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The Seriously Angry Fan Essay

1476 words - 6 pages

On November 20, 2004 American basketball fans witnessed something shocking when they watched as Ron Artest, a member of the Indiana Pacers basketball team, went into the stands and punched a fan who had thrown a cup at the player. What proceeded was a small riot between fans and players. After security and NBA officials retained the situation, not much damage was done except for a few arrests and suspensions (CNN). This was not a common situation for the NBA to be subject, and many fans were outraged by what they had seen. Many Americans do not know what a real fan riot is, and many will never see how a simple game can turn into a full scale war between fans, police officials and players. One particular incident (involving football) was when the South African club the Orlando Pirates played the Kaizer Chiefs in Johannesburg on April 11, 2001. After the game was tied at 1-1 late in the second half, 15,000 chief's fans rushed into the stadium, breaking down the metal gate and virtually attacking all those in favor of the Orlando Pirates. After only 15 minutes of rioting, 43 people were found dead and hundreds injured as the stadium collapsed on them (Maxim). This type of violence makes people uneasy about the degree of, what experts call "fandemonium," that has plagued the world football industry for the past three decades. Unfortunately people cannot come to concrete conclusions towards why people are resorting to violence over a mere football game, and many government officials are loosing sleep trying to prevent such massacres. Why do football fans riot and take the game so seriously? Further analysis will show the coercion of football fans, the degree of rioting and steps in preventing what has become mass genocide. Although certain football fans may be regarded as insane, expert Stephan Cohen author of Images of Deviance states, "most people are predominately good societal individuals when viewing a football match, it is when they are pressured into the deviancy that excites them" (Cohen 11). This peer-pressure assumption is a classic belief to why most people act in certain deviant ways. People generally want to feel accepted and in the world of sports, being a fan of a certain team is one way to do so. However what has started out as basic team supporting has turned into "Football Hooliganism." Football Hooliganism is a term that has been coined for individuals who are a part of a certain group (usually a similar fan base) who voluntarily engage themselves in violent actions towards other groups of the same level. Hooliganism was started in the late seventies with fans of a certain team banning together to start trouble with the fans of a rival football club (Football). During this time the world saw dozens of incidents where fans across Europe, South America, China, Iran, and Australia, engaged in hooliganism, which virtually started every riot and incident possible. The degree of violence amongst these football incidents have ranged...

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