The Influence of Violence in Sports
Sports are an important part of our world. Take a look at any newspaper, listen to any radio, or watch TV for any length of time and there will surely be some sports information that is being passed along. The fact that sports figures get paid salaries that teachers can only dream about lets us know where our priorities lie in this society. Sports consume a lot of our time and energy, and because of this, they have great influence in our culture.
Because sports news and sports figures are constantly in the news, sports reflect our values. We are living in a society that is filled with violence. Many adults choose to solve their problems in violent ways. When the stress of life becomes too much, or events at work or home are not going their way, they turn to violence to help them feel better. We hear the stories all the time on the news: the unhappy postal worker who lashes out at co-workers with a gun; the rejected husband or suitor who beat up or kill their girl friends or wives; or even the angry employee who has been let go and takes his frustrations out on innocent passers-by.
It is conceivable that many people get their ideas of physical revenge from watching or listening to sporting events. There are many sports, such as football and wrestling, that feature body contact as an integral part of their program. Fans further encourage violence by cheering players who resort to violence when plays do not go players' ways. The crowd's behavior in turn encourages athletes to fight and show off because the cheers and boos of a crowd create excitement and drama. Attendance soars at games with players who are prone to violent outbursts. Referees often "look the other way" when such players are involved because they know that such violent antics are good for the sports business. As a result, athletes will try and get away with grossly outrageous and dangerous plays since they know they might be able to get away with such behavior. Playing fair does is nice but it does not sell tickets. Note the popularity of a Dennis Rodman during his heyday as a player for the Chicago Bulls. At one point he physically hurt a cameraman. Dennis was given a slap on the hand, a fine and some suspended days, but he was not permanently expelled from the game. Hockey is another sport that is well known for the violence of its players. Fans revel in the violence of the sport. Players are specifically hired to act as "goons" or "enforcers". Players who commit a violent act have to sit in a penalty box, but the cheers and enthusiasm of fans upon witnessing the violent plans ensure that such plays are destined to be repeated.
Having gone through both elementary and middle school, we have all run into peers who spent a lot of time and energy trying to act like the most popular athlete in any given time period. Kids often try to imitate controversial athletes to bring attention to themselves. Such behavior can bring popularity to a...