Running head: SPORT VIOLENCE?

Violence is defined as “the use of excessive physical force, which causes or has obvious potential to cause harm or destruction.”(Mchill) Sport violence an issue or just part of the game? Where is the line drawn among players, fans, and media? With violence being so prominent in sports today the love of the game is being over shadowed by the need to win. Coaches, parents and players are being instructed to win at all cost, these tactics are then being glorified by the media and supported by the fans as good entertainment.

The top three issues involving sport violence is media portrayal, fan identity, and youth sport violence.

Media portrayal of sports violence is shown and read on every type of media outlet. Are the constant replays shown on ESPN of a player getting rocked in a game really necessary? Or how about the top ten worst hits? What type of message is this sending to young athletes? Media outlets are glamorizing athletes that are usually the aggressive and violent ones on a daily basis.

Yes, athletes are being penalized for these violent actions but being replayed on ESPN 15 times a day really sending a message that violence is a part of the sport and promoting violence to solve problems? On the other side of the argument, exposure to sports violence by the media has stimulated efforts to control and prevent behavior by multiple fines and penalties. Also a high school athlete being scouted for a college sport can utilize the media to showcase the player and give an advantage to be recruited to the team.

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Spectator violence is present in every level of sport. From youth sport to professional sport, spectators lose control of their emotions and commit acts of violence against players, coaches, officials, and other fans. There are several factors that lead spectators to commit acts of violence: strong team identification, strong team loyalty, alcohol, and situational variables such as a team loss or fans of opposing teams sitting in close proximity and instigating each other.

While the passion that spectators have for their team is a positive characteristic and it drives the success of the sport industry, the negative cost is that the passion can turn into criminal and deviant behavior which takes away from the enjoyment of the game and puts others at risk; endangering their right to enjoy watching a contest by having their safety jeopardized. However, all is not lost. There are policies and procedures that can be put in place to help curb spectator violence, but it takes a commitment from the top leaders of each individual sport organization to take a stand against such destructive behavior.

Youth sport violence is a growing concern for all involved. A large part of child development comes from the involvement in youth sport. The problem is what they are being taught from overzealous coaches and parents who push for the win at all cost. The youth are learning to use unnecessary roughness and poor sportsmanship with little repercussions. The parents and coaches are the largest issue because they providing poor examples for the children. The ethical issue becomes whether it is ethical to included additional rules to youth leagues. The solution developed is for stricter rules or more serious repercussions for coaches, parents, and players. These rules are in hopes that they will bring youth sports back to a positive atmosphere it was once created for, without parents and coaches influencing youth poorly.


Sport Violence in the 21st Century has become a major ethical issue. From the youth level to professional sports, fans, players, coaches, and media are guilty of contributing to this problem. Sport Violence is changing the way in which games are played, observed, and coached. Issues surrounding Sport Violence are not limited to the playing field but are spread throughout society. The major areas in which sport violence impact society are within the actual sport participants such as players and coaches; the media, and the spectators. One of the major issues is that sport violence is impacting the youth of America. The youth struggle to distinguish what they see on tv and what they are allowed to do themselves.

They see violence and think that that kind of behavior is appropriate so they behave similarly during their games and may coaches do anything to stop it. In fact, many coaches encourage violence and poor behavior with a Win At All Cost mentality. Some people hold sport media accountable for the growing issue of sport violence because the media tends to glamorize and glorify violence in sports. When there is a violent hit or a fight in a game, the media will continually show the incident from several angles. While the announcers might be discouraging the poor behavior, the production continues to show it again and again instead of cutting to commentary or a commercial. Another example of how media spreads sport violence is the Top 10 lists of biggest hits, hardest knock outs, or most bruising pitches.

The problem is that violence sells and the producers know it; which leads to another issue in sport violence: the spectators. Spectators love watching the violent hits and the hardest knockouts over and over. Just as a bad car wreck makes everyone stop and look, violence in sports catches people’s attention and invokes an emotional response. Therefore, the spectator’s response to the media is cyclical and they both drive each other. Additional concerns of spectators and sport violence is the emotional ties that individual’s feel to their team. This type of team identification can influence an individual to commit their own acts of violence if their team loses or if they feel threatened by a fan of another team. Spectator violence lives in youth sports, high school sports, collegiate sports, and professional sports. It’s negative influence is overreaching and permeating. Analysis and Discussion:

Are parents and coaches encouraging kids to use excessive force in sports in order to win games? Where is the line between a good play and unnecessary roughness? Violence in sports is a topic of many sport enthusiasts and is an even large concern when it involves youth sports. The issue is discovering what is causing sport violence in the youth. There are a many outlets that help influence excessive force, media coverage of professional sports, parents and coaches with a win at all cost mentally. Is violence in youth sport a result of sport being to competitive?

