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Essays On Violence In Sports


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Why violence in sports should be banned

Introduction

When one thinks of the tremendous steps that humanity has made in terms of technological progress one cannot help but stand in awe. However, it is amazing how little humanity has developed in other different respects (In Torres, 2004). There are persons that might speak contemptuously when it comes to the poor old Romans that relished on the orgies that came with slaughter in their arenas. Many of the persons in the 21st century might despise the Romans because they mistook the slaughter of men for entertainment. There are others in the society that forgive them arguing that indeed they live around 2200 years ago and consequently they knew no better (Thornton, 2011). However, a question that arises is whether or not these feelings of superiority in the 21st century are really justified. Is the 21st century society any less blood thirsty than those Romans that lived ages ago? One example is boxing matches, they often attract universal interest and the spectators attend in a bid to see some violence. This paper explores whether indeed violence should be banned in sports (In Torres, 2004).

Main aim of sports

The main foundation of sports should never be forgotten. Sports is basically an activity that is done for pleasure and which often needs physical efforts as well as skill. Some people often dedicate themselves to this activity and most people often consider it as a passion to compete against each other in ability, spirit and skill (Thornton, 2011). Sport is important as it helps to inculcate a sense of discipline as well as a spirit of brother hood or as it is commonly referred to a sense of team spirit. It is of importance to understand that there should be nothing violent about sporting, however, in the over the years violent sports have dominated the entertainment arena and in fact there are some people that are making a living about it and they cannot even get enough of it.

These kinds of sports should be banned for several reasons, firstly, it is imperative to understand that violence begets violence and once there are no restrictions, generations after generations will be caught in what can be described as a vicious cycle that will never end. Homes will become more violent and the streets will see many crimes, the seeds that were sown during the years of watching violent entertainment events (In Torres, 2004). If violent sports are continued the blood that is seen on the screens during the sporting displays will soon become no entry zones and police officers will gather evidence in a bid to send several sportsmen to jail for the passionate crimes that have been committed. Therefore, there violence in sports should be banned on both human and moral grounds.

Some sports can only be described as nothing but an excuse for violence. Boxing can be described as a perfect example. The people often punch each other mercilessly to the great amazement and admiration of the crowd (In Torres, 2004). The only difference that exists between the 21st century and the Romans is the fact that they were honest enough to admit that they immensely enjoyed watching hungry lions tear up people and going ahead and eating them alive. The 21st century man is afraid of admitting to this fact and finds all the different sorts of sophisticated arguments and reasons that are intended to defend sports that should have been banned ages ago. Violence in sports has been on the increase and there are some sports that can only be described as barbarous and can be compared to bearbaiting and public hangings.

There are some people that argue that it is the players that choose to participate, however, it is of the essence to understand that this is always not the case and many boxers are known to come from disadvantaged backgrounds (In Torres, 2004). These violent sports are often lure persons with money and there always exists social and peer pressure which leads most of them to joining the war. Even when it comes to the richer social groups, there are schools that force unwilling students to play sports that can be described as aggressive. They give a flimsy reason that playing the pugnacious sports will improve the student's character and the school reputation. However, this is always the case but in fact it increases the risk of injury (Thornton, 2011).

It is of the essence to understand that even when people can choose, there is a need to sometimes protect the persons against themselves. This is because there are sports that are extremely violent and cause a lot of harm to the persons (In Torres, 2004). There is therefore, a need to ensure that these sports are banned and if they are not banned there are explicit rules that are put in place to ensure the safety of the players. Violence in sports should not be condoned at any level and there is a need to ensure that sports is kept clean by both the government as well as the players themselves that play in the specific leagues.

Violence in sports can also be seen in what is often described as less violent sports such as football. The frequency to which concussions are occurring in football alone is disturbing. The violent sports takes years off the lives of the players and it also serves as a bad example to the young players who dream of success in the league (Morgan, 2007). There is a need for the professional leagues to take better care of their players and ensure that violence is eradicated completely from sport and that every player is inculcated with this thought (Thornton, 2011). There should be no allowance whatsoever for any player to conduct any violence against another player. Players that inculcate violence in the field of player should receive heavy fines and may even receive prosecution outside the pitch. This will be important as it will ensure that the players understand the repercussions that come with violence in sports.

Violence in sports effect on children

Children can be said to be highly influenced by the violence that exists in sports. Children are naive and when violence in sports is propagated in the television persons that have never played the sport like children get the wrong impression of the sport. It is important to note that children are influenced easily be violent sport because the sports stars are their role models. Therefore, if they see them being violent they are more likely to take up those attributes and become violent themselves. Boys in fact by nature are known to be rough and this should not be encouraged any further.

