“The NFL is always going to try to make certain that there is an optimal level of violence in the game. If you took away the violence, there would be no football”
-R. Todd Jewell, a sports economist at the University of North Texas in Denton.
Violence is an inevitable part of sports and competition in general. Sports, since the early Roman times, have included violence in their plays in order to weaken the opponent and come out victorious. But where do we draw the line between violence becoming a cheating method or just a plain unmoral conflict? It has been stated that violence is what draws many people to even see the sport in the first place. As said by R. Todd Jewell, “Football is the most popular sport in the United States, and it’s popular because of the violence.” Football being the most popular sport in the United States, we can be certain that violence is part of the game. But then the question becomes, why are we so prone to loving violence?
When we date back to ancient times, we can see games that can be related to what today we call soccer, but what has changed, dramatically is the perspective on the strongest player. In ancient times, the toughest player was to be killed in order for the rest of the players to survive the game. Ever since these days, violence has taken a huge role in how interested we are. Sure we aren’t as barbaric now a days, thank goodness, but we have not diminished violence as a whole. Discovery News provides an excellent example where we need to see where to draw the line. Discovery News states that the NFL’s team, the New Orleans Saints, has been involved in a scandal involving the rumors that players were being paid to injure other players. This is the point where us as spectators need to do a self-evaluation and debate whether we are pushing this element to its ethical limit.
Violence is an action that relates to war, hate, and defense. But we say that sports bring nations together? How contradicting can we be? Friendly competition, although, brings the viewing rates down. Brings investors interest down, and now because of bringing ethics into the game, we loose money. Sports like boxing, for example, the whole point and the whole criteria is based on how damaged you leave your opponent, how far can you take your opponents limits, how low can you get them, in order to rise yourself. And we love that stuff. For example, the McGregor-Diaz fight, that took place March 5, 2016, was the entertainment for more than half of Americans that night. To our surprise, the fight began with McGregor getting all the shots and Diaz physically looking way more beat up than him, but the end result, Diaz coming out victorious in this fight. But when we think about it, there is nothing else to this sport but strategic method to physically tire and beat up your opponent. Violence is what makes this sport, it is what brings the big money to the corporation, and the competitors themselves.
When we are kids we are taught that violence is never the answer. If a bully in school hits us, we are to turn the other cheek. If someone bullies us we are not to engage in it but go report it and let the higher authorities take care of it. How can we implement these rules when we see most of our kids watching sports and engaging in sports activities and we have important teams like the Saints are being payed to hurt their opponents. The teachings we are giving are taken into consideration at first, but once we see our idols and teams do the exact opposite, it only encourages violence from our first fight over the sandbox to our last spot in the nursing home. Violence as we know, has a fin line. It is up to us whether we cross it and mask the actual facts, or we stay behind it and work around the entertainment business. Society today depends so much on fundraising and sponsors, who is on the cover of what cereal and who has a sneaker line. We put our idols on such high pedestals that we put so much pressure not hem to be the best and light a flame in them which, depending on each individual, could have a negative effect. Competition creates hype, it creates excitement and it even ignites feelings that not even our personal lives can. We cannot forget that the love conquers all, and in sports we can use a little less violence and a lot more strategic skill competition, not deterioration of our opponent. That is what the sport is all about, that is what going out there and playing is about. Let’s bring that back.
Violence is not going anywhere, nor will it in any time soon. We can be almost certain that it is here to stay because we do not know sports without competition. In reality, sports are just a regulated competition with two sides, whether you’re alone, like in tennis, or with a team, like in football. As unmoral as it sounds, as humans we love to see violence we love to see competitions and staying for the end results. Sports have been known to be a pastime for people, a hobby for some, and a passion for others. Where do we need to be careful? We need to be careful within ourselves. It is no secret that some are more competitive than others. Some are more aggressive than others. So the issue is not with the industry itself, and what they can do. It comes from deep within each player and each personality of the player. This is something that cannot just be erased and as we can see it is something that has a long history, and has landed its roots with our modern day sports.