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 thehitting and fighting that occurs should be eliminated. You can not changesomething that has been around for so long because it would change the aspect ofthe game to something completely different. The elimination of violence shouldnot be done in sport because the violence is a part of the game which would onlyhurt its popularity.
The reasons that the violence is occurring in sport is dueto six theories according to John Schneider. “The violence in sport mirrorsthe violence found in society, violence as the result of economic incentives,the influence of crowd behavior on player violence, genetic causation for playeraggression, learning theory and player aggression, and psychological stress andplayer violence” (Lapchick 230). The theories of sport mirroring society,violence as a result of economic incentive, and the influence of the crowdbehavior are the theories that I feel are responsible for the increasingviolence in sports. Most people when involved in a highly stressful situationwhere violence is around would probably resort to a fight to resolve theirdifferences. In sport, why should we expect any difference.
In events such ashockey games, where people are expected to hit and make body contact, sooner orlater a fight will break out and the fans will yell and scream for theirfavorite player involved. Like anything, if people around us are applauding usfor a certain act we have done, we will try to do it over so that we willcontinue to be praised. In sports, there are some players whose only role on theteam is to protect and enforce the unwritten rules of the game such as in hockeywhere it is not right to fight or hit a Wayne Gretezy or Mario Lemieux type ofstar 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 relateclosely to the role of the fighter in sport and why it is that he does committhe acts of violence. When leagues such as the National Football League (NFL) orthe National Hockey League (NHL) are asked to try and remove the violence fromtheir sport, they are hesitant because it is not what the fans want.
“Bryant and Zillman report that television viewers enjoy NFL plays morewhen they are rough and violent” (McPherson 294). Why should these leaguesremove the violence that is occurring if they are making money and keepingpeople employed. The fans of the games want to see these situations andeliminating the fighting aspect would hurt the support. When I watch a hockeygame or any other sporting event with contact, there is nothing better thanseeing a good fight take place. “One of the best-selling videos in parts ofthe Northeastern United States has been a collection of the best fights in theNHL” (McPherson 294).
Even former NHL president Clarence Campbell felt thatthe violence taking place in his sport was called for and was reluctant toremove the fighting and the body contact because he knew that it is what themajority of hockey fans want. Fighting is a well-established safety valve forplayers. If violence ceases to exist, it will not be the same game. Insofar asfighting is part of the show, we certainly sell it. We do not promote it.
Wetolerate it and we bring it under disciplinary control which we believesatisfies the public (Snyder 201). Its better that the violence take placebetween two willing combatants such as in sports than in a situation involvingspousal abuse where the majority of the times the female is being attackedagainst her consent. Allowing people not to be able vent their frustrationsthrough sport in my mind would increase the violence that is happening away fromthe playing field. It is a known fact that sports does keep kids off the streetand away from gangs which is why you see so many athletic and boxing clubs beingrun out of the inner city. It is allowing the youth to take that hostility outon a willing participant who is ready and consenting rather than against aninnocent bystander.
Some individuals have gone as far as saying that sport iscreating a deviant subculture where these athletes are becoming the opposite ofwhat was intended for them. “The emphasis in formalized sport on victorymay, in fact, promote deviant behavior and poor sportsmanship” (Snyder101). I would have to totally disagree with the above quote because being anathlete myself, I can never recall a time when I could have related my deviantbehavior to my sporting past.
Sports does not promote poor sportsmanship, itcreates a drive to succeed within yourself and to try to do the best at whateveryou do whether it be in sports, school or at a job. The violence that isoccurring today is not occurring more than it was ten or twenty years ago likesome people might suggest, it is only being shown and talked about more by themass media. If there is one group to blame for the increase in violence I feelthat it would be the media, not the athletes themselves. If you turn on thetelevision to watch a sportscast, it will always glorify an act of violence likea “hit of the night” or repeats of some type of fight whether it be inhockey, boxing or a bench-clearing brawl in baseball. I can recall on numerousoccasions where the media has hyped up a hockey game involving two “toughguys” and creating a hysteria in sporting world wanting to see the outcomeof the fight. Is this wrong for the media to be encouraging and glorifying theviolence in sport? I don’t think so because the fans want to see it and like itor not, it is here to stay.
Look at sports like boxing for example, who relieson the media to increase the sports fans interest in an upcoming match. When youcan only fit approximately “17,000 people” into a Las Vegas boxingarena, the money is not made at the gate (Lunney 39). Millions and millions ofdollars are gathered from pay-per- view television where again millions ofspectators are waiting to see the outcome of a match like the one two weeks agoinvolving Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno where Tyson made an easy “$30million” Lunney 39). We as society are attracted to this sort of sportviolence and there is nothing we can do about it to change it. Should we takesteps to discourage the violence in sports is a question that is being askedtoday due to the glorification of certain events like University of Moncton-Universityof Prince Edward Island hockey game where a referee was assaulted on the iceafter disallowing then allowing the same goal. This kind of violence occurs verylittle in the sport of hockey considering the amount of games that are playedthroughout the year. Sure there are acts like these but they are not the norm.It would be hard to eliminate violence that is in sport because it has beenthere for so long and is a part of the game.
Fans do not want to see it beremoved because it is sometimes the only part of the game that is interesting ifthe game is dull. Players know that a good, solid hit or a bit fight cansometimes put momentum on their side giving them extra drive to pull ahead inthe game. Violence in sport is not having a negative effect on society, it isonly allowing fans to ! enjoy themselves while they are watching a particularsport. Yes there are instances where players and fans do go overboard and getcarried away causing fights and sometimes riots, but it is not very often. Whenit does happen, it is glorified so that people think sports are played by bozosand goons who can only fight.
The violence that is in sport is here to stay andshould be left that way so that the real fans who know what is going on canenjoy the sport that they have took an interest in instead of media types andothers who do not have a clue in what they are talking about when saying thatthe 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 ofSport Journal 12, 1-20. Family Violence Prevention Fund. “Calling foul:Sports and domestic violence”. http//.www.icg.apc.
org/fund/men/sports. htmlGantz, W. (1995, Mar.). “Fanship and the television sports viewingexperience.” 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 socialsignificance of sport. Champaign, IL.: Human Kenetics Books. Messner, M.
A.,; Sabo, D. F. (1994). Sex, violence and power in sports. Freedom, CA.: TheCrossing Press. Snyder, E.
E., ; Spreitzer, E. A. (1983).
Social aspects ofsport. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall Inc. Abstract In this essay, themain topic was to show that although there is an increase in the amount ofviolence that is occuring in sports, it should not be eliminated from the gamesthat it is being used in. Although there has been a call by some to haveviolence 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 ventyour fustration out on a willing opponent instead of taking t out on anunsuspecting individual like a spouse or child.
The violence that is being usedin sports should stay in the game due to its popularity and for those whobelieve that it should be eliminated should learn what they are talking aboutbefore such comments are made to ruin the games that we enjoy.