Sports can serve as a provider of societal truths. Really. For example, check out Radley Balko on last night's riot at the Pacers@Pistons game:
I thought it was interesting see how when you introduced just a wee bit of anarchy to an otherwise controlled event, these accountants, college kids, and business people seized the moment. They stormed the floor and stampeded to the exits for no other reason than to hurl a symbolic beer-soaked hot dog bun at whatever athlete happened to be trying to escape from the floor at time. Didn't really matter if the guy on the receiving end had the character of Terrell Owens or of Michael Jordan -- whether he was Ron Artest or Austin Croshere. That he was wearing a jersey seemed to be enough.
Overbearing control begats discord. This is why in dictatorships there's the phenomenon of iron-fisted government control co-existing with virtual anarchy at the fringes. Also it's why after a dictator is overthrown otherwise calm people act like complete nuts.
I recall a "man on the street" type report out of Iraq soon after the overthrow was complete, where random Iraqis were doing awkward things like smashing bottles on the ground and setting stuff on fire, while yelling something along the lines of "this is freedom!" and whatnot. No surprise there, expecting someone who'd up to that point lived a tightly structured life to approach the removal of said structure rationally would be like expecting a newborn to walk.
That control sows the seeds of chaos is a lesson people should take care to remember. Just because for some people out there it takes a fight at a basketball game to realize it doesn't make it any less important.
On a lighter note: LOL@some of the descriptions people have online of the punches thrown. I read on SOHH various people saying Jermaine O'Neal's sucker punch of some dude reminded them of "some Tekken shit", "Sagat (from Street Fighter 2) TIGER UPPERCUT!!", "Kung-Fu shit", etc. Damn I wish I saw that...*fires up Kazaa to look for video...*