The Cause Of Violence In Sports?

“Of 69,732 fans at this month’s Oakland Raiders-San Francisco 49ers NFL game, 70 were ejected from Candlestick Park, 12 were arrested, two were shot in the parking lot — and one was savagely beaten in a restroom.”

That from Tuesday’s USA Today sports cover section cover story written by Robert Klemko. Those aren’t great statistics. Worse when you consider it was an exhibition football game. Can you imagine what will happen when the games mean something?

The article provides a couple of reasons why things have gotten out of hand when it comes to violence at sporting events. I’m curious, given the potential reasons in the article what your thoughts are. Here is what was presented:

“The viciousness, the escalation of the violence is what is so striking,” said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based SportsCorp, a sports business consulting firm. “It’s escalated, perhaps, as a reflection of society.”

Is this a reflection of society? I guess if you look at events like the Olympics or the G summit in Toronto it is. Is sports once again just another reflection of modern day society?

Rivalries taken too seriously?

“It derives from proximity,” says Andrei S. Markovits, professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. “Civil wars have been shown to have much higher casualty rates than non-civil wars.”

That doesn’t seem to explain the riots in Vancouver does it?

“Add in tailgating and the accompanying uninhibited alcohol consumption and incidents can happen.”

Booze. Yes, there does seem to be one common theme doesn’t there……

Are we all just a bunch of followers?

“Negative actions can become viral when one event — a limited act of violence occurs in the stands — triggers similar events in other areas of the crowd,” said Don Forsyth, professor of social psychology at the University of Richmond who has written extensively on fan behavior.”

All of the recent examples occur en masse. It’s not one idiot going nuts. It’s the proverbial ship of fools.

It’s the economy stupid???

“”Fans have been priced out of going to the games,” said Ken Reed, sports policy director of Ralph Nader’s League of Fans, “So in order to get some of the fan experience they tailgate and party the whole game, and some of the incidents in the parking lot can be attributed to just fans that haven’t even gone into the games.”

Is this really the reason? Can it be?

What do think has caused the pathetic rise in violence at sporting events? Why are live events no longer safe to attend? The USA Today article does a great job talking about the issue. I would love to hear what people think, you too MSMers who read this blog. What are the causes behind what appears to be a problem that is getting out of hand?

You can read the rest of the USA today story here

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August 31, 2011 1:45 am

It can’t be the price. Fan violence happens at CFL games. Ask Argo fans what it’s like going to a game in Hamilton. (I don’t, any more. Too risky.)

Busyfists
Busyfists
August 31, 2011 1:55 am

So theres above average violence at a 49ers/Raiders game and at a Dodgers/Giants game, so now it’s not safe to attend live sporting events. Right.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
August 31, 2011 8:05 am

i’ll let the resident sociologists comment on potential correlations, but i would just point out that with the advent of cell phone cameras and youtube it’s much more easy to document fan on fan violence than it has ever been.

this leads me to wonder if there is an increase in actual violence or just an increase in its visibility.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
August 31, 2011 9:57 am

From what I have read SanFran/Oakland games have been dicey for years. Have to wonder about Mike in Boston’s point, that now everything is getting publicized. (Not trying to trivialize fact someone was shot and beaten badly).

I myself have been to many College and Pro games and have learned that certain parks your behaviour has to be extremely cautionary. I am not ready to lump all society as guilty of this, but it seems certain parks with certain fans have earned their reputation. I avoid those parks.

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