The children when they watch violence in sport they tend to believe that indeed violence is an acceptable part of the sport when actually that is far from the truth. Researchers have argued that children that often watch WWE often believe that being tough is beating up other children and in fact violent sports have been attributed to the rising cases of bullying in the United States. This is because children have been taught that in order for them to be the strongest they must show violence against others as shown in some violent sports such as rugby and boxing (Morgan, 2007). Therefore, it can be seen that indeed children are being influenced heavily by violence in sport. If violence in sports is not stopped, these children will go on believing that actually sports should be naturally violent and unfortunately these violent acts will be adapted into their everyday life (Thornton, 2011). Therefore, violence in sports should be banned with immediate effect in order to protect these vulnerable children who look upon sports as the their only source of entertainment and pass time.

It is incredible that in the 21st century, hunting and bull fighting are still encouraged. In fact, these violent sports are glamorized on the media and they are attended even by the leaders. It is perfectly comfortable for a man to sit back and watch as two men or women batter each other to pulp. People are relatively unmoved by the sight of a number of racing cars bursting into flames (Morgan, 2007).

This is what violence has done to the human population and there is a need to stop it. In fact, there is no need for the 21st century man to deceive himself; any talk of team spirit can be described as a sheer hypocrisy. This is because people often take part in these violent sports and encourages violence in sports because of the high rewards that they bring. The spectators of these violent sports are often willing to pay large sums of money in order to go watch violence at its best. For example, a world heavyweight championship match can only be described as front page news. Millions of people around the globe are often disappointed when a supposedly big fight ends into rounds instead of twelve. They often feel disappointed because they feel like they have been deprived an exquisite pleasure that comes with witnessing prolonged violence and torture (Thornton, 2011).

The question that stands that out is why then there is a need to ban violence sports if people enjoy them so much. The answer however is simple; violence is sports is uncivilized, this is because man for many years has been trying to improve himself spiritually as well as emotionally. At least one no longer sees the sight of persons that were referred to as madmen being locked up in cages or even the public floggings of roll forming machines. The barbaric practices that were common in the past now only live in museums and history books (Morgan, 2007).

However, these changes occurred not because the human persons suddenly improved but because of important and positive steps that were taken in a bid to change the law. The law can be described as the biggest instrument of social change that exert great civilizing change and influence in the society. If violence is banned in sports, that will be described as one important step towards improving mankind (Morgan, 2007). There is a need for the society to note that violence is degrading and it is also unworthy of human beings and consequently it should be banned.

It will be hypocritical to state that indeed sports do not involve challenge as well as risk. However, violence and unwarranted aggression should not be permitted in the name of sport. Different sports should be regulated in a bid to ensure that the violence is stamped out. Government as well as individuals should act in a bid to limit the brutality and violence in order for the adults and children enjoy as well as benefit from the sport.

Conclusion

In conclusion, millions of people often play sport each and every day and inevitably some might suffer injury and pain. Most players and spectators have been able to accept this risk; however, some people have argued that there is a need to see violent sports such as boxing banned. Violence should be banned in sports and in fact some sports are nothing but an excuse for violence. Sports such as boxing have been propagating violence and the sight of two men bleeding with faces ripped open has been confused for a source of entertainment in the world today. Children are often highly influenced by violence in sports that are displayed in the television (Morgan, 2007). Children are often influenced extensively because the sports starts are icons and role models for majority of children and consequently when they see their role models engaging in violence they often follow suit. The main aim of sports should not be forgotten which is competing against each other in ability, skill, and spirit. Sports help in inculcating discipline and therefore, violence should never be allowed in sports and consequently it should be banned without much further ado.

References

In Torres, C. R. (2014). Bloomsbury companion to the philosophy of sport.
Morgan, W. J. (2007). Ethics in sport. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.
Thornton, P. K. (2011). Sports law. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

VIOLENCE IN SPORTS

“…Steeler running back Rocky Bleier, whose war time experiences, not so oddly, offer some insights. To Bleier, there are interesting parallels between survival in war and survival in the NFL. ‘The experiences with war injuries and football injuries are quite the same,’ he said.” (Casay) The injuries that are accumulated during sports are rapidly increasing to the point that there are injured players on every team in each game that is played. This is especially true in the most physical professional sports, i.e., NFL and the NHL. Most of these injuries are directly related to the increasing violent nature of pro athletes.

