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Deviance in Sports: Four Categories of Violence

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March 8th, 2004 was supposed to be nothing more than a competitive and action packed regular season hockey game between feuding rivals, the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks. The game slipped away from the Canucks, with the Avalanche up 6-2 heading into the third period. The heated contested already had its fair share of fighting majors, but an incident that happened late in the third period shocked the more than 18,000 fans in attendance at Rogers Arena, the hockey community, and North America. After failing to instigate a fight with Avalanche forward Steve Moore, Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks grabbed the back of Moore’s jersey, landed a vicious punch to the back of Moore’s head, before slamming him face first on the ice and falling on top of him. Moore had to be helped off the ice on a stretcher, and has never returned to the NHL. Bertuzzi, on the other hand, was suspended for 20 games by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and is still playing in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings. This is one of many examples of deviance in sports, and how a win-at-all costs mentality can drive athletes to act in extreme manners. As a result of the growing commercialization of sports, athletes are socialized at young ages to believe that winning is everything, and that stopping at nothing will help you succeed. Athletes will do almost anything to gain the upper hand in their respective sports, whether it is through engaging in excessive on-field violence or through the use of performance enhancing drugs, excessively committing themselves to their sport, or by violating league rules and policies. In sports, deviance is viewed in a different light than in the outside world. As professional athletes strive towards conforming to spor...

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