This past weekend, the Super Bowl featured many amazing performances. From the Eagles’ spectacular win to Justin Timberlake’s halftime show, the Super Bowl lived up to its anticipated entertainment. But along with the performances came controversy. While we can talk all we want about Justin’s tribute to Prince, the real controversy lies in the so-called celebration the Eagles’ fans held in the streets.
According to the BBC, only three arrests were made among the looting, brawling, vandalism, trespassing and destruction. Specific incidents include flipping cars, climbing the City Hall gates, and attempting to tear down traffic lights and lamp posts. Videos show disturbing footage, from an Eagles fan eating horse feces to the Ritz Carlton Hotel’s awning collapsing under the weight of dozens of people, some of whom were previously seen jumping off it.
But despite the damage, injury and chaos, many news outlets have called this an act of “celebration.”
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of celebrate is, “to observe a notable occasion with festivities.”
The definition of a riot, on the other hand, is “a violent public disorder; specifically: a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent.”
In the past, the Black Lives Matter movement has been condemned for riots in Baltimore and Ferguson. Properties were looted and vandalized, hundreds were arrested and many officers and civilians were injured. Police officers used tear gas and other forms of violence to subdue protesters and rioters.
Why then, in a state of violent public disorder, were Eagles fans not subjected to the same treatment?
According to Newsweek, BLM New York President Hawk Newsome might have an answer.
“Somehow, it seems there’s a line drawn in the sand where destruction of property because of a sports victory is OK and acceptable in America,” Newsome said. “However, if you have people who are fighting for their most basic human right, the right to live, they will be condemned.”
“You can riot if you’re white and your team wins, but if you’re black and being killed, you can’t speak out,” he added.
He also called the lack of denunciation from authorities “a glaring example of white privilege.”
In essence, some of the same people who have complained about NFL players kneeling for the flag are now burning and condoning the burning of the birthplace of American democracy.