“`The cost of the aggression -- the punishment -- has to be greater than the benefits,’ said Dr. Brenda Bredemeier, sports psychology consultant at the University of California-Berkley. The latest outbreak of violence occurred in Bredemeier's back yard, Oakland, where (Latrell) Sprewell attacked Coach P.J. Carlesimo during practice and, according to published reports, threatened to kill him if he wasn't traded.”(Detroit Press) Pro athletes are committing criminal acts and the law for the most part is letting them get away with crimes. Another case of violence by a pro athlete happened recently. Ray Lewis was initially charged with murder along with two of his friends for an altercation that happened in Atlanta after the Superbowl on January 31, 2000. The three men got into a fight with two other men and killed them. “Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Lewis to 12 months' probation, the maximum sentence for a first-time offender.”(CNNSI) This case made me think to myself, “Would a man facing murder charges with two of his friends be able to walk a free man with no jail time at all and still be accepted by society?” Pro athletes receive star status by the public and the media, encouraging law enforcement officials to look the other way whenever they break the law. Our judicial system in turn hands out less severe penalties for criminal offences committed by pro athletes than the average criminal offender. Violence in professional sports is seen in the actions of one player against another, but is now rapidly increasing outside of the games to where the players are now being deemed as criminals as well as athletes and tarnishes their image as role models to kids.

Athletes in pro sports are paid outrageous amounts to play, which gives them more incentive to be violent. Some argue that the athletes deserve these wages. These enormous amounts of money that pro athletes are making are ridiculous. “The average earned income in major league baseball is over $800,000 a season”(Fizel, 83), and some of these players just sit the bench all year. These high salaries are beneficial in making the athletes more violent. How is it fair that a man that can hit a ball four hundred feet to send a baseball out of the park make $30 million a season? Barry Bonds is truly a great athlete, but to be paid that much he should be able to hit home runs with his eyes closed. Michael Jordan is the greatest man to ever walk across the hard wood floors of professional basketball, but to be paid $63 million in one season is almost sickening.

Football players aren’t any better but are a little different when it comes to why they are paid so much. They have a lot more at stake when they go out on to the field to do battle. They have to consider the possibility of getting injured at any time because of the violent nature of the sport. They are paid to be big, mean, fast, and ruthless out on the field against men just as big and ruthless as themselves. Kevin Green, a defensive linebacker said “ It is true that we are getting paid outrageous amount for what we do out on the turf, but we are the most likely to get hurt in all professional sports. We want to make sure we get what we need before we get out of the league.”(O’Hara, 12) That is the typical mindset of pro football players. The signification of the relation between violence in pro sports and the money the athletes make is summed up in this quote: “The economic incentive to win forces players to develop a win at all cost attitude. Players no longer play simply for the love of the game, but rather play for the tremendous amount of wealth that can be attained by winning.” (Rowe)

The fans of professional sports are expecting more from the players, and when they feel that the performance from their team is inadequate, they get violent. Most people know of the incidents that occur from European and South American soccer games. The fans of these soccer games have fights regularly over arguments that are provoked from one team winning and one team losing. There have also been cases as extreme as death for another fan or even a player. “…on May 29, 1985 when two fans turned an argument into a full scale riot, as the Italian fans tried to storm the English stands in the process they knocked down a cement wall killing 39 people. In result of this some teams had to ban their own fans from attending the home games.”(Hazleton) Violent fans happen in any sport, not just soccer. The National Hockey League (NHL) had an unfortunate event in the early 1990’s. “Take for example, the Montreal Canadians, who had just won the National Hockey League championship after their June 7 Stanley Cup final victory over the Los Angles Kings. Almost immediately after the game, a rampage started in the streets of Montreal. For over two hours, people were turning over cars, setting fires, and smashing store windows with big stones. The damage was estimated at about $10 million.”(McGurgan)

Drinking is an activity that provokes the fans to act in a violent nature. There is a new crackdown on drinking at Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs. They have beefed up security to keep people in the cheap seats from moving into the lower box seats. “Season-ticket holders will be responsible for the actions of anyone using their seats. But the biggest changes are in beer sales. The Cubs will reduce the number of beer vendors by 10 percent; make them stop selling in the middle of the sixth inning, a half-inning earlier than before; and allow vendors to stock up only halfway for their final trip through the stands. It is all, as the letter says, because ‘the poor decision of one fan resulted in an event that was embarrassing for all of us.’"(Chicago Times) The incident that the reporter was talking about was that of a Chicago Cub fan that took the hat from Chad Kreuter, when his Los Angeles Dodger’s were playing against the Cubs. “Ron Camacho, one of three men arrested for disorderly conduct during last week's fight at the Cubs-Dodgers game, has filed a lawsuit against both teams seeking more than $400,000.

