Violence in Sport

The acceptance of body contact and borderline violence appears to support the idea that sports is the area in which moral standards and ethics are suspended, this in itself reveals that athletes think that there is a difference between game morality and the morals upheld in the normal or day to day life, a basketball player says that on the pitch you can do what you want, a football player agrees that the football pitch is not the right place to think about morality and ethics. Everyone who has once been a spectator at a sporting event of any kind must have experienced at one time or another the bellowing of obscenities either religious or racial, abusive sexual remarks hurled to women or the opponents in the vicinity, fights between friends to even strangers and innocent people. Spectator violence is on the rise, manifesting our societies for over 20 years, violence among the players has been reported for as long as sports have existed, unfortunately, they can only serve to encourage aggressive and violent behaviors.

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Sport and Violence

There have been controversies about competitions and recreational events/sport that have become debatable in the media and the society at large on issues related to aggression, deviance and violence; this is known as sports rage. Sports rage describes violent incidents at sporting events worldwide. Once there was the death of a hockey fan, a dad of a hockey player in Massachusetts killed another dad of a hockey player over a youth tournament hockey game, this game challenged the media in explaining how one father killed could kill another over a dispute related to their sons’ hockey participation, it doesn’t make sense absolutely, I mean if this was conceivable or just part of the game. In another basketball game, between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons, the Detroit fans shocked the nation by engaging in aggressive violent behavior with the players at a sporting event.

Sports rage could be the best term in the new language, some games are filled with rage every time particular teams are playing, take for example the Boston Red Sox games against the New York Yankee. The rivalry has a history of fans and players engaging in aggressive and violent extremes all the time. Baseball, on the other hand, has a history of violence within the stands, fans hurling obscenities, abuses and insults that often lead to fights

Sports violence may be described as physical violence, forgetting that even verbal violence or emotional violence are as equally destructive or damaging. The damages caused have been documented from what could have been perceived to be of good intentions with a great peer relation to unfortunate horrific incidents of physical aggression, violence even rape has evolved from these games for more than 20 years ago, with report cases rising fast since 1980. Thin line stands be good intentions. Some of these hazing situations are embarrassing, hurtful and hateful to the teammates thus destroying the lives of these athletes all over the country.

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Just Part of the Game

Attention from researchers that aggression and violent occurrences of rage during sporting events or recreational events brought about the need to research on these behaviors and attitudes, in their opinion, they argue that aggressiveness and violent behaviors are almost unavoidable. These, therefore, raised the need to understand whether aggression and violence during the sporting events is part of the game. The use of violence and a considerable amount of controlled aggression has often been used as a tool to winning competitions, in a way; aggression defines your toughness in the game (the image of the aggressive dominant player) on the other hand spectators seem to support this in the social facilitation thus rewarding violent acts, entertainment and justifiable occurrences. Sports researchers have finally concluded that the socialization experiences of players in many sporting events include violent tactics as part of the game.

Initially aggression and controlled violence in sporting events was seen as a health factor or component in the sport. In fact, aggression and violent behavior was advantageous and rewarding to the program than harmful or in other words, it was never a problem that needed correction. According to the “Catharsis notion” aggressive sporting was a way of letting off steam, therefore positive to the health and also enables the individuals to be able to control their behavior. According to Freud, 1933 who was a social psychologist, he believed that sports could be a way of relieving emotions. Boxing and violent sports were idealized as a way of men relieving their emotions thus allowing them to be able to recreate and be healthy. Further, Psychoanalytic theorists believed that sporting activities or recreational events should discharge aggressive impulses in socially acceptable manner. The benefits to the athletes and players outweigh the injuries experienced in a sports setting than in real life situations. Administrators in the sporting fraternity will argue that a broken leg from his cheap shot in a basketball game is worth letting go than build up anger in him until the next day when he uses a machine gun on the subway, shooting and killing a dozen civilians.

Towards the end of 1970, social psychologist researchers differed with this belief. Quanty and Brokowitz, they realized that aggressive sports did not relieve the aggression in the players. They noted that aggressive behavior only led to increased aggressive behavior in their studies. To support their study, they pointed out that athletes were role models in the society, community and even the whole world; therefore, fans imitated their aggressiveness thus encouraging the aggressive behavior and attitudes every time sporting events are in session, many behavioral trends will have significant crossover into similar sporting events, especially when the teams have so many cultural believes, teaching of aggressive behavior in sporting events could have a negative impact than good.

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Sometimes highly aggressive players are lucky in the contest as their aggressive behavior scares the opponents from putting up with the aggressive spirit, therefore enabling them to achieve more athletic success against the opponent who may seems to change his will to compete. Batters hit in pitches, fights in hockey fields and near-fatal matches of hand to hand combat are examples of games that support violence in sports. The intimidation and power exuded instills fear to weaker opponents, if these displays are made acceptable on the field by the athletes, if replicated in real life situations, the consequences may carry severe measures in our daily lives.

Recreational and sports share almost similar concepts and roots with competitive sports, the young and growing athletes will only realize their talent through recreational sports to be able to compete in the most competitive arena, if these aggressive and violent behaviors are upheld, the behaviors are likely to evolve and replicate. The people and community that have stake in the program of aggressive and violent behavior that result to sports rage are due to be affected physically, verbally or emotionally. If sport is not controlled by rules and policies that govern the mode of playing then playing can only be for the strongest (survival of the strongest), if completion is the goal of the participants, their adversarial behavior will lead them to triumph over the lesser opponents in the competition and gain success other than sports skills and ethical play in the pitch or field of play. When fear and anxiety are involved, then the players ability of skill is threatened making them lesser inclined or retreat in the future sessions


Sports should be designed to be open and fair to all participants or individuals, if a particular group/opponent is missing out on the benefit of sports because of fear or intimidation of sports violence, then the game is not fair to a democratic competition. The environment should be safe for the participants to be able to compete at the same platform. However, some degree of aggressiveness may appear to be necessary so long as it does not in any way interfere with fair competition. Both the players and the spectators should learn the right lessons so as to encourage fair completion as a means of curtailing violence, excessive concerns with winning and dominance

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