Alabama rolled over Ohio State 54-24 on Monday night in the national championship game, which sparked a massive celebration back in Tuscaloosa.
Students and Crimson Tide fans in Alabama flooded the streets in the wake of the program’s 18th title, ignoring officials’ pleas to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic — which is raging throughout the country.
By the end of the night, 14 people had been arrested in what Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said was “larger than any celebration we’ve seen in recent memory.”
“I think it goes without saying that we are disappointed,” Maddox said, via USA Today.
Fans flood ‘The Strip’ while ignoring COVID-19
Alabama fans packed bars in downtown Tuscaloosa hours before the game started on Monday, and didn’t seem to care about the risk of contracting the coronavirus whatsoever.
LARGE CROWDS GATHER IN TUSCALOOSA AT BARS: large crowds of fans are waiting in long lines at bars on the strip trying to get seats inside to watching tonight’s college national championship game pic.twitter.com/x9f1Dawp8c
— Tim Reid (@reidreporterguy) January 11, 2021
— Malique (@MaliqueRankin) January 11, 2021
It only got worse after the win.
Much, much worse.
Alabama Crimson Tide fans flood the streets of Tuscaloosa after the team secured its 18th national title. pic.twitter.com/k9UCH8BC4m
— James Benedetto (@james_benedetto) January 12, 2021
When it was over, 14 people had been arrested on 18 charges, including public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, per the report. Two people needed medical attention on site, too, after they were hit in the head with beer bottles or cans.
The crowd, police said, had been cleared shortly after midnight — nearly 90 minutes after it had first formed.
"Last night, we did have a few bad actors. And we certainly had a number of young people not celebrate responsibly," Maddox said, via USA Today. "That being said, I hope we all put ourselves in those shoes and remember back to the time that we were in college as well. I hope we will resist the temptation to demonize anyone."
Though Maddox may not place blame on the fans who were celebrating, their actions are certainly cause for concern.
There were nearly 223,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, according to The New York Times, and the country is now averaging more than 250,000 cases more than 3,200 deaths a day — an all-time high. More than 379,000 people have died in the pandemic since it began, too.
The mass gathering on Monday night is sure to lead to a spike in cases in the Tuscaloosa area in the coming days and weeks — similar to an earlier outbreak last fall that occurred on campus.
“Our concern then was that we might see community spread coming out of that,” Maddox said, via USA Today. “I think that probably holds true here.”
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