Violence in Sports

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In general, the society condemns all kinds of violence, but in sport violence is quite normal to a certain extent. If, for example, players verbally or physically attack the judge, he will not punish them for it in any way. The rules also require players not to injure each other during the games. However, the boundaries between valid and invalid actions are blurred.

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Four Types of Violence in Sports

The men’s passion to test their abilities against other people is in the heart of the increasing popularity of sports. This may be due to a desire to win, gain the upper hand over the other, and take the best place in the society. Today, sport performs a lot of different laudable and socially useful functions, but we should not forget the fact that it is largely based on rivalry between the parties. It should be mention that each type of competition to greater or lesser extent is based on aggression. This is particularly evident in the disciplines that cultivate direct confrontation between rivals. The presence of aggression in these cases contributes to the appearance of violence.

There are different forms of violence in sports. Canadian sociologist Mike Smith divides the sports violence in four types. Physical contact within the rules, which is not punishable (most of trainers push their sportsmen to such behavior). Violence on the brink of a foul (not allowed by the rules of physical contact, which is still common). An example of such kind of violence may be a spontaneous fight or attacks between players. Almost criminal attack (prohibited by law and the rules, rough deliberate errors that are strictly punished by fines and suspension from the games). Punished violent behavior by the criminal procedure (direct attacks of the opponent, completely ignoring the rules with the sole purpose to inflict harm).

There are such causes of violence in sports as prohibited doping, pressure for results, commercialization, which lead to situation when sport becomes a commodity. Tightening of sports, sports hooliganism, spectators corruption, dehumanization, depersonalization lead to an athlete becoming a commodity. Due to politicization sport becomes a tool of political struggle, deviation from the principles of fair play in favor of pragmatism, racism, immoral behavior of some sports champions, especially professionals.

If a player in American Football during the attack will knock someone down, breaking couple of his ribs and, at the same time, he contributes to causing a concussion or any other injury, it will be considered as normal because it helps the team win. People have got accustomed to the fact that it is part of the game such as football, hockey or others.

According to researcher on sports psychology, Aave Hannus, violence has really become a part of the sport. In psychology, sports violence is subdivided into two types: concomitant activities aggression and hostile aggression. The first of these gives the advantage to succeed, and hostile aggression means the infliction of physical or psychological injury to the opponent. Scientists have studied the situations in which the aggressive behavior appears. For example, in hockey with a significant loss in the last half rivals begin to cause pain purely out of frustration. If the gap is small, the violence and various illegal techniques are used in order to recoup.

According to psychologists, watching wrestling with violence helps fans to relieve stress. Ice hockey demonstrates this clearly - as soon as a fight breaks out, people stand up and applaud. Many sportsmen who deal with mixed martial arts admit that among the fans of this sport there are people who come just to see the blood. Some of those who are sitting in the office from eight to five really want to see as other people are being hurt. Some time ago we could hear the shouts from the stands, "Kill him!", or "Let him go!". This confirms that the athletes use violence not only to win but also to gain the public's attention.

In professional sports a lot of money is drawn, and, therefore, everyone wants to to sign a good contract and win at any cost. It also pushes people to violence. The more violence is shown to public, the more interested it becomes. This fact is supported by a research. “American football is so popular in the U.S. because there is a lot of violence”, said Todd Jewell, the researcher at the University of Texas in the television program Discovery News. “People like to watch big men cause each other pain”. The players of professional American League NFL with ten-year experience, Kristopher Rudy and Charles Jenkins, admitted after a career that rivals intentionally cause serious injuries to each other on the field. “My ankles are stretched, and I myself once tried to pull the opponent's arm from its socket. We are trained to carry an unprecedented pain and, in spite of her play again”, said Jenkins, adding, “But I do not blame anyone, I made ??millions and chose this way. This is - a sport of gladiators, and it can be very dangerous”.

Martial Arts

Many prejudiced people believe that martial arts are extremely traumatic and accompanied by violence. According to the psychologist Jorgen Mats, actually martial arts are very well regulated. Each of these rules is clearly describes what is possible to do, and what is not. Consequently, athletes, trying to reach the best result for them, understand that, in some kind, it may be accompanied by a danger of injury. Violence is peculiar initially to man, and everybody actually enjoys watching the violent clashes of the two fighters.

However, in the martial arts the risk of injury is obviously lower than in many other sports games. Here sportsmen are able to foresee the danger and try to avoid injuries, and in team sports dangerous situations arise unexpectedly. Despite this, it is worth paying attention to the influence of martial arts represented in television programs, their perception, interpretation and resolution of the permissibility of aggressive behavior. If aggressive model was encouraged to show the aggressive behavior, children who saw it were later more aggressive than children who have witnessed how the model was punished for the violent behavior. In this way, with the help of an example of mass media, violence penetrates far beyond sports.

Increasingly, the greatest responsibility for the aggression and cruelty of children researchers impose, actually, on TV. In addition, the technique of the Far Eastern martial arts woven into the fight scenes in different kinds of movies, such as action films, serves as a factor that attracts more viewers. It is necessary to once again pay attention to the fact that frequent viewing of films filled with violence or combat sports (especially contact) teaches aggressive behavior and makes the person use violence much more often in everyday life. Interest to the scenes of violence leads to a calm perception of these stimuli, and is the reason that a person considers aggression as something normal, acceptable, and that the result justifies its use. Violence in sports events has been observed at all times of the mankind existence.

Famous Gladiators’ fights clearly demonstrate the presence of violence in sports to meet the audience's thirst for spectacles just like in modern boxing, MMA and other martial arts. Boxers in the ring appear one by one, being direct opponents. They feel pain at risk of losing health. Maybe, in fact, this complicated and dangerous job that is closer to the gladiatorial battles, rather than to sports, leads to the fact that some boxers have no control over either their personal life (mentally, emotionally), or social life (compliance with social norms). Olive McCall finished a career under compulsory treatment as a drug addict. Similar problems with drugs had Pernell Whitaker, who never became a big star of American boxing. Canadian Davy Hilton was sentenced to 7 years in prison for abuse of underage girls. Steve Johnston has children from three women and was prosecuted for failure to pay child support. Famous boxing promoter Bob Arum was convicted of bribing members of the IBF. The question is what do those athletes cherish more in their life.


The more spectacular the battle is, the more delight it brings to the audience. Force and violence will always be a part of the mass culture of humanity, so it is very difficult and almost impossible to solve this problem. The cult of violence, struggle, and victory is an expression of primitive egoistic understanding of competition and rivalry or effect of orientation on the result (in politics, business or sports). That's why the complete eradication of this problem is impossible even in our time.

Of course, there are some ways to struggle with violence in sports, such as fines, suspension of players from games or competitions, suspension trainers from coaching experience or even criminal prosecution. However, all these ways of dealing with violence only punish but do not prevent the occurrence of this problem.