Spectator Violence Today Essay

1458 Words 6 Pages
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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