Excessive Violence in Sports: An Allusion?
A piece on the imaginary increase of violence in leagues such as the NHL. A glance at the way the media gives light to a problem that has not worsened over the years. Is all this violence in sports that is cried about a mere allusion or reality?
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The sports media has a tendency of exaggerating events in sports. An altercation on the field of play gets highlighted, dissected and replayed for days after it’s occurrence. This is a dream for any sports fan looking for a dosage of the prior day’s events. Yet, it also provides an allusion of things becoming increasingly worse when they are not. The allusion created is not solely based on the media’s replaying of events, but improved medical practices and league guidelines.
The NHL (National Hockey League) has become the prime example of this allusion. Each on ice hit is being examined to the tenths of milliseconds to adjudge their legality. A process that is welcomed by all invested stakeholders in the league. The problem is, there is no place to draw the proverbial ‘line in the sand’ when it comes to solving these issues. It has come to a point where a minor bump is being excruciatingly dissected by analysts. Has everyone forgot that hockey is still a contact sport?
When minor bumps and bruises are analyzed, the average fan starts assuming the worst. They start assuming the violence in sports is on the incline. While, this is utterly and absolutely complete tosh. The only thing that is on the incline are the amount of suspensions and the improved medical procedures when handling the aftermath of a hit.
In the past, a hit which would daze a player was swept aside as a minor bump. Now, those hits are carefully examined by professional medical officials to ensure the player is safe from damaging injury. This is a positive, but a negative when it comes to making sure fans realize the hits have always been similar. Handling the situation better does not automatically mean the severity of the hits is worsening. Neither does it mean the number of ‘head hunting’ hits are on the increase.
This situation is similar to news channels having an influence on individuals and what they thinks about society. News channels are usually private corporations that are bent on squeezing profit from any news they can muster. What has become a winning formula is to show the worst of society and then highlight, dissect and analyze it to death. These things include murders, rapes, robberies, kidnappings, and all other horrible criminal activities one can imagine. When a person who watches the news sees this, they assume the crime rate is on the increase. Fortunately, the crime rate is usually stagnant or on the decline. Only thing is, the worst crimes are being highlighted more creating this sense of increasing crime around society.
Sports media is the same as those news channels. Perhaps, to a smaller level in terms of impact, but the league can be considered the society. The fans can be considered those individuals that watch the news. Sports media knows that the nasty incidents on the ice will garner the most eyes and this is not their fault. They provide the viewer what the viewer wishes to watch. It is as simple as that.
Unfortunately, this fear is now starting to seep into cries for harsher sanctions in the leagues. Sanctions that involved completely removing hitting in hockey, everyone wearing visors or giving monstrously long suspensions. All to fix a problem that has not worsened over the years.
This issue has slowly started creeping into other leagues like the NFL and NBA. Will those leagues quickly put a stop to this nonsense or will the trend continue?
It is up to the commissioners of those leagues to reach a conclusion that makes sense both sport wise and fan wise. The worst mistake would be to fall into the media’s trap. A league that does that will slowly lose it’s viewership and the media will always find a new scab to bite at.