Monday, June 15, 2009

Dealing with Sports Riots

I have been saying for years that the "championship riots" that we see in many cities after a win is unacceptable. And that the only way to stop these things is to find some way for the team to punish out-of-control fans. I had floated the idea of denying a trophy to any team whose home-town riotted, but was told it was impactical and punishing the wrong people.

So what about punishing the fans directly? Specifically, what about using modern technology to hit rioting fans where it hurts - in their team spirit. Data mining across public databases and using face-recognition software, it would be a relatively simple task to identify people arrested for rioting. Sports franchises could then add these people to a "no fly list" like the airlines, which would ban these fans from buying tickets or (as much as possible) from attending games. This would make attending games more difficult, and thus distance these people from the teams they profess to love. Of course, perfect enforcement would be difficult, but the idea is not to be perfect but to make attending a game very difficult.

What do Mod-Bloggers think? Do I have an idea worth pursuing here, or would a policy like this just lead to more drunken fans in sports bars who would otherwise have been in the stadium?


shadowmom1 said...

How about threatening to move the franchise to a more law-abiding venue? And doing it after 2-3 episodes.

BH said...

How about making the team pay for the damage... that will line up the team's interest to talk fans out of riots with the fan's enthusiasm for the team's well-being.

Or we could just ban alcohol.

Nomad said...

Making the team pay for damages has the same problem as taking back the trophy - you punish the TEAM for the FAN'S bad behavior. It is easier to enforce, but far less just.

Whereas, if you ban rioters from attending games, you specifically penalize the fan in a way which is specifically appropriate to their crime.

The only other practical option I see is curfews around championship games so that people are not allowed to be walking the streets except in the immediate vicinity of the ballpark (i.e. walking to their cars, trains, busses)

CRCHAIR said...

I think Nomad's idea about a "no fly list" is interesting. I could support it, except that it would mean that areanas and stadiums would have to record everyone coming into a stadium and use the facial recognition software on them. This seems a little too much like big brother to me.

I think that the first step is for a major star like Kobe in LA to come out before the championship is won and say "Anyone who riots if we win tonight is an idiot!" And then to follow up any violence with the same basic statement. We need to change culture by making it uncool to be part of that kind of violence. When was the last time that the athletes have come out denouncing any violence after their wins?

Rob Fay said...

Why do anything more than arrest the perpetrators? If they break the law, they pay the price. Shouldn't that be enough of a deterrent?

You also assume that all perpetrators attended the game, and that's simply not true. I would wager that a majority of folks who participate in this kind of behavior never attended the game to begin with. This behavior is like a spark starting a fire - people get swept up in the euphoria and then use the protection of a group to loosen their morals because they feel invincible.

I wonder if behavior would change if championship games occurred during the day rather than at night?

Nomad said...

Rob, The problem is individual arrests and prosecution has already been shown NOT to work. L.A. has been arresting and prosecuting for 30 years now, and the riots continue. Arrests apply pressure to individuals, NOT to groups. Peer pressure is needed here.

By threatening a group with losing the ability to EVER attend a game might lead the group to apply peer pressure to stop outrageous behavior, or at least cause the smart ones to disperse and reduce group-think by leaving the violent without an audience.