For many people, athletics has served as a powerful positive force in their lives. Parents who encourage their kids to take up sports, for example, do it in the hope that the sport they engage in will be beneficial to them in the end. Nevertheless, there are significant challenges that come along with sports. The most common include criminal activity among players and violence among spectators and fans in general. Both of these issues have continuously posed great threats to the dignity that sport was meant to have. There is a need to go through all the essentials of our main form of leisure. There is a need to reverse it to the highly respected activity it was. This paper details how violence and criminal activity have played degrading roles as regards to sports.
Since the early 1900s, professional sports have become popular as the perfect choice of entertainment for many Americans. While employment and production in the U.S. manufacturing and service industries fluctuated during the business cycles that occurred between 1900 and 1950, American professional sports leagues tended to flourish. The activity has become extremely deep-rooted in more countries and regions such that many sports lovers proudly idolize ballplayers and track athletes for their persistent hustle and unique athleticism. Some fans even go as far as trying to emulate the sporting moves of their favorite athletes such as the famous home run swing of San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, the thunderous dunk of Lakers center Shaquille ONeal, and the pinpoint passes of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Others collect sports cards and exchange them before hosting tallage parties before and after home games. They manage teams in fantasy sports, participate in local campaigns, and convince voters to adopt stadium referendums, and watch sports channels at sports bars. Consequently, professional team sports become a frequent and significant leisure activity for a vast segment of the U.S. population.
Throughout the last few years, the sports coverage has mainly constituted crimes committed by athletes or disorderly fans. This type of media coverage has ensured that sports have dominated many conversations across the country and the rest of the world. It is not a surprise that polls have also indicated that during the same time, crime has been the most popular subject of the media. The once irrelevant and not so fan-filled sports page have now turned into a crime reports page. It is now much easier to turn the paper and begin with the sports page because its stories have become juicier with time. And since it is the duty of the press to express themselves freely, one need only open the newspaper to read about the Barry Bonds steroids debate, Michael Vicks dogfighting conviction or the fan and player fight during the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers basketball game. Athletics have always held a special place in many communities all across the country. As a result, it is now a proven fact that influence on athletic behavior begins in high school. Towns continuously support athletic programs through fundraisers, rallies, and event attendance. This is clearly evident since currently, nothing is much more important to the American people than their weekend soccer events, Friday night football games in high school, or the many baseball tournaments.
The community has long been speaking of teamwork, competition, and fitness to their sons and daughters but this positivity has only brought with it darker sides to the sporting world. Are the stories in the paper an anomaly or is there something inherent in some sports or team that encourages criminal behavior? Despite the overemphasis on high school sports, athletes tend to maintain their special place in society even after joining college. They are supposed to develop some responsibility for their behavior and look towards the future while at this stage. However, for many, the sense of entitlement that begun earlier on in high school remains with them even in college. This sense of privilege is only prone to misuse given that the athletes have now acquired a greater sense of freedom and access to alcohol and drugs. There are numerous examples of big-time college football and basketball programs that have looked the other way regarding their athletes criminal behavior.
The spotlight presents itself in greater ways when these athletes join professional rankings. With increased money and fame, any criminal violations by professional athletes receive increased media attention. The heightened fan base creates increased media attention as hardworking journalists look to expose such athletes for whom they are. Recently, for instance, there has been an increase in the number of professional athletes responsible for committing crimes, especially within the NBA and NFL leagues. There has been extensive discussion of criminal activities such as drug use, violent, and sexual offenses. Drug use, especially steroid use has remained the leading criminal activity among athletes. The criminal component to the steroid issue has been largely ignored in the press, with most of the discussion focusing on how it affects the athletes performance. Examples of athletes who have been accused of steroid use include Michael Vick, Adam Jones, and Barry Bonds.
