Violence in Sports
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield once joked, “I went to the fight the other night and a hockey game broke out”, but violence in sports is a continuous problem that is not amusing. Whether the conversation is the about the “blood games” of the Ancient Greeks and Romans or the 2012 NFL season, there is one common factor and it is violence. Over the course of history sporting events have become more civilized which does not make the “blood games” and Monday Night Football an apples to apples comparison, however one cannot debate the fact that violence still remains a main stay in sports today.
The real debate is who is responsible for its continuous existence. Has society witnessed so much violence that sports would not be sports without it? Did the media and the commercialization of sports help keep violence alive in today’s games? Is there truly enough evidence to pinpoint the real culprit or can we all mutually agree that all parties are to blame? The author argues that much of the violence in sports today involves overconformity to the norms of the sport ethic which is absolutely valid.
Jay Coakley discusses how athletes may use violence to enhance their status amongst peers and gain popularity with spectators. He believes some athletes compensate their insecurities with extreme measures to prove themselves because “they are only as good as their last game”. Every day athletes are looking to make that big devastating hit that will have fans jumping out of their seats, teammates giving them high fives and coaches praising them in team film sessions. They have a desire to gain a reputation that demands respects, a player with a killer instinct that opponents fear.
While I agree with Coakley, it is only to a certain degree. In today’s society you must factor in the media and the commercialization of sports as well. Players understand that the big hit will gain them the respect they desire, but it will also gain a clip in ESPN’s top ten highlights. Players in today’s game have a need to be noticed and recognized by the media because it will lead to cashing in on a big time sports contract and endorsement deals. Back in the 1970’s players demanded respect because they wanted to be a tough guy which is also true today, but now they prefer to be a famous rich tough guy.
Violence in sports does not only exist within the participants of sporting events either, which continues to build on the Coakley’s argument that athletes use violence in an effort to gain spectators popularity. Sports fans fighting against other fans for obscene comments toward each other, wearing the wrong jersey in the wrong section, or looking to fight players for poor performances are becoming the norm. These events are putting fans in a state of wanting, in fact needing violence in order to be satisfied with sporting events.
Soccer has become a sport that is synonymous with fan violence. Soccer fans have no level of fear when it comes to violence and it has come the point that soccer players are scared of their own fans. Alexei Barrionuevo and Charles Newberry of the NY Times wrote an article discussing the extreme fan hostility and violence that occurs in Argentinian soccer. There is an organization in Argentina dedicated to ending violence in soccer named Let’s Save Football, but there existence is not enough to deter the violence.
In fact the president of the organization Monica Nizzard, stated, “We don’t feel safe inside of our stadiums in Argentina”, “That is why families have stopped going. ” (NY Times 2011). This is just one example of many fans creating a violent atmosphere that exists in sports today. Coalkey also describes a scene from Pat Conroy’s novel The Prince of Tides that has a coach addressing his team in a manner that puts a player in a state of mind looking to create a violent experience.
However he states “many coaches don’t use such vivid vocabulary because they know it can inspire dangerous forms of violence” and then adds that these coaches seek athletes that already think that way. He is correct, but at the same time incorrect. For example, the NFL recently made headlines with the New Orleans Saints “bounty program” where MSN Fox Sports quoted defensive coordinator Greg Williams quoted as saying, ”We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a (expletive) prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy. He becomes human when we … take out that outside ACL. ‘ (Associated Press 2012). Coaches are just as responsible for violence in sports as the athletes. Some coaches may not be quoted like Greg Williams was, but on both amateur and professional levels coaches prepare game speeches about going to war with the enemy…not go give it your best effort. Below is a recent controversial video of a football coach that may or may not have assaulted an opposing 7th grade football player depending on your side of the situation. Regardless of the opinion on his actions it makes people wonder what this coach may be saying when the camera is not on. http://network. ardbarker. com/high_school/article_external/backyard/new_video_emerges_of_youth_coach_assaulting_player/12191230? refmod=backyard=foxsports Sports play a significant role in society and grab the attention of millions of viewers while impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of athletes. Some athletes use violence as a basic instinct while playing sports. Some athletes will use it as a means to gain money, power and respect. Some fans will cheer for violence and some fans will jeer against it. Coaches and parents will teach their children the right and wrong of violence in sports.
With all that said, violence is not doing a disappearing magic act from sports. It used to exist, still exists and will continue to exist. Throughout all of my reading for this assignment I go back to one quote from Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston…”Questioning violence in sports offers an opportunity to question humanity in general. ” (Discovery News, 2012) Cited References BarrioNuevo, A and Newberry, C. (2011, Nov. 26). In Argentina, Violence is Part of the Soccer Culture. Retrieved from NYTimes. com: http://www. nytimes. om/2011/11/27/sports/soccer/in-argentina-violence-is-part-of-the-soccer-culture. html? pagewanted=all=0 This article discusses the extremely violent nature of soccer in Argentina. It goes into detail the actions of violent Argentinian soccer fans. It also discusses how they are attempting to put a stop to the violence. Associated Press (2012, April 06). Report: Tape Captured Bounty Offer Retrieved from Fox Sports: http://msn. foxsports. com/nfl/story/gregg-williams-instructed-new-orleans-saints-players-to-injure-san-francisco-49ers-040512 In this article the author discusses the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
It discusses the first released quotes from Coach Greg Williams regarding the bounties. It goes into detail about the entire tape and how it impacts the bounty scandal. Issac, A. (2012, Nov. 12). MNew Video Emerges of Youth Coach Assualting Playerke’s Neon- Retrieved from Fox Sports: http://network. yardbarker. com/high_school/article_external/backyard/new_video_emerges_of_youth_coach_assaulting_player/12191230? refmod=backyard&refsrc=foxsports The video clip was used as a reference. The video shows a clip of a youth football coach assaulting an opposing 7th grade player.
It details the legal action taken place against the coach and how it has affected his life. The player’s mother also speaks out against the coach. Sohn, E. (2012, March 07). Is Violence in Sport Inevitable Retrieved from Discovery News: http://news. discovery. com/adventure/violence-sports-football-120307. html The author discusses violence in sports and fans reactions to violence. It discusses actual fan violence as well as the viewership reactions to violence. The author also discusses the impact violence would have on sports if it did not exist.