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darkskywatcher

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I'm going to rant about nothing important for a while, k? [May. 9th, 2007|05:10 am]
darkskywatcher
And as such, I shall cut.

In the wee hours of this morning I was watching Frontline, specifically a show about juvenille justice in Colorado. One of the last bits I got to watch before doing more work was an interview with the mother of a victim of juvenille crime. Something she said struck me to the extent that I feel the need to comment on it here. Now, in doing so, I want make absolutely clear that I am absolutely not trying to belitte her, or in any way lessen the nightmare she must have gone through. In fact, I'm going to talk about her situation at all(I didn't see the end of her segment, so I don't feel like I have enough informatino to form a valid opinion).

She was describing her son, and this is what she said: "He was always into sports. I never had to worry about him watching anything violent on television because it was always turned to sports while he was watching." This was interspersed with photos of the kid in his youth football uniform.

Huh? How ignorant do you have to be to make the claim that sports are non-violent?

This is especially silly when you consider the notable inclusion of football, which is almost certainly the most violent major sport. At a very basic level, the sole purpose of almost half a football team is to hit somebody else as hard as they can. Players effectively have to wear armor on the field. Players have to face the realistic possibility every time they go on the field that they could require surgery as a result of playing.

Now, I'm sure that she would claim that there is a big difference between sports violence and real life violence. And on the face of it, that does make sense. But the unfortunate truth is that that separation is less absolute than anyone might like. Football players have more than their fair share of run-ins with the law. In fact, these days the NFL is doing a very public push to crack down on its worst offenders, because there have been some very scary incidents with players doing things like, say, waving a gun around outside a nightclub. It would seem that even those that play at the highest level, and who literally have millions to lose for misbehaving in public, are still often unable to control themselves.

Now, does that mean I think we should ban football, or for that matter change the game to make it less violent? No. I, like millions of Americans, love the game as it is (though I do think toughening conduct standards is a good idea). But I also think we need to be realistic about how violent football is, and how it teaches aggressiveness as a necessary part of that. The players already know this, I am almost certain. But it's something fans need to understand if they are properly going to evaluate the game and it's effects.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: suburbaknght
2007-05-09 02:10 pm (UTC)
I would argue that boxing or mixed martial arts are the most violent sports. In football violence is an inextricable part of the game, but it's till incidental. In fight sports violence is the whole point.
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[User Picture]From: lerite
2007-05-09 05:35 pm (UTC)
But because the violence is explicit, fight sports deal with it explicitly with standards of conduct and use of physical prowess that contact sports don't.
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2007-05-10 01:44 am (UTC)
Hmm.

In so far as these are sports, you are correct.

However, I would point out that neither of these, especially at a spectator level, is anywhere near the popularity of football in this country, and that I did specify "major" sport.

Zee is also correct, I don't think the mother would make the mistake with martial arts that she did with football.
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[User Picture]From: thegelf
2007-05-09 09:53 pm (UTC)
Hockey has violence integrated into the sport in similar ways. Penalties aren't for hits, penalties are for hits that were "too rough" or "unfair."
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[User Picture]From: darkskywatcher
2007-05-10 01:41 am (UTC)
I know. Hell, in Hockey players even have an informal code of conduct for how fights should be conducted.

I used football because there was a clear connection between it and the quote, while there wasn't with hockey.

That Football is my #1 favorite sport, while hockey is my #2 favorite, also might have contributed.
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[User Picture]From: thegelf
2007-05-13 03:31 am (UTC)
ME LIKE HOCKEY!

::grin::
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