One of the biggest aspects in sport is the role of violence and how it affects us as viewers and how we watch these sports. Every sport has violence because every sport can be competitive for the players and when the players get competitive they want to win and win at any cost. When things don’t go the player’s way they sometimes become violent and we are able to see most of these violent acts because of TV coverage.
TV coverage plays a huge part because it shows video evidence of the violence that takes place during the course of games. Just this past weekend I can think of two different acts that I saw while watching sports that were very violent. One example was the NASCAR event this past weekend when a brawl ensued during the race in the pit. Another example was when Tommy Tuberville, the head coach at Texas Tech hit one of his assistants for messing up a play call. I discovered these violent acts from watching Sport Center at the end of the day. I honestly don’t watch NASCAR because I’m not a fan of the sport but for some reason I felt that I needed to watch the fight between the drivers because it’s an entertainment factor and we always love to see fights. ESPN always makes sure to involve the fights in NASCAR as well as the crashes because it gets the non-fans to watch the highlights of the race instead of switching the channel. It’s sad to say but for some people that is the only reason they watch NASCAR, for the crashes.
As crashing in races are to NASCAR, fighting is to hockey. Hockey is different than any other sport out there because they actually prefer fighting in games to keep the fans in the stadium and the fans watching the game on TV interested. In almost every other sport when a fight breaks out during the course of the game the refs will stop the fight before it even happens, and if the fight does happen the players that are involved are usually taken out for the entire game. Not in hockey however, when a fight breaks out the ref’s simple get out the way and let the fight begin. Earlier this semester we watched a video where even the broadcasters were breaking down the fight and analyzing who won the fight, making it seem like it was just another part of the game. In an article on ESPN, John Buccigross explains the pros and cons of fighting in the NHL and one of his main reasons is that people come to the games for the chance to see a fight. Buccigross goes on to say, “It is a tension that other sports just don’t have. It’s the gut of the game. It keeps people honest and helps separate the rugged form the weasels. Other sports have players that talk, strut, and dance but among those who are tough and who are poseurs.”
Another big aspect in TV coverage is the coverage of the sports and the type of games that get covered on sports networks like ESPN. We have discussed in class earlier this semester about how SportCenter usually puts lesser sports toward the end of their show compared to the major sports. One of the reasons for this is because of the physicality (violence) that other sports have that to make them better in the eye of most fans. In class we talked about how women’s basketball is always one of the last topics on SportCenter because it is less physical than their male counterpart, so they always show the more physical sports before showing the less physical sports.
Fans have always loved the big hits that make the crowd go; “Ohhh” and the broadcasters of all sport networks know this. Whenever, one of these big hits happen in the game, the broadcasters will show the hit not once, not twice, but at least three times to show the viewers at the stadium and at home just how hard the hit was. Even when the player is still unconscious on the field from the hit they will show his body becomes motionless several times before going to commercial.
So is violence in sports a bad thing for society? Maybe it is but in the world of sports, violence isn’t a bad at all, instead it is encouraged in some sports to become more physical, to get those big hits to make the fans go crazy. TV coverage is going to continue to show those match-ups where the game is going to be more physical because at the end of the day violence in sports sells.