An inappropriate response to victory

Both football fans and non-football fans came together this past Sunday to cheer on the Philadelphia Eagles and hopes of defeating the supposedly unbeatable Tom Brady. They did just that, bringing home their first Super Bowl ring. However, this historical win was overshadowed by the their fans doing what everyone suspected they’d do — tear up Philly.

Eagles fans have amassed criticism from people all over the country for choosing to express their excitement in the most inappropriate way possible. Unfortunately, for every person who criticizes the rampant vandalism and overall chaos caused by Philly natives, there are just as many people dismissing these antics because “it’s just people expressing pride.” But why are they destroying things if they feel good? In what way is that a logical response? Trick question — it isn’t.

Now people rioting in the streets after sports games isn’t new, but once again this raises the issue: who among us is allowed to protest or march without facing consequences? When someone marches in opposition to an unjust law or in support of basic human rights, society and major media platforms are quick to label these individuals as thugs and criminals. Everyone else outside of the protest group is annoyed about the demonstrations and wants nothing to do with them.

After Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, people protested the grand jury’s decision. When Freddie Gray was killed in 2015, protests erupted in Baltimore. No one wanted to acknowledge that they were protesting for good reason, and in the later case over 400 people were arrested. Instead, people who disagreed with what the demonstrations were fighting for were invalidated the experiences. And when those same people waved aside sports protests, they showed themselves to be hypocrites.

The recent women’s marches had their naysayers, too. Those opposed to equality rolled their eyes and argued women and gender-nonconforming people were already equal to cisgender, white men.

But someone wins a sports game and suddenly it’s okay to go around destroying property. It’s true that when there are protests or marches about more serious topics like the murder of unarmed individuals, it can also result in undesirable riots and property damage. But in that case, it’s a symptom of a bigger problem, not the result of something that is trivial in comparison.

People were so incredibly enabling with the Super Bowl riots to the point that even the cops went out and celebrated. We don’t have to tell you that this is a rarity and that even in situations where people are peacefully protesting, police action is often questioned.

We’re sure the cops are arresting people for obvious reasons and we’re sure they use safety precautions in the form of necessary gear, but in comparison to what sometimes happens at peaceful rallies related to social issues, police action in Philly after the game was fairly lax. People continued destroying property despite police presence.

It’s reminiscent of an event in 2014. There was a hockey game that resulted in a controversial decision, and hockey fans took to the streets of Huntington Beach to destroy everything. Yet again, people justified it by saying that these people were just having fun. At what point do we begin to see this for what it is — punishing one group for trying to make the world a better place for themselves, yet celebrating another group who are just “a little rambunctious?”