Buried, stuffed, walloped! Do you recognize these words anywhere? You may here a football commentator stating these words when there is a fight. In fact, many sports commentators would replay the scenes and enthusiastically describe the scenes over and over again.
Research has been extensively done on this topic. The debate surrounding the research related to whether fans incite player violence or reflect it. The evidence of course was inconclusive; however, we know that group solidarity is a part of sports. Spectators will always show solidarity with their favourite team, viewing the opposing team as enemy and fostering hostility towards the out-group.
The question still remains: how is violence and aggression portrayed in sports? Is it being rewarded? Let’s look at the theory behind why this is what indeed happened.
1. Biological Theory:
This theory was proposed by Konrad Lorenz. The aggression is seen as a basic human characteristic. It is socially acceptable way to discharge an accrual of aggression. I don’t think this is always the case, as was apparent at Bertuzzi case. Tie Domi is another case, but that did not prevent him from playing. Domi was seen showing aggression not only to fellow team members, but to spectators as well. He received a slap on the wrist for pouring water on a spectator’s head for heckling.
2. Psychological Theory:
This theory states that aggression is caused by frustration. Goals are blocked and sports players are unable to achieve their objectives. Many times, frustration is aimed at officials because of their decisions or lack of decisions. Injuries that interfere with performances and taunts also may cause frustration.
3. Social Learning Theory:
This is the theory with the most empirical data and verification. The behaviour is learned through modeling and is reinforced by rewards and punishments. Young athletes see sports players as role models and attempt to imitate their behaviours. This is more than the case with wrestling, where kids have tried to mimic the moves scene on scene. One should also further examine the Bobo Doll experiment by Albert Bandura to better comprehend the learning process.
4. Hellstedt theory:
Hellstedt believes that negative outcomes of sports involvement are usually caused by parents and coaches. Rewards are only given if the team wins. This is not correct as all games should be non-competitive until the learning has at least somewhat matured.
5. Media Impact:
Media is not the innocent bystander in all this. In fact they play an enormous role in promoting today’s violence in sports. They mainly look out for the entertainment needs of the spectators and sports fans. The example used to further prove the legitimacy of this argument is the nightly telecasts sports news. Telecasters highlight the daily scores and recognize the scuffles that may have occurred in the game.