Marriage and Divorce in the Sports Industry – Winning or Losing?

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Marriage and Divorce in the Sports Industry – Winning or Losing? Brian Morgan
Liberty University
CCOU 301 Christian Counseling for Marriage & Family

Abstract
This paper will examine the question: Marriage and divorce in the sports industry – winning or losing? More and more common are discussions of divorce and increased divorce rates in modern society. This has been and continues to be a focus of public attention and discussions in all mass media. As a serious social problem, divorces cause numerous effects on our social life, especially on a modern, younger generation. No other category of society has the everyday influence on so many as does sports. Media coverage places athletes and coaches in a constant spotlight for all to see. Through various sources from various sports, this paper examines the following aspects of divorce in sports: who it affects, what makes athletes’ and coaches’ marriages different, and in what ways their marriages are like any others. Because of the high profile of sports personalities, a generation is being molded by their behaviors, both positively and negatively.

Marriage and Divorce in the Sports Industry –Winning or Losing? Obviously, the life of a professional athlete is a dream for many little boys and girls out there who think of spending the millions of dollars they will make, the type of expensive car they drive, how big their house will be, and of course what the man or woman of their dreams they settle down with will be like. The typical athlete enters the professional ranks at 20-years-old, and purchases the items listed above and then attempts to fulfill those initial material desires. After finding themselves rich, young and desirable—all certainly attributes that lend themselves to tugging on a mate’s heartstrings—it’s only natural that wedding bells are the next progression as that rookie contract is running out and free agency looms like holy matrimony. With the final announcement of “I now pronounce you man and wife,” both parties seem unaware that an athlete or coach is married to his or her sport first and shares what’s left of life with his or her spouse. Who It Affects

Has society finally reached the tipping point where divorce is more prevalent than successful marriage? Unfortunately, it seems this has become the case with regard to professional athletes. Reports say a common estimate of the divorce rate for pro athletes ranges from 60-80 percent (Kreidler, 2010). Professional athletes Michael Jordan , Lance Armstrong, Dion Sanders, Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi , and Mike Tyson are not only linked by successful sports careers but also by failed marriages. Divorce among professional athletes is not limited to a single sport in particular, as those previously named represent basketball, cycling, boxing, golf, tennis, and baseball. In addition, coaches aren’t immune to the same struggles in a study conducted by Charles Fisher, on the divorce rates among Divisions I, II, and III head basketball coaches, Fisher found that the average rate among coaches was 29% (Fisher, 2006). Additionally, these athletes serve as American icons and role models for the everyday citizen. All are also listed in Bleacher reports list of “The 100 Most Charismatic Athletes of All Time” posted on May 10, 2012 (Wood, 2012). Popularity leads to a fan following or a role model perspective and the sports business means many different things to different people. Sports and their so called “superstars” stir up deep passions within spectators and players alike in many countries around the world. A reasonable estimate of the total U.S. sports market would be $400 to $435 billion yearly (Plunkett Research, 2012). Universities, it seems, have taken a more liberal stance on hiring coaches with past marital issues. According to a recent New York Times article, athletic directors make little to no distinction...
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