Violence In Sports

With the increase in society taking a stance against violence by many people,
sports has become an area where some feel that the violent acts such as the
hitting and fighting that occurs should be eliminated. You can not change
something that has been around for so long because it would change the aspect of
the game to something completely different. The elimination of violence should
not be done in sport because the violence is a part of the game which would only
hurt its popularity. The reasons that the violence is occurring in sport is due
to six theories according to John Schneider. “The violence in sport mirrors
the violence found in society, violence as the result of economic incentives,
the influence of crowd behavior on player violence, genetic causation for player
aggression, learning theory and player aggression, and psychological stress and
player violence” (Lapchick 230). The theories of sport mirroring society,
violence as a result of economic incentive, and the influence of the crowd
behavior are the theories that I feel are responsible for the increasing
violence in sports. Most people when involved in a highly stressful situation
where violence is around would probably resort to a fight to resolve their
differences. In sport, why should we expect any difference. In events such as
hockey games, where people are expected to hit and make body contact, sooner or
later a fight will break out and the fans will yell and scream for their
favorite player involved. Like anything, if people around us are applauding us
for a certain act we have done, we will try to do it over so that we will
continue to be praised. In sports, there are some players whose only role on the
team is to protect and enforce the unwritten rules of the game such as in hockey
where it is not right to fight or hit a Wayne Gretezy or Mario Lemieux type of
star player! . His economic incentive is to protect the team and if he does not,
a new line of work might be in the future. All three of those theories relate
closely to the role of the fighter in sport and why it is that he does commit
the acts of violence. When leagues such as the National Football League (NFL) or
the National Hockey League (NHL) are asked to try and remove the violence from
their sport, they are hesitant because it is not what the fans want.

“Bryant and Zillman report that television viewers enjoy NFL plays more
when they are rough and violent” (McPherson 294). Why should these leagues
remove the violence that is occurring if they are making money and keeping
people employed. The fans of the games want to see these situations and
eliminating the fighting aspect would hurt the support. When I watch a hockey
game or any other sporting event with contact, there is nothing better than
seeing a good fight take place. “One of the best-selling videos in parts of
the Northeastern United States has been a collection of the best fights in the
NHL” (McPherson 294). Even former NHL president Clarence Campbell felt that
the violence taking place in his sport was called for and was reluctant to
remove the fighting and the body contact because he knew that it is what the
majority of hockey fans want. Fighting is a well-established safety valve for
players. If violence ceases to exist, it will not be the same game. Insofar as
fighting is part of the show, we certainly sell it. We do not promote it. We
tolerate it and we bring it under disciplinary control which we believe
satisfies the public (Snyder 201). Its better that the violence take place
between two willing combatants such as in sports than in a situation involving
spousal abuse where the majority of the times the female is being attacked
against her consent. Allowing people not to be able vent their frustrations
through sport in my mind would increase the violence that is happening away from
the playing field. It is a known fact that sports does keep kids off the street
and away from gangs which is why you see so many athletic and boxing clubs being
run out of the inner city. It is allowing the youth to take that hostility out
on a willing participant who is ready and consenting rather than against an
innocent bystander. Some individuals have gone as far as saying that sport is
creating a deviant subculture where these athletes are becoming the opposite of
what was intended for them. “The emphasis in formalized sport on victory
may, in fact, promote deviant behavior and poor sportsmanship” (Snyder
101). I would have to totally disagree with the above quote because being an
athlete myself, I can never recall a time when I could have related my deviant
behavior to my sporting past. Sports does not promote poor sportsmanship, it
creates a drive to succeed within yourself and to try to do the best at whatever
you do whether it be in sports, school or at a job. The violence that is
occurring today is not occurring more than it was ten or twenty years ago like
some people might suggest, it is only being shown and talked about more by the
mass media. If there is one group to blame for the increase in violence I feel
that it would be the media, not the athletes themselves. If you turn on the
television to watch a sportscast, it will always glorify an act of violence like
a “hit of the night” or repeats of some type of fight whether it be in
hockey, boxing or a bench-clearing brawl in baseball. I can recall on numerous
occasions where the media has hyped up a hockey game involving two “tough
guys” and creating a hysteria in sporting world wanting to see the outcome
of the fight. Is this wrong for the media to be encouraging and glorifying the
violence in sport? I don’t think so because the fans want to see it and like it
or not, it is here to stay. Look at sports like boxing for example, who relies
on the media to increase the sports fans interest in an upcoming match. When you
can only fit approximately “17,000 people” into a Las Vegas boxing
arena, the money is not made at the gate (Lunney 39). Millions and millions of
dollars are gathered from pay-per- view television where again millions of
spectators are waiting to see the outcome of a match like the one two weeks ago
involving Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno where Tyson made an easy “$30
million” Lunney 39). We as society are attracted to this sort of sport
violence and there is nothing we can do about it to change it. Should we take
steps to discourage the violence in sports is a question that is being asked
today due to the glorification of certain events like University of Moncton-University
of Prince Edward Island hockey game where a referee was assaulted on the ice
after disallowing then allowing the same goal. This kind of violence occurs very
little in the sport of hockey considering the amount of games that are played
throughout the year. Sure there are acts like these but they are not the norm.