Youth sports were started to help develop children’s identity, physical skills, social skills, teamwork, and brain function. All the positive effects are true for youth sports if the focus is on developing children and not as much on the score of the game. While there is a place for competitive nature in youth sports it should not cause unnecessary roughness by the athletes.

Arthur-Banning cited scholars saying “youth sport can be used to promote lifelong physical activity and enjoyment of sport, but only if programs are specifically designed with this intent.”(Smith & Smoll, 1997; Weiss & Petlichkoff, 1989)(p.4). A large problem lies in adults who cannot put aside their desire to win and therefore get out-of-control. This includes yelling at the umpires, fighting with other parents, yelling at players, etc. When children observe this behavior they believe it is acceptable to do the same. This behavior then fosters more poor behavior for example, blaming others for their actions and not taking responsibility.

“The competitiveness permeating youth sports today often leads to exploding tempers, vile verbal assaults and sometimes fisticuffs, placing the child in the middle of the melee. Finding the balance between the positive and negative lessons that aggression teaches is the key, according to Tofler.”(Focus on Family, p. 4). It is parents and coaches job to groom well tempered athletes during their youth. In a study by Kerr explains four types of violence in sports which are important to be able to identify the difference between the in orders to determine the use of the violence. There is “play violence” which is just playful but is a concern when it escalates to “anger violence” which is serious anger that is unpleasant. The third is “Power violence with a serious purpose and tends to take the form of cold, calculated violence” this is an excepted form of violence in sports like boxing and karate but not football. In sports like football it would be unnecessary roughness.

The fourth type to be aware of is “thrill violence is usually provocative and spontaneous, providing pleasant high levels of felt arousal and felt negativism” (Kerr, 2009, p.45). If coaches and parents are aware of the type of violence the athlete is displaying they can take correct measures to prevent it from happening again. By having the adults support positive sportsmanship and punish or discourage poor sportsmanship it will teach the young athletes how to respond to different situations. The adults should focus on how to help their children control emotions during a game which will help the kids develop skills that can be used outside of sports, like conflict resolution. Ian Tofler, M.D. “says, for the most part, sports reflect society today. He asserts that the American way of life embraces assertiveness, aggression, but also resiliency.

Learning such attributes from sports is essential in teaching moral and ethical development.”(Focus on the Family, p. 4) Sport can be a positive part of children’s youth if done correctly. Youth sport administrators should ensure there are guides to support positive experiences for children in sports. To fix violence in youth sports additional rules may need to be in place for coaches and parents. Would it be ethical to put rules in place to give parents or coaches technical fouls based on their negative out bursts? Would it be ethical to eliminate athletes from a league for excessive use of roughness? Is it ethical to continue to allow youth violence in sport to occur with little repercussions?

The issue in question is whether it is ethical to make additional rules for youth sports to help prevent youth sport violence. These rules would be directed to parents, coaches, and athletes holding them more responsible for their actions. Cavanagh decision-making model will be used to decide the most ethical option.

Using the Utilitarian theory is the first step of the model. “The greatest good for the greatest number” (Cavanagh, p. 141). Facts that support more rules are; helps kids develop problem solving skills, develop sportsmanship, children staying safe, children will understand right from wrong, parents and coaches will be punished for acting out, and the youth games will be focus on learning instead of just winning.

The facts that go against more rules are; games are less competitive, could embarrass parents, coaches and parent do not give feedback positive or negative, and athlete fool around in the game. Overall the greatest good for the greatest number of people would be to instill additional rules. With additional rules it will teach children important life skills they can take with them in the future. For the parents and coaches they will begin to understand the game is for the kids to have fun and learn. Sports violence will go down because if things escalate out of control the parents, coaches, or athlete could be thrown out of the game or league. They all will understand that poor actions lead to repercussions and youth sports will be what it was designed for, education and fun.

