Why Do Fans of Winning Sports Teams Riot? Chalk It Up to Mob Mentality.

The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions. To celebrate, hundreds of fans took to the streets to vandalize their city. One expert explains the riots by describing how individuals take advantage of a "cloak of crowd anonymity" to behave badly.

As is so often the case (and puzzlingly so), fans of a championship team took to the streets last night to torch furniture, break windows, and commit acts of vandalism across their city. While Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants celebrated their World Series Game 7 victory in Kansas City, revelers back in California were not only causing a ruckus, but posting about it on social media:

Currently getting ready to go riot in San Francisco for the Giants.

— Zik Krtly (@ZacharyKirtley) October 30, 2014

Photo my buddy sent me from last night in San Francisco during #GIANTSWIN celebration/ riot/ confusion pic.twitter.com/ThfOEhu3I7

— Danny Rivero (@TooMuchMe) October 30, 2014

The riot cops are out in San Francisco. TIME FOR RIOT COP SELFIES (via @sfkale, @jmariephotog) http://t.co/BJNc5d1SnR pic.twitter.com/atF6YQqI87

— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 30, 2014

As Gloria Goodale writes over at CSM, the night featured rioters swinging from power lines, setting bonfires, smashing municipal bus windows, and being all-around lousy people. One person was shot. Police made multiple arrests. It was all rather quite messy.

Similar events have broken out in the past decade in cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, and Vancouver (though the home team actually lost the championship there -- not that that makes it any better). Goodale asked Dan Lebowitz of the Center for the Study of Sport and Society why sports fans behave this way:

“People take the cloak of crowd anonymity to allow themselves to do things they would not normally do if they were actually being accountable for themselves,” he says. This is accelerated when the individuals have already taken on a strong group identification by being a loyal team fan, he points out, adding “there is a very thin line between being a sports fan and a sports fanatic.”

Lebowitz also notes that night-time mobs promote an abandonment of social norms, comparing championship riots to partying on New Year's Eve or at Mardi Gras. There's often alcohol involved and all it takes is one act of debauchery to ignite a powder keg of elation and assumed-invincibility. That's what we saw last night in San Francisco and will continue to see in cities around the world until people learn to grow up.

So, probably never.

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

Photo credit: pogonici / Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less