From: Daniel Bennett
To: Ms. Beattie
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2007
As long as there have been sports, there has been violence in them. This violence affects our culture on multiple levels; it affects the development of youths, the general acceptance of violence and even has, on occasion, affected our systems of government. Violence is an escalating problem in sports and disciplinary changes need to be made to reach a solution. There needs to be rules in place inside of the league's governing body and laws for serious offences. Problems with violence in sports are also reaching areas off the playing field. Fan and parent violence are escalating problems as well. Fan and parent violence is where legal action needs to be taken most.
There are many causes of violence and reasons why it seems to explode during sporting events. The generally accepted reason for why sports are becoming more violent is that the drive to be a winner has become much stronger during the late 20th and now 21st centuries. Players are taught from a very young age to do anything to win. Intermittent explosive disorder helps to explain why athletes are predisposed to violent outbursts (Violence in Sports, 2006). When male athletes are competing in an active game their testosterone levels are very high. This, in some cases, is why athletes seem to "lose control" on the playing field. Recently, studies have shown that from contact sports such as football and ice hockey, traumatic brain injury may decrease an athlete's emotional control (Violence in Sports, 2006). Sporting arenas have been used as the stages upon which countries have attempted to settle disputes as well. A prime example of this is the 1972 summit series between Canada and the Soviet Union. People of North American countries viewed the battle between the two sides as the fight between democracy and communism. The most violent case involving sports in recorded history was the Nika riots. The riot or revolt took place in Constantinople in 532. The Nika riots, also known as the Nika revolt, left more than half the city burned down and over 30 000 people dead. The violence spurred from a controversial chariot-racing match between the two most influential teams of the Byzantine era the Blues and the Greens. One year earlier, several supporters were involved in a riot after a race and many were arrested for murder and were later hanged. However, two of these men escaped and barricaded themselves in the sanctuary of a church. The emperor Justinian declared that there would be another race on the 13th of January and the two men's sentences be switched to imprisonment. This was met with outrage from both Green and Blue supporters; they demanded full pardons for the escaped prisoners. During the races on the 13th, chants of the crowd turned away from the races and to the outrage with the emperor, and the crowd began to siege the palace. For 5 days the palace was under attack. In the end over 30 000 people were killed, and over half the city's buildings were burnt down or destroyed. The riots also lead to many senators attempting to overthrow the emperor. However after 5 days of rioting the army squashed the rioting. This is an example of how seriously people have always taken sports, even in ancient times, and how their influence can spread through an entire society and even lead to political riot with terrible consequences.
More recently problems with violence are occurring more seriously and frequently at minor sports events. However the children are not always the problem, more and more frequently it is the parents. On July 5, 2000, Thomas Junta, a six foot one, 270 pound truck driver was involved in two fights with six foot, 156 pound Michael Costin. Costin was the coach of Junta's son's hockey team in Reading, Massachusetts. The fights were apparently over Costin not playing...