ViolenceWith 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
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
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
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. 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.
Aberdeen, R. (1995, Mar.). Participant observation and research into football hooliganism:
Reflections on the problems of entree and everyday risks. Sociology of Sport Journal
Family Violence Prevention Fund. Calling foul: Sports and domestic violence.
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.
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
Snyder, E. E., ; Spreitzer, E. A. (1983). Social aspects of sport. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.:
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.