Kansas City Parade Shooting Is Latest Violence to Mar a Sports Celebration

Last June, 10 people were shot during celebrations on the night the Denver Nuggets won the National Basketball Association title. In 2019, four people were shot at the N.B.A. championship rally for the Toronto Raptors. Two men were shot and killed in a Los Angeles suburb during a celebration of the Dodgers’ World Series victory in 2020.

This week brought the latest example of violence marring a celebratory sports moment. On Wednesday, shots rang out at the end of a Super Bowl victory parade in Kansas City, Mo., leaving one woman dead and at least 22 people injured. The bloodshed led Kansas City’s mayor, Quinton Lucas, to question whether the city would have another parade if the team won again.

“If we’re blessed enough to win a Super Bowl again, do we do this again?” Mr. Lucas asked during an interview with KMBC, a local news station. “Or do we all just say, ‘Go to Arrowhead Stadium, walk through metal detectors’ — have a very secured, vastly smaller event?”

The vast majority of sporting events and championship celebrations take place without any overt violence. But some high-profile instances in recent years have led to a growing unease among some that sporting events are becoming less safe. Though there is little available data on the exact number of violent incidents in and around sporting events each year, researchers say several factors contribute to this feeling.

One is the sheer number of people involved. A typical N.F.L. game, for instance, attracts around 70,000 spectators. Larger crowds naturally increase the number of interactions that can lead to violence, said Tamara Herold, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who studies crowd control and violence at sporting events.

“Crowd density tends to matter quite a bit,” Dr. Herold said.

The N.F.L. has a security presence at its official events like games, including the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl, and the annual draft, with a “control center” that monitors the venue and even online conversations to react quickly to disturbance. Those events are also held in venues with security checkpoints that screen for firearms.


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