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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ain't no rep, like a Detroit reputation

It was interesting seeing others do what the outside world expects from Detroit carried out by Canadians, who are, for the most part, considered to be friendly and docile. One-hundred fifty people were arrested in Vancouver during Wednesday night's riot following Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, not coincidentally a Canucks loss. Conversely, seven were arrested in Boston, the home city of the new champions.

Of course, we can't talk about a riot without mentioning Detroit, as actor Rainn Wilson from "The Office" did on Twitter, calling "Vancouver the Detroit of Canada." He got quite a bit of flack for that one, responding by saying he would turn over his Toyota Prius for penance.
While Vancouverans used social media to brag about their late-evening conquest, Detroiters shielded themselves from undeserved comparisons as the grandfather of riots. That may have been well-earned moniker once upon a time, but the Detroit area has hosted world class events with with little disturbance.
  • 2005 MLB All-Star Game
  • 2006 Super Bowl XL
  • 2004 Ryder Cup
  • 2009 Final Four
  • 1994 World Cup
  • 2006 World Series
  • Annual North American International Auto Show
  • Six Stanley Cup finals (four championships)
  • Five NBA Finals (three championships)
So what exactly is it going to take to repair Detroit's image? Is it beyond repair at this point. If a large riot in a place known to be a nice vacation spot with breathtaking views is capable of this violence and Detroit, which isn't necessarily either of those, keeps the peace, I don't know what will.
Newspapers suffered
an identity crisis, struggling with which images to use on the front page. The Vancouver Providence did well with its "Mayhem" cover.

UPDATE: Wilson said about his tweet the next day: "Man I have a new-found respect for Detroit after the angry shellacking I've taken for my crack this AM. U guys sure rally for yr city!"
Also, according to ESPN's Page2 blog, there apparently was a riot after the Pistons won their 1990 NBA championship. The melee was described as "worse, albeit less memorable" than the 1984 Tigers riot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job trying to clean up the Detroit rep thing, but that dog won't hunt. You can list all the exceptions you want but you miss the obvious. A rep isn't always completely about sports. Throw in 5 terms of Soulman Young, who was openly hostile to his palefaced neighbors even though they paid the freight down there, add a pinch of Kwame, Riddle, Conyers, countless others, and stir in bribery, corruption, missing money, nepotism, prejudice, and incompetence. Season with consistently being in the top 5 cities in the country for murder, armed robbery, assault, carjacking, and other violent crimes and bake for 40 years. Presto, the Detroit rep is ready to serve. It doesn't take Emeril or Einstein to figure that out.

June 22, 2011 at 2:53 AM 

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