Interscholastic Sports Focused on the Wrong Sports 31
Problems in Sports 33
Should Expand Middle School Sports 36
Sports Participation Benefits Women 37
Pay to Play Model Bad 38
“Adequate Education” Includes Sports 44
Health Benefits to Sports 47
Sports Participation Boosts Academics 50
Interscholastic Athletics Improve Outcomes 52
Strong High School Education Important 54
A2: Littleton 55
A2: Tokarz 56
A2: Criticisms of Sports 57
A2: Gender Discrimination 59
A2: Classes More Important 61
A2: Constitutional Right 62
A2: Trade-Off with Academics 63
A2: Kids Lose 64
Sports are the Alternative to Drugs and Alcohol 65
Sports participation increases violence
Charles Harary, 2002, J.D., 2002, Columbia Law School; B.A., magna cum laude 1999, Queens College, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Winter, Aggressive Play or Criminal Assault? An In Depth Look at Sports Violence and Criminal Liability, p. 197
Sports violence is an epidemic plaguing our nation. Each year, millions of Americans participate in sporting competitions on some level. Professional, collegiate, high school, and recreational sports make demands on our time, attention, and pocketbooks. As society places an increasing value on athletic success, the desire to succeed in sporting competitions increases as well. As a result, athletes are increasing their resolve to succeed at all costs, even if the costs include resorting to violence. Violence in sports is present on all levels. Professional, collegiate, high school, and even youth athletes engage in sports violence. Whether in an organized league or a recreational game, whether as a participant, referee, or fan, a sporting event, at times, becomes a forum for unpunished criminal violations. And as offenders go unpunished, the epidemic is exacerbated.
Sports increases violence in high school
Charles Harary, 2002, J.D., 2002, Columbia Law School; B.A., magna cum laude 1999, Queens College, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Winter, Aggressive Play or Criminal Assault? An In Depth Look at Sports Violence and Criminal Liability, p. 199-200
3. High School
In San Antonio, 18-year-old Tony Limon was handed a five-year prison sentence for assault after he intentionally threw an elbow in the face of an opponent during a high school basketball game. The blow broke the victim's nose and resulted in a serious concussion.
In Chicago, 15-year-old Neal Gross was left partially paralyzed after a 16-year-old opponent brutally checked him with a stick following the conclusion of a high school hockey game.
In New Mexico, an 18-year-old football player received a six-month jail term for attacking a referee after the player was ejected from the game for committing "unsportsmanlike conduct."
A Pop Warner football game in Florida erupted into a riotous brawl involving more than 130 people. The players in the game were mostly 14, 15, and 16-year-olds.
Again in Florida, a fight broke out after a referee prematurely ended a football game for 12-year-olds because of "unsportsmanlike conduct" committed by some of the players.
In Massachusetts, a fight broke out between parents at a youth hockey game. One player's father, Thomas Junta, beat another player's father, Michael Costin, into a fatal coma. Costin's face was so disfigured that his children couldn't recognize him after the beating. Junta was recently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
In Swiftwater, Pa., fifty parents and players brawled at the end of a football game involving 11 to13-year-olds.
In Staten Island, N.Y., after a hockey game for 11 and 12-year-old boys, a father struck his son's coach in the face with two hockey sticks, bloodying his nose.
And again in Pennsylvania, a policeman gave a 10-year-old pitcher two dollars to hit a batter with a fastball in a Little League game. The officer was convicted of corruption of a minor and solicitation to commit simple assault.
In another disturbing incident, former Cincinnati Reds third baseman and manager Ray Knight punched the father of a girl on the opposing team at a 12-year-old's softball game.
While playing basketball at a community gym, 32-year-old Brad Bryson was deliberately elbowed in the head by an opponent. As a result, Bryson slipped into a coma and died.
Finally, Brett Redmayne-Titley, 41, was punched by his teammate, Anthony Jerome Fisher, after the former missed a winning shot in a basketball game. The blow deflated one of Titley's eyeballs, lacerated the cornea, and destroyed the lens.
The recent increase of violence in sports can be attributed to a number of factors.