The second step to the theory is Rights, “They enable individuals to pursue their own interests and they impose correlative prohibitions and/or requirements on others.”(Cavanagh, p. 142).The rights that are for additional rules for youth sports are; life and safety, truthfulness, freedom of conscience, right of autonomy and Privacy? The players, coaches, and parents have the right not to have their life or safety endangered at a youth sport event because of violence. Truthfulness supports the rules because other players and coaches have the right to know the intentions behind a play.

If the player was told to win the game at all cost the opposing team has the right to know the intention of foul play. Freedom of conscience supports the rules because if parents, coaches, or player’s choice not to adhere to the rules they will be asked to leave because they are violating the moral rules put in place. The right of autonomy side favors the rules because if the parents, coaches, or players do not like the added rules they can choice not to participate in the league. On the other hand the right of free speech, privacy, and autonomy go against the additional rules.

Parents and coach have the right to criticize conscientiously as long as it does not violate others, giving them the right to yell at players, coaches and officials at a game. Parents and coaches have the right of privacy to conduct their parenting or coaching style however they see fit. In conclusion the right that weighs the heaviest on this issue is the right to life and safety. The additional rules will keep parents, coaches, officials, and most important children safe during games. The most important thing in youth sports is education and fun, which mean unnecessary roughness or the winning at any means necessary does not have a place in youth sports.

The third ethical criteria for determining if additional rules should be put in place for youth sports, in order to limit youth sport violence is justice. “Justice requires all persons, and thus managers too, to be guided by fairness, equity, and impartiality.”(Cavanagh, p.144). The parts of justice that support the additional rules are fair administration, fair compensation, and fair treatment.

The administration will uphold the “rules consistently, fairly and impartially.”(Cavanagh, p.143). Fair compensation supports the new rules because it holds individuals involved in the act of violence responsible for the injuries they have caused on the other individuals. Each parent, coach, and player deserve to be treated the same unless they decide to act in an out of control fashion. The cons against the new rule are fair blame and due process. Parents or coaches should not be “held responsible for matters over which they have no control”(Cavanagh, p.143).

Parents or coaches might not necessary be responsible for the actions of their children during the game. Parents or coaches can make the argument that their rights are being violated by adding additional rules to youth leagues. Again the justice criterion leads to the addition of rules to youth leagues based on fair treatment. If an individual chooses to act out they are setting themselves apart from others and therefore, should be treated in such a way by given them repercussion for their negative actions.

A fair solution to this ethical issue of violence in youth sports is to add additional rules to youth leagues. The leagues can start by having all players, parents, and coaches sign an agreement to conduct themselves in a fair and proper manor. In addition they will be made aware of penalties or repercussions if they do coach their kids to use unnecessary roughness or if they have out of control burst which will be determined by the officials.

The penalty they receive will be based on remarks or actions taking by the individual. The officials will have the right to give out these penalties based on new league rules. The rules will make examples out of offenders to encourage others not to violate the rules. Lastly, before coaches are allow to coach a team they must attend a seminar or clinic that explains what is demeaned unnecessary roughness, out bursts, and other unfavorable actions. All parents will be invited to clinics and seminars but are not requiring attending unless one of the rules is violated. If one of the rules are violated it is mandatory for the people involved to attend with their child to the clinics or seminar. Violence in the media has been is a topic of great concern for many of years to parents, educators and even medial professions.

There doesn’t seem to be many positive aspects to violent television shows or sporting events. There will always be the debate over why some people react with violence after watching violent media being played over and over on sports stations and some do not, but the fact remains that there are only a few good reasons to see so much violence in such detail. Mass media can be said to have a large contribution to the acceptability of sports and violence. The media plays a vital role in sports and how it’s portrayed. Through the media exposure, many people to sports-related violence are tuned into the television, magazines, newspapers, and radio, thus providing numerous examples to children and young adults who may imitate such behavior.

Violence through the media can glamorizes players, often the most controversial and aggressive ones. On the other hand, the exposure given to sports violence by the media has stimulated increased efforts to control and prevent such behavior by multiple fines being set in place and many penalties. One of the most recent events that involved violence in sports and media exposure is the Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers brawl. A little recap of the incident was Pacers forward Ron Artest stretched himself out on the scorer’s table, where he was hit by a cup of beer thrown by a Detroit fan. Artest, followed by a number of other Pacers, charged into the crowd, throwing punches.

