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Mary T

United States

Aggression in Sports: Instinct or Publicity?

March 18, 2016

No one likes to watch a lifeless game, and the driving thirst for anger that the audience has influences the players in a negative way. One of America’s most beloved sports, football, revolves around athletes trying to tackle each other to the ground. Not to mention boxing, a sport where two competitors repeatedly punch each other, and wrestling, another extremely violent sport. All of these examples are heavily televised, and don’t forget about the generous salary these athletes receive.

Aggression is in our genes, they are crucial when trying to survive in harsh conditions. As the theory of aggression states, by Oxford University, “Our instincts take over to conduct the necessary violence for survival. However, these instincts can be controlled for the good of those around us.” (Oxford University Press) Although there is much evidence to support the fact that we are fond of these aggressive behaviors, I believe the contrary when it comes to popular sports. Although non-physical sports are televised, many angry and hostile actions are made by players. Similar to reality tv, players know that the more entertaining they are the heavier their “popularity filled” paychecks are.

Being angry is one thing, throwing a punch or yanking someone’s hair is another. While if every once in awhile a game got a little heated, due to high stakes and lots of pressure, and someone made a poor choice, that would be understandable. But every game? It just seems hard to believe that people let things get so out of hand.

Even though it pains me to say it, it is not all of the athlete’s fault. The audience must take a large portion of the blame for themselves. Without the constant encouragement of such ridiculous behavior, these athletes would not have the strong motives to make these choices based on popularity. The New York Times reads, “A college soccer player retaliates against an opponent by pulling her down by the ponytail. A tennis champion has a tantrum on the court, costing her a shot at winning another major title. An all-star catcher throws an elbow, touching off a brawl that puts his teammates at risk for injury.” (Jeff Deitz)

All in all, if everyday sports fans showed a higher level of maturity than we currently do, then many violence related sports conflicts could be easily settled. All of these examples exhibit normal people who have been pushed so far off the edge that they turn to violence. When is enough actually enough? One crazy fan at a time, we can make a change in this reality and take the high road when given a choice.


Works Cited

Deitz, Jeff. "Athletes Struggle to Channel Aggressive Nature." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2009. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.

"Instinct Theory of Aggression." N.p., n.d. Web.

"Sports Aggression May 'spillover' in Teen Relationships." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.


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  • March 18, 2016 - 7:10am (Now Viewing)

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