Sports and Violence (USA)

It had been reported by Time magazine that between 43 000 and 67 000 high-school football players suffer concussions each year and that may just be a mere understatement. Sports injuries cases are increasing and becoming more and more significant. The greatly mushrooming number of cases of sports injuries makes us question, is violence in sports inevitable?

Violence is a physical force which can inflict pain or harm when exerted to the involved parties. It seems that this act of aggression is becoming more and more prevalent in sports especially contact sports such as football, hockey and rugby etc. We shall categorise violence into different types: one which happens while the game is going on and the post-game violence.

The violence in the field shows great emphasis on the players’ desire to win or in another case, the playing teams’ way to gain fans. Many a time, the number of fans supporting a certain team is a representation of a team’s recognition and popularity among others. This indirectly means that the more fans the team has, the ‘better’ it is. Countless players tend to stray away from the true values and the meaning of the sport, and violence in this case shows the loss of sportsmanship. For example, when the first UFC began in 1993, it was meant to be a showcase for Brazilian-style jujitsu (a fighting style), but it quickly devolved into a circus. Wild audiences screamed for more violent drama. It seems the sport was more treasured for its dramatic actions instead of the actual sport value and these sportsmen may give the audience what they want to see just for the sake of gaining more fans.

Richard Lustberg, a journalist, teacher and creator of, says post-game violence is an outlet to unleash the rage. An incident during the game which may has displeased either of the parties can catalyze the rage. Violence may be a channel for players to display their resentment to another player of the opponent- intentionally or unintentionally. However, most violence occurred during the game are being fairly dealt with.
For example, in a baseball brawl, St. Louis Cardinal’s slugger, Tino Martinez was hit by a pitch from Arizona pitcher, Miguel Batista. After the play, Batista glared at Martinez as if to say, “I meant to do it.” A play later, as Martinez trotted off the field, he went after Batista and a brief bench-clearing brawl ensued.

At the same time, violence in sports does not just happen in America. Who can forget the infamous rugby match between St’ Andrew’s Secondary School and Anglo Chinese School (Independent), where a fight broke out right after a match? This happened here, in Singapore, or the ‘Zidane Headbutt’ incident during the 2006 World Cup Finals in Berlin. Apart from these two incidents, many other examples exist around the world and throughout history. Sport is something which can be found everywhere, it is like the sky, the land, the seas, and one cannot escape it. Neither can one escape the violence which is related to any sport. Violence in sport is therefore in evitable. It is correlated and can never be separated. To have a sport without violence means to have players who will never feel frustrated in a match, to be able to tolerate any insult and have enough self control to control their emotions. In other words, the player haws to be either a saint or a robot without a heart. Even then, one cannot say with hundred percent certainties that no violence will take place during a match.

Violence in sports is not new to us and is likely to continue on, however, the question is, whether we play sports for enjoyment and leisure; or for the glory of winning, will we do anything to succeed and emerge victorious, including resorting to violence?

Credits: 1.2.3.

By: Pang Yun Jing, Kyla Wong, Isaac Chong, Dorothea Leong and Phyllis Zhuang 10A06

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