The fight lasted about 10 minutes. Officials eventually called the game, and the Pacers were showered with beer, popcorn and debris as they left the court; a chair was thrown during the brawl and a number of people were treated for minor injuries. Not only was this fight showed on ESPN for weeks, it was shown on national news stations across the country and analyzed every aspect of it. The YouTube video of the fight received millions of hits and today is still showed as one of sport’s most violent brawls.

In 1961-1973 a study was done by Ontario Royal Commission on Violence. On average 15 hours of “very aggressive” and “aggressive sports” were televised per week, and in 1973 the average raised to 21 hours per week. The most obvious and over played argument would be the negative result of violence in the media and how it promotes violence to solve problems.

By watching detailed violence, it sends a message that violence is acceptable way to play sports or be “competitive”. Some examples of how the media relays violence in sports could be by the constant replays of massive hits, slow motion showing every impact including the player’s distressed face, and even zooming in on the player that was injured. Shouldn’t media outlets be portraying sports as skilled and professionalism? Instead televisions are full of “ top ten painful plays” or “ top ten hits” or “ best fights of 2012”. What message is this sending to athletes of every age? Smith (1978) did a study on how much violent material do young athletes consume through media.

The results were about 65% of youth athletes attend pro hockey games 2-3 times a year, 53% said they read about pro hockey on a daily basis and 80% watch it weekly. Consumption went up with age. Hockey can be thought to be one of the most violent sports next too football with the legal fist fights. Smith (1983) asked “Have you ever learned how to hit another player illegally from watching pro sports?” and 56% of the 604 participants said yes. With a little over half of the people watching sports learned how to illegally hit another player during a game is intense. This could possibly mean the outlet of television or media is the reason why violence in sports in on a rise. It was reported by Sports Business Journal that in 1987-1988 the NBA had more fist fights than Professional Boxer Mike Tyson.

Finding many pro sides for violence in sports through the media was a little more challenging. Receiving a college scholarship is almost impossible these days. Without the help of the media portraying them as the best of the best it would be a lot harder for schools across the country to recognize or even notice potential athletes. A defensive player in football gets his position by being aggressive and making important tackles, even if it’s a violent play. Recording these plays or writing about them gives an advantage to the athlete trying to get into college.

Also, media coverage can greatly enhance the chances of violent offenders being caught. There have been several examples of players, who were not reported by officials during a match, being cited by sporting bodies, clubs or tribunals after the event. Media footage has also helped track down perpetrators of violent acts off the field. Known by many, some sports are violent by nature. Boxing is the obvious example, where physical attack is the point of the exercise. There has been much debate over the sport and the media coverage for such violence this form of “violence” is within the rules of the sport and the possibility of injury is well known by participants and by viewers so by showing coverage of these types of sports are accepted and are not merely portraying violence as acceptable outside of the sport.

The question related to media and violence is whether showing violence in sports through the media outlets ethical? Cavanaugh decision-making model will be used to decide the most ethical options. Utilitarian theory is “The greatest good for the greatest number” (Cavanagh, p. 141). Actions are evaluated by judging their consequences and weighing the good effects and bad effects and the attempt is to achieve an optimal balance of benefits versus harms on those affected by the action. Facts that support media coverage of violence is that viewers like to watch action in sports, violence is a part of the game, intensifies the game and may help high school athletes get noticed for college.

The facts that go against media coverage of violence are; too graphic, no need to show people getting hurt, violence and competition are two different things violence only degrades the sport or player. Overall the greatest good for the greatest number of people would be to allow the media to cover violence in sports. Now days people watch sports through the television or watch highlights through media such as ESPN. Some people only want to see the important plays of the game. Let’s face it, the more intense sports are the more people will watch them, even if it’s a nasty hit, or brawl in a basketball game.

Rights theory is the next step. The rights for media coverage of sports violence are; truthfulness and right of free speech. Truthfulness supports this theory because the media have the right to be truthful in what they show and not alter the media or certain outbreaks. Censorship is allowed but if a major fight breaks out is it ethical or unethical to show it? Do the people have a right to see what happened? Under the right of free speech commentators and sports broadcasting channels have the right to criticize others as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others. If it happened in the game why wouldn’t the media be allowed to play it and talk about it?

