Spectator Violence Today Essay

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Spectator Violence Today

Spectator violence in sports is everywhere, and it is on the rise. Just a few weeks ago a San Francisco Giants baseball fan was fatally stabbed and his friend beaten unconscious by three men following the game Barry Bonds hit his 700th home run against the San Diego Padres. The Washington Redskins-Philadelphia Eagles game on September 20th was delayed when the Eagles had to leave their bench when a cloud of pepper spray drifted on the field as a result of the police using it to stop fights between fans. Spectator violence isn’t a new thing; it dates all the way back to the chariot races in the Coliseum, where fights between the fans broke out frequently, and riots were
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While thwarting fan violence is impossible, because of the inherent nature of sports, an attempt to reduce its occurrences would be an endeavor worth while, and the only way to prevent spectator violence is to first find its causes and then try to moderate them.

One of the causes of spectator violence is the strong identification that spectators have with a team. Semyonov and Farbstein in their article, “Ecology of Sports Violence,” said that sports teams “become a central symbol for the community in which they are based, and consequently, an important source of identification and pride” (53). This identification often leads to competition between communities, and when two competing communities are exposed to the atmosphere of an athletic competition, violence can easily break out.

This tension in the atmosphere of an athletic competition is another cause. The more heightened the atmosphere is at an athletic contest, the more likely fan violence is to occur. There are many factors that contribute to the heightened atmosphere. Rivalry is one of the major contributors to the atmosphere of a game. In “FanViolence: Who’s to Blame?” it is written, “Excessive promotion of rivalry changes crowd cheers to jeers that can lead to violence.” Athletic teams always anticipate, with added hostility, playing their

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