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In ancient societies, athletics and especially competitive contact games were always rough, but aggression in the past was tempered by an insistence that playing hard, playing to win, did not allow playing for cheat and hurt. One of the very first nations to express athletic ideals was the Greeks. As Pindar states, the athletic ideal incorporated courage and endurance with modesty, dignity and impartiality, those elusive qualities the Greeks called Aidos. As sports became more specialized, the general population became more and more focused on the spectator. Sports history reveals that although Greek sports were increasingly tainted with corruption and bribery, they nevertheless flourished in an era that saw the rapid expansion of stadiums and arenas under the ‘Roman Empire. Under the Roman Empire, violence in sports became the generally accepted principle and spectators not only approved of it, but also adopted it as a social norm.
In recent years, sports violence has become a social problem. Commissions have been appointed in Canada and England to investigate violence among hockey players and soccer fans. Many examples of violence in professional sports exist today, as countries such as the United States, Canada, Greece, Italy and Germany have reported court cases involving victims of perpetrators of violence. Newspapers, magazines, and TV shows depict bloodied athletes and raging fans at hockey, boxing, soccer, football, baseball, and basketball games with what seems like increasing regularity. But are incidents of sports violence actually increasing, and if so, what is the reason for such a negative increase? Or does the increased public attention and media attention to sports violence not reflect an increase in the incidence or severity of assaults, but a greater public concern for moral issues and the political discourse?
Contrary to popular belief, there seems to be growing dissatisfaction with sports violence. Changes in sports rules, developments in equipment design, and even the physical characteristics of modern sports arenas have evolved in an effort to reduce violence or its consequences. Yet among sports management teams, government officials, fans and the athletes themselves, there is an ambivalent attitude towards sports violence. Ambivalence takes the form of justifying the existence of violence in sport, but not taking personal responsibility for it. Coaches and managers tend to blame fans, saying violence is what draws people to stadiums because the risk involved makes the game more “interesting”. Athletes frequently admit that they are opposed to violence, but that is what coaches expect of them. Fans justify this by attributing aggression to athletes and situational aspects of the game. violent action.
Nevertheless, public opinion tends to focus more and more on violence in sport as major advances in the technologies used have increased media coverage making the information accessible to a wide global audience. Thus, contemporary critics tend to consider sports violence as a global phenomenon with a future evolution and very disturbing social consequences.
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