The Seven Most Bizarre Sports Riots of All Time

June 23, 2010

Every fan has a different way of expressing his or her loyalty. Some paint their faces, others name their children after the team's starting second baseman, and the Los Angeles Lakers faithful spend every offseason pretending like Kobe Bryant is a decent human being. Here's a roundup of the fans who chose to show their support through undue violence and occassional Mountie assault.

Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images


7. The Mounties Take on Rioting Vancouver Canucks Fans

Photo: David Hecker/AFP/Getty Images

In a city internationally celebrated for loose prostitution laws and high quality marijuana, the residents of Vancouver had an uncharacteristically rambunctious evening on June 14, 1994.

After losing game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals to a New York Rangers team that featured an ordinate amount of Esa Tikkanen in its line-up, thousands of Vancouver Canucks fans decided to express their frustrations in the downtown area by trashing storefronts and expressing their Craig MacTavish-related rage all over some parked cars.

The riot required the deployment of over 100 Mounties and the use of tear gas to help settle down the rowdy Canadians. Over 200 Vancouverites were injured in the attack, including one resident who went into a four-week coma after being shot at close range by a police officer’s plastic bullet gun.

Thankfully, the Canucks front office and coaching staff has spent the last 16 years ensuring that the team would never have to deal with Stanley Cup-related complications ever again.

6. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Several Hundred Fans Rush the Pitcher’s Mound

Photo: Transcendent Images/Getty Images

Before performance enhancing drugs and Dennis Eckersley’s moustache had a chance to ruin the sport, baseball was a gentleman’s game filled with rampant alcoholism and limited opportunities for female journalists. Players respected the rules and truly loved the game.

That’s why, in a 1924 showdown between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers a small riot broke out after Ty Cobb instructed his pitcher to bean one of Babe Ruth’s teammates. Players from both teams charged the mound, while hundreds of fans left their seats to join in on the fun. Police officers were eventually called in to subdue the rioters and clear the field.

(Note: 12 years prior, Cobb was suspended for running into the stands and beating up a handicapped fan who had insulted him during an at bat. He was fined $50 and forced to apologize.)


5. Australians Riot Like it’s 1879

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

In an 1879 cricket exhibition between the proud nation of England and recently established penal colony of Australia, a small discrepancy broke out when the British referee made a controversial call in the Sydney stadium. Fortunately, the fans waited several seconds before charging the field with homemade weapons.

2,000 of Australia’s finest rioters jumped over the grandstand fences and began savagely assaulting anything they could find on the pitch. Referees, opposing players, it didn’t matter. As long as you could hit it with a sharpened piece of discarded wood it was fair game.

4. Montreal Canadiens Fans React Poorly to Being Tear Gassed

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

In 1955, Montreal Canadiens star forward Maurice “the Rocket” Richard was suspended for the season by NHL governor Clarance Campbell following a small misunderstanding he had with an opposing player that he ultimately ended by repeatedly bashing his head with a hockey stick.

After the suspension, Campbell took a trip to the Montreal Forum to ensure that he had properly destroyed the team’s morale and killed the spirit of anybody who supported the franchise (sort of like when Gary Bettman goes to a Coyotes game). The move displeased the Montreal faithful, who began pelting Campbell with an array of breakfast meats and rotten vegetables.

Campbell responded to the aerial food assault by setting off tear gas in the arena like a 17th century dictator. The smoke, however, only angered the fans who took their rage outside and caused enormous amounts of damage to the city.


Note: The photos in this article are being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the photos is a model.


Recent Features

The Top 10 Hits the Band Wishes Didn't Exist

The Six Seatmates You Don't Want on an Airplane

The Top 10 Wimpiest Leading Men

The Top 10 Classic Cars That Need To Be Resurrected

The Top 10 Hottest World Cup WAGs



3. The Filipino Basketball Association Features a Surprising Amount of Fan Punching


During a shockingly untelevised Filipino Basketball Association game between the Burger King Whoppers and Smart Gilas in Quezon City, Whoppers captain Wynn Arboleda decided the best way to deal with a heckling fan was to run into the stands and beat the ever living crap out of him.

A small brawl broke out shortly after and Arboleda earned himself a brief suspension to go home to consider the benefits of not punching spectators.

2. Serbian Soccer Players Will Kung-Fu Kick a Policeman if Need be

Photo: Alex Burns/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Amidst political unrest and civil war over the recent turmoil in Yugoslavia, Serbian soccer fans' anger got the better of them in a 1990 match between Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb.

Within 10 minutes of kick-off, thousands of fans rushed the field in protest and started a full-fledged riot that lasted well over 45 minutes. Eventually, (whatever the Serbian version of) SWAT teams were called in – one of whom was kicked in the head by a Zagreb player – to quiet the crowd.

Unable to end the violence, the police (or rioters) decided that the easiest thing to do would be to simply light the stadium on fire and let it burn to the ground. Interestingly enough, it worked. There was almost no fighting on top of the ash.

If a stadium burns down in the middle of Zagreb – and people are too busy trying to murder each other to hear it – does it really make a sound?

1. The Better Question is “Why Not Kill 30,000 Spectators?”


Note: The photos in this article are being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the photos is a model.

In ancient Rome, chariot racing was a popular sport which functioned as a distraction for the poor and a leisure pursuit of the wealthy. Teams were divided by social class and given a color.

In 531 AD, various members of the “blue team” were arrested for murder and eventually jailed for their crimes. This displeased the fans, who stormed the prison while chanting “Nika” (which meant victory).

Local Emperor Justinian the First did not like his prison being set on fire, so he launched an attack on the entire fan base which resulted in over 30,000 deaths. It was a bit of a rough afternoon, but still comparably more enjoyable than being a Cubs fan.

(And yes, it sort of sounds like a cross between the movie Gladiator and a heated game of Capture the Flag during Color Wars at summer camp.)



Recent Features

The Top 10 Hits the Band Wishes Didn't Exist

The Six Seatmates You Don't Want on an Airplane

The Top 10 Wimpiest Leading Men

The Top 10 Classic Cars That Need To Be Resurrected

The Top 10 Hottest World Cup WAGs