this sort of thing” happens, one might sum it up by saying that the most desirable places to live generally draw both the best and the worst of society. There are about 24.2 million people in the Southern California region which is identical to the population of Texas. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in the U.S. with about 3.8 million. I’m always sad when I hear of violent behavior by some of the loons who reside in my home state, but personally, I’d say 50 or so delinquents out of the millions celebrating the Laker Championship in that city is a pretty good percentage.

  • Karyn

    First, I will disclose that I am a Laker fan and very happy about our team’s victory over the Celtics to win the back-to-back Championship. Second, Tom is correct; good observation, Tom. Third, regarding the issue of the locale in which “this sort of thing” happens, one might sum it up by saying that the most desirable places to live generally draw both the best and the worst of society. There are about 24.2 million people in the Southern California region which is identical to the population of Texas. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in the U.S. with about 3.8 million. I’m always sad when I hear of violent behavior by some of the loons who reside in my home state, but personally, I’d say 50 or so delinquents out of the millions celebrating the Laker Championship in that city is a pretty good percentage.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Lakers fans are just angry that they cannot celebrate a victory in a city that has lakes. :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Lakers fans are just angry that they cannot celebrate a victory in a city that has lakes. :^)

  • Tickletext

    It isn’t just lowlife hooligans who do this sort of stuff. The impulse to sports-related violence has overpowered some of our nation’s most respectable members.

  • Tickletext

    It isn’t just lowlife hooligans who do this sort of stuff. The impulse to sports-related violence has overpowered some of our nation’s most respectable members.

  • Karyn

    No offense, “Bike” but I’d take the ocean breezes over muddy, mosquito-filled lakes any day. :) The Laker franchise knew what it was doing when it moved out of MN. ;)

  • Karyn

    No offense, “Bike” but I’d take the ocean breezes over muddy, mosquito-filled lakes any day. :) The Laker franchise knew what it was doing when it moved out of MN. ;)

  • Carl Vehse

    Why do fans trash their city when they win?

    It’s part of their entitlement.

  • Carl Vehse

    Why do fans trash their city when they win?

    It’s part of their entitlement.

  • http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com Alan

    I enjoyed watching the celebrations in New Orleans–first when they won the NFC Championship, and then when they won the Super Bowl. They had parties. Huge, city-wide parties. No wanton destruction, no hooliganism. Sure, they drank. A lot. But they harmed no one but themselves, with very few exceptions. Now that is a city which knows how to celebrate. Let’s hope it survives.

  • http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com Alan

    I enjoyed watching the celebrations in New Orleans–first when they won the NFC Championship, and then when they won the Super Bowl. They had parties. Huge, city-wide parties. No wanton destruction, no hooliganism. Sure, they drank. A lot. But they harmed no one but themselves, with very few exceptions. Now that is a city which knows how to celebrate. Let’s hope it survives.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    To each his own, Karyn–those who like smog, earthquakes, and high crime rates are certainly welcome to them!

    (I lived in LA two summers–always within a 2-3 miles of the ocean–and I could always tell a smog day because lung function went down 10-20%)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    To each his own, Karyn–those who like smog, earthquakes, and high crime rates are certainly welcome to them!

    (I lived in LA two summers–always within a 2-3 miles of the ocean–and I could always tell a smog day because lung function went down 10-20%)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Though not as big a deal, I can remember being in College Station when Texas A&M won the Big12. We went to the bars at North Gate and that was it, but then our crowds have always been rather sedate outside of the stadiums.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Though not as big a deal, I can remember being in College Station when Texas A&M won the Big12. We went to the bars at North Gate and that was it, but then our crowds have always been rather sedate outside of the stadiums.

  • Dec 21 2012

    The same people that trash the place their winning team is from are the same ones that feel the urge to write their names in the bathroom where we all go and take a dump…..

  • Dec 21 2012

    The same people that trash the place their winning team is from are the same ones that feel the urge to write their names in the bathroom where we all go and take a dump…..

  • The Jones

    You know, I grew up in the Louisiana, far from SoCal, and until I was about 15, I really believed that there was some big famous lake in Los Angeles. Only later did I learn that the name of a team has little relation to an actual feature of the region that the team resides. This realization also helped me solve the mystery of what seemed to be an extraordinary Mormon appreciation for jazz music. That one always puzzled me.

  • The Jones

    You know, I grew up in the Louisiana, far from SoCal, and until I was about 15, I really believed that there was some big famous lake in Los Angeles. Only later did I learn that the name of a team has little relation to an actual feature of the region that the team resides. This realization also helped me solve the mystery of what seemed to be an extraordinary Mormon appreciation for jazz music. That one always puzzled me.

  • F.Scottie

    Having lived in L.A. County almost all my life, I would say that some people here are just looking for an excuse to trash and destroy things. Why? Because it feels good to. Celebration for these people equals doing crazy things. Crazy things meaning being violent. Having pride in the city is not something that’s in consideration when these things are going on because it’s all a primal, expression with out any thinking going on.

  • F.Scottie

    Having lived in L.A. County almost all my life, I would say that some people here are just looking for an excuse to trash and destroy things. Why? Because it feels good to. Celebration for these people equals doing crazy things. Crazy things meaning being violent. Having pride in the city is not something that’s in consideration when these things are going on because it’s all a primal, expression with out any thinking going on.


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