Deviance in Sports

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Zachary Pupo
Professor Weis
28 May 2009
Sociology 222
Deviance in Sport
In this article, the sociologists attempt to research why there is a predisposition for some professional NFL football players to fall into deviant and sometimes illegal behavior despite their economic well-being. It also shines light on the impact these players have on the youth of the nation in terms of role models. Initial assumptions raise the idea that these athletes transition far too quickly from college life to full blown professionals and are unable to handle the pressures that come with this transition. The study takes into consideration three important sociological research issues: Hirschi's social control, Vaux's social support, and Durkheim's anomie. However, the social control and social support theories can be grouped under the anomie theory. Essentially, anomie reflects how sudden economic changes and subsequent loss of social bonds affects people. This issue is important for examining professional football players who have come into sudden wealth. The study was done by examining 104 former and current NFL players from 2001-2005 and from six different states. The interview structure was one-on-one, phone, or group interviews, as well as a questionnaire. This structure provided for both qualitative and quantitative data. The study revealed that deviance was created through the stresses life change of college to the NFL. With this change came the high increase of wealth which provided the opportunity for many players to pursue limitless behaviors and activities they originally could not. Numerous players reported that their newly established social environment encouraged and reinforced meaningless self-gratifying consumption. As a result, "this social context laid the foundation for their individually destructive behaviors." (Carter & Carter 253). The study also revealed that the athletes who were able to integrate into regulated social networks were the...
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