Rowdy Boston fans – Boston Globe Photo

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper 6/2008

Boston sports fans: What the hell is the matter with you people?

The Red Sox / Patriots / Your College Team / Celtics win a championship and you see that as a license to go out rioting, setting fires and doing malicious damage to property?

In the latest me lee, over 20 people were arrested after the Celtics win. The Celtics — a team you couldn’t GIVE AWAY tickets to a year ago — are suddenly on everyone’s mind and the unruly chaotic mob floods into the street. You rip down street signs; you set fires, do tens of thousands of dollars in property damage, and endanger thousands of innocent people.

This week, Mayor Menino said “They are punks, really.” He also called them, “Hooligans.”

Due respect, Mr. Mayor, but “hooligans?”

I’d call them FELONS. One idiot smashed an office front window and did $50,000 worth of damage. Others were urinating outdoors, overturning mailboxes and trash cans, setting fires, and oh, my personal favorite, attacking RIOT POLICE. Great idea, that.

During the 2004 Red Sox win, the crowd was so unruly that police shot a “non-lethal” pellet into innocent bystander Vanessa Snelgrove, killing her. Remember that tragedy? She was beautiful and had her entire life ahead of her. Dead. Because of a celebration that a TEAM won a GAME.

That same night, Boston sports fans, you overturned cars and set a motorcycle on fire.

In 2004 a New England Patriots fan was struck on celebration night by a fellow Patriot fan that was driving drunk, killing him instantly.

When the Boston Red Sox advanced to the ALCS against the Yankees, students at UMass Amherst lit fires, flipped cars, and attacked university police officers.

I ask again, what is the matter with you people?

The Boston Herald reported, “[redacted] [is] facing charges he smashed out a downtown business’ window yesterday by hurling a chunk of metal javelin-style in the mayhem that followed the Celtics’ NBA Championship. [redacted], was part of a mob at Canal Street and Valenti Way who were “climbing on poles and billboards” and “tearing down traffic signs” shortly after midnight, according to Boston police. He was one of 23 raucous revelers ages 18 to 54 who were nabbed across the city between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 2:30 a.m. yesterday.”


The newspaper went on, “Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said their city won’t stand for the animalistic violence that consistently mars sports celebrations.”

Pardon me, Mr. Mayor, but if the last few years are any indication, you are not only standing for it, you are allowing it, and enabling it.

Boston sports fans: Thousands die in a war and you do nothing. People are being shot seemingly constantly in and around Boston, there’s gang violence and you do nothing. But a SPORTS TEAM wins a GAME and you see it as LICENSE to go on a rampage in city streets? Why is that? We celebrate First Night and Independence Day and Harborfest and millions pour into the city and everything goes fine. But a stupid GAME is a license to riot?

You violent reveling sports fans are dangerous felons and if the city finally bans such celebrations I am sure you will whine about your right to free speech. Guess what? Freedom of speech and freedom of expression ends when public safety is endangered. We have no “right” to yell “bomb” at the airport and no right to “celebrate” by smashing property and starting fires and attacking police.

Please, Boston sports fans: Grow up. Stop committing acts of violence and destruction over what is ultimately a game.

Boston is better than that. You’re better than that. And if you can’t prove it, please, please STAY HOME.

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