1. Archive

More often than not, winning cities lose out

Published Oct. 9, 2005

It has, perhaps, replaced "I'm going to Disney World" as the slogan athletes are most likely to utter after championships are won.

Michael Jordan used it Monday.

"How's the city? The city ain't torn up, is it?"

Jordan asked that question when he arrived home after leading his Bulls to their third consecutive NBA title.

The score: Chicago 99, Phoenix 98, plus two killed and 682 arrested. There was scattered looting.

At one intersection, a crowd pulled drivers from their cars, shot one man to death and stabbed another.

Julio Castillo, an 18-year-old passenger in one of the cars, was killed. Castillo's friend, Oswaldo Arroyo, 17, was stabbed.

"They used the victory as an excuse to go out and do what they want," Arroyo said of his attackers.

Rosalind Slaughter never saw hers.

The 26-year-old was hit by a stray bullet while standing on a porch outside her South Side home.

"It's just senseless," said police Sgt. Wilson McGee.

It was the third time in as many years that a Bulls title has resulted in violence, despite thousands of extra police on patrol. In 1992, more than 1,000 people were arrested and 107 police officers injured.

But Chicagoans hold no exclusive rights to revelry gone awry.

Earlier this month, hockey fans joined crowds outside Montreal's Forum for a rampage after the Canadiens' Stanley Cup victory. Stores were trashed along with police cars, buses and subways. Some 115 people were arrested and 168 were injured.

What turns a time of jubilation into one of destruction?

In the past decade, according to social scientists, mob mentality taken the form of ritualized behavior some call "permissive misrule."

"People say, "If our guys won everything, then maybe for a moment we can act like kings and do anything we want,' " said Bruce Kidd, a political scientist at the University of Toronto.

Phoenix Suns basketball star Charles Barkley offers a more succinct interpretation.

"There are some ignorant people out there," Barkley said, "looking for any excuse to act more ignorant."

That behavior, the fighting and vandalism associated with sports, is not new. It was common in the 19th century.

The University of Missouri's Charles Korr, an expert on the social history of sports, says television may unwittingly play a part in triggering today's violence.

"The biggest thing that's new is the ability to instantaneously see the riot taking place in Montreal," Korr said. "People see that, and in their minds they say, "We got to show them we are as happy as the people in Montreal about our victory.' "

Sports violence has long been common in Europe, where British soccer "hooligans" brutalize each other as well as unsuspecting fans. Hooliganism is common at any time of the season.

But in North America, destruction is mixed with celebration. When that aberration first occurred is unclear.

"The irony is that sports is an escape from everyday life, from the problems and violence of society," said Richard Lapchick, of Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sports in Society.

Korr offers another view.

"There is a sense that we can identify with a team in a way we no longer do with . . . your church, your parish, your community. What can you show that you belong to anymore, except a sports team?"

Celebration, destruction


Chicago, June 20 _ In the aftermath of the Bulls third consecutive NBA title, nearly 700 arrests are made, two are killed and five police officers injured.

Montreal, June 9 _ Following the Canadiens' Stanley Cup win over the Los Angeles Kings, vandals trash stores, police vehicles, buses and subway cars. 115 people are arrested and 168 injured.

Dallas, Feb. 9 _ The city's Super Bowl victory party erupts in violence. There are 18 injuries and 26 arrests.


Chicago, June 14 _ Fans crushed and overturned two taxis, looted businesses and set fires as more than 1,000 arrests are made after the Bulls beat the Portland Trail Blazers for their second title in a row.


Chicago, June 12 _ Scattered looting after the Bulls beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA title. More than 100 people are arrested. Two teenagers are injured, though not seriously, by stray bullets.


Detroit, June 14, _ Seven people die, six of them hit by cars, after the Pistons beat the Trail Blazers to take their second consecutive NBA title. Hundreds are hurt by gunfire, stabbings and fighting.


Montreal, May 24, 1986 _ Thousands of fans pour into the streets in the bar district as soon as the Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames for the Stanley Cup. Stores are looted and cars overturned or vandalized.


Detroit, Oct. 14, _ 100,000 pour into the streets after the Tigers win the World Series. Fans destroy police cars and taxi cabs, setting some on fire. The incident is considered the start of North American championship rioting.

_ Information from the Associated Press, Boston Globe, Washington Post and Times files was used in this report.