The last theory is justice. The theory of justice requires decision makers to be guided by equity, fairness, and impartiality (Cavanagh et al., 1981). It relies on three types of moral prescriptions: (1) that individuals who are similar in a relevant respect should be treated similarly and individuals who are different in a relevant respect should be treated differently in proportion to the difference between them; (2) that rules should be administrated fairly and clearly; and (3) that individuals should not be held responsible for matters over which they have no control, and should be compensated for the cost of their injuries by those responsible for these injuries (Cavanaugh et al., 1981). Decision making and reasoning based on the theory of justice focus on the distributional effect of actions (Cavanagh et al., 1981). Under these criteria’s I believe it is ethical to show violence in sports throughout media.

Though violence throught the miedia will never go away some of the alternatives I came up with were to limit the number of times a aggressive play is shown on TV and have a warning for younger kids that what is about to be shown is graphic so parents can decide whether its appropriate to show the violent acts.

Over the past several decades, sport violence has become an ever-increasing topic in North America. The topic of violence usually revolves around athletes, teams, and the organizations themselves. For instance, Ron Artest, also ridiculously known as Meta World Peace thanks to his name change, is more widely known for his violence than he is for his basketball skills; most recently for his violent swing of the elbow to the head of James Hardin during the last week of the 2012 NBA regular season.

The New Orleans Saints’ publicity has shifted over the past year from the America-loved Hurricane Katrina World Champions to the America-despised Bounty Hunter team who offered inside bonuses to those defenders that had the biggest and most damaging hits to the opposing team. And finally, just about since its inception, the entire Oakland Raider football organization has been labeled as poor sports, violent, and unethical due to the organizations predisposition for everything that goes against ethical behavior. Traditionally, much of the attention has focused on the ones in the big spotlight, and only a small amount of attention has focused on the ones in the background, the ones who passionately follow and support the athletes, teams, and organizations: the spectators.

No doubt, spectators make the sport world go round. With the Sport Business Journal’s estimate of $194.64 billion spent in the year 2001, if it wasn’t for the spectators, the sport industry would not be as successful (Chelladurai, 2009, p. 10). The shear economic impact of sport within our society is extremely important in driving the American economy, and with the thrilling permeation of sport within American society, spectators have the ability to make or break the sport. American’s love their teams.

The passion and excitement that the success of teams creates within the spectator is unparalleled to anything else. The biggest sport stadiums in our country, The Big House at the University of Michigan for example, bring out over 100,000 spectators for each event. Nothing else in our society encourages this kind of commitment and participation over an extended period of time. The biggest concerts can bring close to that many people, but the concert only lasts for one day in one location and then the show moves onto a different city or state.

Certain protests, parades, or political events can draw crowds over 100,000 but once again, the actual event is usually only one or two days and the difference between these events and sports/concerts is that these events do not cost anything to attend. For spectators to commit their support over entire seasons, year in and year out, requires an ongoing investment in mental, emotional, financial, and cognitive resources.

This kind of relationship between spectator and team is remarkable. Few events in our society can compete with the extreme emotional highs that sports can invoke within ones soul. However, with the emotional highs come emotional lows. For the majority of time, sports have a very positive impact on society, but at other times sport has the ability to influence spectators to commit unlawful and undesirable acts of violence and aggression. It is during these times when sport has a negative role in our society. To begin the discussion about spectators it is important to have a fundamental definition. Nicholson and Hoye (2005) define spectators as “supporters and parents…‘bench’ players, coaches, team, club or league officials, venue staff and general public within the view of the field of play” (p. 95).

All of these individuals play an important role when it comes to making sport a positive experience or a negative experience. The role that media, players, and coaches play in sport violence has already been discussed. The remains of this discussion will be focused on the individuals outside those two areas; specifically the spectators known as the fans. There is the obvious physical violence that spectators can invoke on each other, the officials, the players, and the coaches. For the purpose of this discussion, poor behavior not resulting in physical violence is going to be included with the overarching topic of “violence.” Nicholson and Hoye (2005) define poor behavior as “Foul language, abuse of officials, racial and ethnic abuse, sexual harassment, throwing missiles, drunkenness, pitch invasion, and acts of violence” (p. 98).

These undesirable acts can be directed towards fellow spectators, players, coaches, and unfortunately officials. In fact, Nicholson and Hoye (2005, p. 100) found that the perception of performance of game officials was one of the key catalysts for poor behavior. Apparently, when things aren’t going the way of their desired team, spectators look to release their frustrations on something or someone and contest officials are the easiest target. Further, spectator violence is not limited to the times between the first and last whistles.

