The extent to which ‘Super Bowl Mania” overtakes this region is a consistent source of amazement and disappointment to me, the lone voice in the wilderness on this issue.
On the morning after “the big game,” I wonder how many of us will note with disgust and outrage the “casualties,” the fact that as could readily have been predicted to occur after a Steelers win, the South Side and Oakland were trashed and burned by unruly and drunken revelers who felt empowered to act out as a frightening mob.
How seriously will society and the justice system consider it to be that there were 100 arrests; vandalism of stores; fires set, including to furniture and trees; “no parking” signs ripped out of the ground; cars breaking through barricades; a bus shelter trashed; vehicles overturned and set on fire; rocks and bottles thrown at police; an officer suffering a broken arm in the melee; and a band of hoodlums mounting an occupied bus and rocking it?
Why do we not find that those who foment mayhem are sentenced to years in jail? If such sentences were dispensed, would post-football game thuggery and hooliganism still be a problem? Why does society react instead with “Oh, boys (and a few girls) will be boys. Things simply got a bit out of hand.”
Why do we fail to make the connection that when a region is obsessed by a game whose focus is violence, and the obsession is encouraged by elected officials who play along and demand hundreds of millions of dollars of public funding for it, that the “fans” will resort to violence in recognition of their football idols' performance? Can this be a sport which we encourage our impressionable children to adore?
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper Saint Clair