Chad Kreuter and other Dodgers jumped into the seats and "strangled, punched, slapped, pushed and kicked Mr. Camacho," the suit says, injuring his neck, arms, torso and face and causing him ‘severe pain and suffering and emotional distress.’”(Chicago Times) This event may or may not have been prevented by the selling of alcoholic beverages, but it does portray the violent nature of the pro athletes and the fans of pro sports. These crazed fans need to stop their violent nature before more people are injured and killed.

Society has a lasting effect on how professional sports should be played, and the general attitude is the acceptance of violence because the pro sports generate too much money to do without it. Violence and pro sports have coexisted for a long time. Violence occurs by the athletes while they are playing their sport and off the field as well. One such incident on the field occurred in the NFL in 1977. The Cincinnati Bengals were playing the Denver Broncos, and a player from Denver struck a player from Cincinnati in the back of the neck. “Mr. Hackbart later felt great pain and, after seeing a doctor, learned that he had a serious neck fracture. In Hackbart vs. Cincinnati, the trial court ruled that intentional injuries incurred during a game should be outside the framework of the law.”(Rowe)

With the increase in society taking a stand against violence, pro sports have become an area where some feel that the violent acts such as the hitting and fighting that occurs should be eliminated. Most people in our society, however, believe that you cannot change something that has been around for so long because it would change the aspect of the game to something completely different. The reasons that the violence is occurring in sports are 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. 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. 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 Gretzky 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 the NFL or the 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). We tolerate it and we bring it under disciplinary control, which we believe satisfies the public (Snyder 201). A part of society that should hold a lot of the blame for this acceptance of violence in pro sports is the media. Whenever “Sportscenter” comes on ESPN it always glorifies an act of violence such as the "hit of the night" or repeats of some type of fight whether it be in hockey, boxing or a bench-clearing brawl in baseball. 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). The general consensus is that sports violence is reflective to the violence that happens in our society.

Professional athletes have a tremendous amount of determination and competitiveness about them that is rarely seen anywhere else, but they are becoming less and less of role models because of their violent nature while they are playing their sport and the crimes that are being committed away from the sport. The high salaries, involvement of fans, and society are three theories as to why athletes are prone to act in such a violent way. The high salaries that athletes make is what drives them to violently play their sport, because they are rewarded most of the time for this style of play. The fans of professional sports cheer on their teams, especially when they see a player or players get injured from the opponents’ team. Society has come to accept the fact that violence in pro sports will never decease because of the revenue that is involved in the games. These facts are all sad but true, and the people in our society that are going to suffer the most from the violence are the kids. Since most pro athletes are deemed as role models, kids who see them on TV are going to think that there actions are okay to follow by, regardless if it is a basketball player throwing a punch or a baseball player charging the pitcher. Pro athletes, fans, and society need to all evaluate themselves and try to make a change for the better that decreases the violence.

Bibliography

1. SIRS on CD-ROM

Lapchick, R. “Fanship and the Television Sports Viewing Experience.” Sociology of Sport Journal (Lexington, MA) 16 May 1986 SIRS CD-ROM

McPherson, B.D. “The Social Significance of Sport.” 21 August 1989 SIRS CD-ROM

Snyder, E.E. “Social Aspects of Sport.” Prentice-Hall Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.) 11 February 1983 SIRS CD-ROM

Fizel, John. “Baseball Economics.” Prager Publishing, Inc. (Westpoint, London) 24 July 1996 SIRS CD-ROM

2. A source from the Detroit News:

O’Hara, Mike. “Football: Cap and Salaries will rise with new TV deals.” The Detroit Press (Detroit, MI) 15 Sept. 1998. Online. Available: www.detnews.com

Kupelian, Vartan. “Violence in sports: Sprewell latest in disturbing trend.” The Detroit News (Detroit, MI) 3 Dec. 1997. Online. Available: www.detnews.com/1997/sports/9712/03/12030177.htm

3. Material on the World Wide Web:

Associated Press. “Lewis Murder Charges Dropped.” CNN-SI 5 June 2000

http://www.cnnsi.com/football/nfl/news/2000/06/04/lewis_agreement/

McGurgan, Jennifer. “Violence Moves Onto Field.” 5 April 1995

Casey, Josh. “Ouch! America’s Favorite Pastimes and Violence.”

Rowe, Michael A. “The Legal Ramifications of Violence in Professional Sports.” Ford Marrin Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser, L.L.P. (Wall Street Plaza, NY)

www.fmew.com

4. Periodical information on CD-ROM:

Hazleton, Lesley. “British Soccer.” The New York Times Magazine May 7 1989: 67 SIRS CD-ROM

Couch, Greg. “Wrigley Restricts Beer Sales.” Chicago Times

(Chicago, IL) 26 May 2000. CD-ROM

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