The second activity that has greatly connected sports and crime is spectator violence at many games. Spectator violence is an activity, which can take many forms. Normally, it constitutes throwing items such as bottles onto the field, attacking individual players during sporting events, and participating in riots after games. The regions that have suffered greatly from spectator violence are Europe and South America. The violence in the United States is not that parallel especially since soccer ignited the highest percentage of spectator violence. Despite this, however, there have been significant and unfortunate incidents within the United States. A perfect example of such an incident is the brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons that spilled into the crowd. Apart from the violence, spectator violence has raised much more issues such as security and excessive alcohol use at sporting events. The effect of watching games does extend beyond the fans present at the game to those outside and those watching from home. Many business-minded persons have exploited such persons through tempting activities such as gambling, which also constitutes crimes associated with sports. Also, many fans, especially those watching games from their homes end up committing suicide because of similar reasons such as loss of matches and gambling bets.
There are legal and illegal forms of gambling. Despite this knowledge, many states look towards the brighter side of gambling as a guaranteed revenue generator. It's darker side includes increased crime rates and addiction to gambling. At the same time, gambling has exposed what takes place within the world of sports. The most common activity associated with gambling is match fixing. Of late, this illegal activity has spread to events such as the world cup and horse track racing. Former football player Steve Atkins said I knew I did something wrong. I did not want the NCAA to do something to Maryland, but I just needed some money to pay some bills. This statement illustrates how the illegal activity has spread into the championship that is more competitive tournaments such football, rugby, and soccer. There is an evident force within the helm of sports that refuses to submit to the provisions of the law. The reason is not that there are insufficient law enforcers; it is because the law enforcers have turned into the employees of those responsible for fixing matches.
These perspectives show how the current issues in the sport have grown out of a long history of sport being intricately integrated with cultural practices, economics, and dominant ideologies. The press has succeeded in one way for exposing these rampant activities. However, it has become clear that there is no one intent on transforming the governance of sporting organizations because the chance to make more money has always been an option for the normal man. Despite the discreetness the relevant authorities practice, there are some games, which made history for being unmasked as fixed. The 1918 Black Sox scandal and the Boston College basketball point flaking scandal perfectly illustrate sports fixing activities. Former NFL player Greg Hill revealed why some athletes take benefits from people such as their agents. The guys accepting pay or the guys who want to take pay, that mainly falls on you guys the NCAA.
Although people accept sport as a business, in general, many people still do not that it is entirely right to for someone to receive great wealth just for playing games. Also, there is also a related view that star athletes with highly visible positions in sports have a duty to serve as role models. This kind of views towards the lifestyles of athletes have ignited added violent activities related to sports. In 1992, there were riots in the city of Los Angeles which ignited public discussion into the role athletes should play when violence erupts in any city in America. A significant number of people highly criticized the small role that athletes were left to play. Indeed, what were they to do? Does help stop the violence? Use their station in life to establish themselves as role models? Calm the citizens in the communities that were confronted with urban unrest? Athletes have gained increased social responsibilities with their new found wealth. The message that citizens try to put across in such riots is that athletes should live up to their positions as role models and justify the humongous salaries they receive. However, Paying college athletes for their on-field performances is a tradition that dates back to the late nineteenth century in the United States when football teams utilized the services of seasoned "tramp" players, who moved from school to school under the guise of academic transfer whenever the offered price seemed attractive enough. Memories of past celebrity athletes such as Ted Williams and Joe Louis illustrate the kind of commitment current athletes should possess.
Athletes are noticeably absent from crowds of individuals who attempt to quell violence in cities within America and other countries. During the violence in Los Angeles, for example, residents were of the view that the athletes were role models in the community hence they would be right to consider the views of their audience. However, according to athletes, there is need to consider that most of them are just amateurs trying to make it. This is my arena. I guess they could grab a broom, but there are two things we need. Technical expertise and capital. Anything other than that, according to former athlete Williams would inhibit the prosperity of any athlete. However, for the good of the society, athletes who use illegal drugs should not be permitted to participate in sport because they would send a wrong message to the youth and children.
There are. However, significant benefits attributed to sports membership such as exercise, competitiveness, character building, and social building. The most essential and basic benefit above all has been keeping kids off the streets. Constructive sporting activities such as basketball programs overnight help in eliminating idleness among the youth and hence keep them from engaging in crime activities during peak hours. Also, sports have also served many inmates because they are an outlet for aggression. Correction officials argue that sports are essential to maintaining a secure prison, serving as one of the few rewards that can be taken away from inmates, and helping to keep health care costs for in...
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