Sports coaches encourage violence
Charles Harary, 2002, J.D., 2002, Columbia Law School; B.A., magna cum laude 1999, Queens College, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Winter, Aggressive Play or Criminal Assault? An In Depth Look at Sports Violence and Criminal Liability, p. 202
The focus of sports has increasingly become winning at all costs. The desire to win has increased so much that everything, especially sportsmanship, has been relegated to the sidelines. The primary instigator of this change in focus, ironically, was himself a great sportsman: Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, who coined the famous maxim, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." This phrase has had destructive consequences that Lombardi never intended or imagined. Lombardi, seeing the damage this ethic had produced, renounced it, saying, "I wish to hell I'd never said the damned thing. I meant the effort ... I meant having a goal ... I sure as hell didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality." Lombardi's win-or-nothing imperative has redefined sports. Now, success on the field takes precedence over every other aspect of sports. Players and coaches on all levels are doing whatever it takes to win, even if winning means resorting to violence.
Charles Harary, 2002, J.D., 2002, Columbia Law School; B.A., magna cum laude 1999, Queens College, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Winter, Aggressive Play or Criminal Assault? An In Depth Look at Sports Violence and Criminal Liability, p. 202-3
Sports industries have become big businesses, generating huge revenues. Team owners have realized that winning equals increased revenues: the more a team wins - the more tickets sold and paraphernalia bought, the larger the television contracts, etc. The owners' sole focus is winning, and they do whatever it takes to win, even if they have to support violence to gain a competitive edge, or support players who commit violent acts.
The most shocking example of this is the presence of "enforcers" on professional teams. Many teams, usually at the request of the coaches, add an enforcer to their roster. These enforcers are usually unskilled players whose primary purpose is to intimidate and sometimes injure opposing players.
Enforcers are frequently used to initiate fights with the opposing team's best player, in the hope that both players will be kicked out of the game. For example, in hockey, teams will often use their enforcer to initiate fights in order to place another team's best players in the penalty box, and thus out of the game. In sports such as hockey, in which intimidation plays a big role, every team likes to have one or two designated enforcers so that the rest of the team can feel comfortable. And, as clubs begin to use excessive violence to win, other clubs feel compelled to resort to similar tactics to remain competitive, and the problem escalates. Invariably, the most successful teams are the ones with the most uninjured players at the end of the season.
These enforcers understand that their role on the team is solely to fight. When asked whether he would have reached the NHL without his fighting ability, Marty McSorley, the recent assailant of Donald Brashear stated, "I would not have made Junior A."
Coaches encourage aggression
Charles Harary, 2002, J.D., 2002, Columbia Law School; B.A., magna cum laude 1999, Queens College, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Winter, Aggressive Play or Criminal Assault? An In Depth Look at Sports Violence and Criminal Liability, p. 203-4
Coaches play a major role in bolstering aggression and supporting intimidation performances. They will often support violence in a game if it gives their teams a competitive edge. As a result, many players feel that fighting is a part of their responsibility as members of a team.
To illustrate, in 1982, Paul Mulvey of the Los Angeles Kings refused his coach's demand to leave the bench and join a fight during an NHL hockey game. Coach Donald Perry allegedly told Mulvey that if he did not fight, he would never play for the team again. Not only did Mulvey not play for the Kings again, but he never played on any other NHL team ever again.
In San Antonio, Tony Limon was sent to jail for 5 years for striking an opponent in the face during a basketball game. Limon claimed that his coach precipitated the assault by telling him that "it was about time someone shed blood."
Marty McSorley's assault on Donald Brashear was also instigated by his coaches. After both the coach and the assistant coach made comments alluding to a fight, McSorley was specifically sent into the game after Brashear entered the game - a pointed action that implied that the coaches wanted a fight to ensue. n56 McSorley later testified that although he could barely raise his shoulder, he was desperate to fight Brashear, not only to do what he thought was his coaches' bidding, but also to help save his career.
Buddy Ryan, coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, allegedly offered to pay a bounty (of a few hundred dollars) to players that were willing to injure the kicker or quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys during a football game: the coach wanted to knock those Cowboys players out of the game.