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It would be hard to eliminate violence that is in sport because it has been
there for so long and is a part of the game. Fans do not want to see it be
removed because it is sometimes the only part of the game that is interesting if
the game is dull. Players know that a good, solid hit or a bit fight can
sometimes put momentum on their side giving them extra drive to pull ahead in
the game. Violence in sport is not having a negative effect on society, it is
only allowing fans to ! enjoy themselves while they are watching a particular
sport. Yes there are instances where players and fans do go overboard and get
carried away causing fights and sometimes riots, but it is not very often. When
it does happen, it is glorified so that people think sports are played by bozos
and goons who can only fight. The violence that is in sport is here to stay and
should be left that way so that the real fans who know what is going on can
enjoy the sport that they have took an interest in instead of media types and
others who do not have a clue in what they are talking about when saying that
the violence in sports should be eliminated. Bibliography Aberdeen, R. (1995,
Mar.). “Participant observation and research into football hooliganism:
Reflections on the problems of entree and everyday risks.” Sociology of
Sport Journal 12, 1-20. Family Violence Prevention Fund. “Calling foul:
Sports and domestic violence”. http//.www.icg.apc.org/fund/men/sports. html
Gantz, W. (1995, Mar.). “Fanship and the television sports viewing
experience.” Sociology of Sport Journal 12, 56-74. Lapchick, R. (Ed.).

(1986). Fractured focus. Lexington, MA.: Lexington Books. Lunney, D. (1996,
March 26). Refs on run: Abuse of officials on rise in Manitoba. Winnipeg Sun, p.


39. McPherson, B. D., Curtis, J. E., ; Loy, J. W. (1989). The social
significance of sport. Champaign, IL.: Human Kenetics Books. Messner, M. A.,
; Sabo, D. F. (1994). Sex, violence and power in sports. Freedom, CA.: The
Crossing Press. Snyder, E. E., ; Spreitzer, E. A. (1983). Social aspects of
sport. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall Inc. Abstract In this essay, the
main topic was to show that although there is an increase in the amount of
violence that is occuring in sports, it should not be eliminated from the games
that it is being used in. Although there has been a call by some to have
violence such as fighting and body contact eliminated from games such as hockey,
the reason that it is good to have these acts is because it allows you to vent
your fustration out on a willing opponent instead of taking t out on an
unsuspecting individual like a spouse or child. The violence that is being used
in sports should stay in the game due to its popularity and for those who
believe that it should be eliminated should learn what they are talking about
before such comments are made to ruin the games that we enjoy.

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