Spectator violence takes place before games, during games, and after games and the violence can take place just about anywhere. It can take place at sports bars and pubs that aren’t located anywhere near the venue, or it can happen on the streets that surround the venue either before the game or after the game. Spectator violence can break out in the parking lots of the venue during pre-game tailgate parties or post-game events and it can also happen at the venue entrance/exit points, in the mausoleum, in the stands or even spread to the playing surface. With such a propensity for spectators to commit acts of violence and criminal behavior, venue and event managers are concerned with how to stop it or at the very least control and minimize it. However, understanding the cause should come before finding the solution.

First off, let’s not confuse passion with violence. One of the greatest draws of sport competition in our society is the camaraderie created between players, teams, organizations, and fans. The passion and excitement created by this bond is what keeps people coming back day in day out, week in week out, and season after season. This bond is known as team identification and studies have shown it’s one of the strongest predictors of spectator violence. It’s easy to point out the obvious individuals that are high in team identification. For example, Barrel Man is a historic figure in the history of the Denver Broncos and the Mile High Stadium. Certain high schools have spirit squads that are front and center at every game and they have specific names like “Kadet Krazies” for the Air Academy High School Kadets and the “Rowdy Rams” for the Rampart High School Rams; both in Colorado Springs, CO.

However, team identification is not always as visibly obvious as the aforementioned examples. Many fans feel a strong sense of internal and emotional relationship with their team. Either way, team identification is a strong variable in determining spectator violence. Wann, Carlson, and Schrader (1999) classified spectator aggression into two categories: hostile or instrumental. Hostile spectator violence involves violent actions that are motivated by anger with the goal of harming another person. Instrumental spectator violence refers to actions intended to harm another person with the goal of achieving a result other than the victim’s suffering (p. 279). This kind of violence is highest amongst individuals high in team identification and that experience a situation that is unfavorable to their personal desires; such as a team loss. These two elements can combine to make an explosive situation at sporting contests.

Consider additional variables such as alcohol, age of spectators, level of game importance (playoff game), and nature of the sport (football as opposed to volleyball) and the potential for spectator violence only increases. No matter why or how spectator violence happens, the ones involved are almost always perceived as hooligans, hoodlums, or deviants and whenever violence does break out it always puts a blemish on the image of the particular sport or team. As mentioned in the beginning of this section, individuals or organizations involved in violence are seen as unethical and looked upon negatively in our society.

Spectators are just as vulnerable to the negative perceptions and are also seen as unethical individuals that detract from the spirit of the game. In effort to determine the level that spectator violence is unethical, this issue should be processed through the Cavanagh Model of Ethical Decision Making. Three criteria are considered when making this determination: Utility, Rights, and Justice.

The fundamental principle of utility is that whatever makes the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the ethical decision, act, or policy. If spectator violence were to occur at every sporting event across the globe than one could say that it negatively impacts the majority of people and it is therefore unethical. However, when comparing the total number of sport games that take place in the world to the total number of times that spectator violence occurs, the number of incidents of spectator violence is relatively small. Therefore, based on the utility criterion, spectator violence is considered to be ethical.

The notion of rights is the next criterion to consider in making the determination of spectator violence being ethical or unethical. Spectators have a right to enjoy a sporting contest without their life or safety being threatened. On the same topic, Nicholson and Hoye (2005) explained the notion of spectator violence breaking individual rights as this: “Poor spectator behavior can impinge on the ability of people involved in sport to enjoy a safe physical, social, and cultural sport environment” (p. 95). In making a determination of spectator violence being ethical or unethical based on the rights criterion, one must conclude that spectator violence is unethical due to the fact that it violates individual’s rights to enjoy a sporting contest without their lives and safety being threatened.

The final criterion to consider in determining spectator violence being ethical or unethical is justice. “Justice requires all persons, and thus managers too, to be guided by fairness, equity, and impartiality. Justice calls for evenhanded treatment of groups and individuals (1) in the distribution of the benefits and burdens of society, (2) in the administration of laws and regulations, and (3) in the imposition of sanctions and means of compensation for wrongs a person has suffered” (Cavanagh, 1984. p. 144). There are several justices to consider in this case: fair administration of rules, fair compensation, and due process. In regards to fair administration of rules, everyone spectator is held to the same high standard of appropriate behavior. No spectator gets a special rule allowing them to act inappropriately.

