Correlation in Media Coverage of Sports and the Acceptance of Violence by Spectators and Competitors

Correlation in Media Coverage of Sports and the Acceptance of Violence by Spectators and Competitors

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Hard checks, high-impact hits, rough blows, knockouts, crushing tackles; some violence occurs naturally in some sports. Those naturally violent sports (e.g., football, hockey, soccer, wrestling, and boxing) with all that aggression and violence excites audiences and enhance enjoyment. However, aggression and violence in sporting competitions are clearly becoming an issue. Destructive aggression is often deliberate and frequently encouraged by coaches, spectators, and teammates. This aggression in becoming increasing accepted by the public and ever popular in today’s sporting events. Michael Strahan a player in the NFL said in 2007 that, “It’s the most perfect feeling in the world to know you’ve hit a guy just right, that you’ve maximized the physical pain he can feel….. You feel the life just go out of him. You’ve taken all this man’s energy and just dominated him” (Coakley, 2008). Clearly, Strahan’s words show the acceptance of aggressive behavior and even glorify this aggression.
Introduction to the Problem
History of Violence in Sports
Many of the games we play today is of ancient origin and even then provided mass entertainment of fans. In the beginning, ancient sports like the Olympic Games started out as rituals to honor gods or a leader and later developed into public events with festivals that surrounded the games (Jewell, Moti, & Coates, 2012). Today festivals are still seen during the Olympics Games, pre-game and post-game activities are held for NFL games, and fan’s host parties on game day surrounding favorite sporting events. Interesting, ancient sporting events began as a way to help individuals prepare for warfare. Individuals in ancient spots competed to help prepare themselves for military fighting, t...


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...ent behavior in order to win the game. Whereas, “sports violence can be seen as either an example of laudable competitive drive present in worthy participates or an underhanded attempts at rule bending” (Raney & Depalma, 2006). Moreover, decades of media exposure may have led to an increase in the acceptance of violence. Is media coverage exploiting sports violence and aggression for ratings? It’s unclear if fans are becoming desensitized and/or imitating the violence witnessed through the medium of media. Regardless, it’s abundantly clear the changes need to be made in light of the negative effects. Identifying and examining media’s role in the public’s acceptance of aggressive behavior in sports may aid society in minimizing the violence and aggression as much as possible surrounding sporting events to make sporting events safer for both players and fans.

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