Fan Aggression in Sport

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Fan Aggression in Sport
Sport involvement, whether it is being a participant or a spectator, is often viewed as a positive experience. Sometimes, these experiences can come with violent behavior, particularly expressed by the fans of that sport. Statistics have shown that nearly 96 % of the people polled have stated that they have been involved in sports where aggression occurs either through participation (player aggression) or through spectator violence (Branscombe & Wann, 1992). According to Daniel Wann (2005), a sport psychologist at Murray State University, aggression is defined as the intension to physically, verbally, or psychologically harm a person who is motivated to abstain from such treatment. Fan aggression has become more of a concern in recent times not only because of the increase of occurrence, but also because of researchers’ interest in the subject. Fan aggression can include anything from fans at professional sporting events to parents at their children’s games. Different types of aggression are prevalent in sporting events, making it more common, as statistics show.

There are several factors that play into a person being identified as an aggressive fan. Numerous spectators are highly identified, which simply means that they have a psychological and/or emotional attachment to sport (Shank & Beasley, 1998). This can be the degree to which these individuals perceive that they are fans of the team, how highly they are believed to be involved with the team, and show that their team is a part of their social identity (Branscombe & Wann, 1992). In contrast, low-identified spectators are those who tend to separate themselves from their team when they lose verses, those who are highly identified that simply cannot withdraw their attachment from their team (Branscombe & Wann, 1992). In that scenario, it has been suggested that highly identified fans may resort to violence; the identity threat (loss of the game) is a blow to the fans’...
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