Therefore, fair administration of rules cannot be counted as injustice when looking at spectator violence. Now, in the event that spectator violence occurs, there are often innocent bystanders affected by the violence. Sometimes they are just emotionally scarred or threatened and other times they are physically harmed. In the case of physical harm incurred by innocent bystanders, these individuals expect that they receive fair compensation for their injuries and that the violent aggressors be held accountable for their actions. However, in the case that the perpetrator is not held responsible for their act of violence and the victim does not receive fair compensation for their injuries, justice is not being served. It can be assumed that the majority of time that a violent mob breaks out and an innocent bystander gets injured, that the individual responsible for that injury will not be detained or held responsible.

Only in the time there was physical evidence convicting the violent spectator will the victim receive fair compensation. More often than not, injured bystanders are taken to the emergency room for treatment of their injuries and the perpetrator is not held responsible. This situation blends into the idea of due process, where an individual has a right to a fair and impartial hearing when he or she believes that personal rights are being violated. As explained previously, spectator violence impinges on individual’s rights to enjoy a sporting event in a safe environment without their life or safety being threatened. In the case that this right is violated and someone’s life or safety has been threatened to the point of injury or harm but they are not able to bring suit on an individual or organization due to the nature of the event that occurred, then there is a strict violation of due process.

To answer the question of spectator violence being unethical or unethical based on the criterion of justice, the conclusion is that spectator violence is unethical. Spectator Violence is determined to be unethical yet unstoppable, but what policies or procedures can organizations put in place that help control or minimize the violent behavior? Nicholson and Hoye (2005) discuss strategies used to manage poor behavior and their identified strategies fall under 3 categories: Preventative, which are strategies designed to educate spectators and develop a better culture; Immediate, which are strategies to deal with poor spectator behavior as they occur; and Post-Incident, which are strategies designed to punish or prosecute poor behavior after an incident (102).

Preventative strategies include providing safe and secure entrance/exit points for players, coaches, officials, and spectators; providing and displaying code of conduct packets for spectators; additional education for officials on how to best handle volatile situations; strategically place bars or “wet” areas to minimize alcohol induced violence; limit alcohol consumption; development and implementation of national rules and expectations; and provide a more than sufficient number of event staff and security.

Immediate strategies include removing the spectator/s from the event, cancelling the event, and the use of a Yellow/Red card system where a yellow card is a warning and a red card is a removal from the event. Post-incident measures include removing players that have a tendency to invoke violence amongst spectators, suspending players, and banning the entrance of spectators who are consistently detrimental to the game experience. There is not a one size fits all solution to curbing spectator violence.

For instance, the Denver Broncos are not able to keep an individual from returning to future games. They may be able to prevent that individual from purchasing a ticket but that’s easy to circumvent if that spectator has a friend buy tickets for them. The individuals working the ticket gate are not equipped to check every person’s id so they cannot prevent the perpetrator from entering the venue unless they have specific knowledge that the perpetrator is trying to enter at a specific gate. Instead, venue and organization management should put as many of these strategies in place in order to minimize spectator violence and provide a positive safe environment for all to enjoy.


The major points in this analysis report are the ethical dilemmas with violence in youth sports, violence through the media and spectator violence. Ways to help maintain and prevent violence in youth sports are making sure the there are signed agreement for players, coaches, parents, administering additional penalties or repercussions for unnecessary roughness or out of control and finally running clinics and seminars on the preventative measures on violence in the specific sport being played.

Violence through the media can be monitored by limiting the number of replays of a violent hit or fights and seeing out warnings to young children warning them about the viscous hits, attacks, fights etc. Finally preventative measures for spectators will include providing safe and secure entrance/exit points for officials, players, and coaches, having the Code of Conduct packet for players and spectators, educating the officials and event staff for handling violent behavior, strategically placed “wet” areas, signage reminding spectators what they represent, development and implementation of national rules and limiting alcohol and # of spectators.

Immediate measures for audience violence would include removal the violent spectator from the event, removal of players from the contest, cancelling the event before it gets out of hand, having a red and yellow card system and having police presence. Post incident measures need to include suspensions of players, blacklisting spectators and administering fine and jail time for appropriate circumstances.


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