The city of Baltimore, Maryland has the eyes of the entire nation upon it. Following the death of Baltimore native Freddie Gray while in Baltimore Police Department custody earlier this month, the protests around the cause of Gray’s death have increased significantly. Since Gray’s death and following his funeral, thousands of people have taken to the streets every day to demonstrate against death of Freddie Gray and numerous others throughout America who have been killed by police in America. Unfortunately, some people have rioted in Baltimore and damaged multiple cars, buildings, and property. While people question the reason for the rioting, sports fans can observe the rioting as a phenomenon that is not exclusively for urban settings.
A riot is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a situation in which a large group of people behave in a violent and uncontrolled way”. Because of the passion of many sports fans, there have been clear times when the violence and uncontrollable behavior of a large group of people has led to what would be defined as a riot. Generally, sports riots happen after a team has a big win, often in a championship celebration, or a devastating loss like earlier this month after the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team lost in the Final Four, where anger from fans can become too much to bear. Sports riots are not rare and they can be extremely expensive as well.
Although the situation in Baltimore has changed the baseball schedule for the Baltimore Orioles, the Orioles COO John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, discussed the riots in Baltimore on Twitter including saying,”my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.” His evaluation of the Baltimore riots are enlightening but also show how sports riots due to anger or joy seem that much more trivial.