Sports violence is described as the commitment of physical acts beyond the expected level in contact sports such as boxing, martial arts, soccer, and rugby. Doctrinally, acts of violence are typically classified into those that have been intentionally inflicted, and those which have been done inadvertently. Nevertheless, the outcomes of sports violence are typically equal, leading to severe traumatic distresses and prolonged mental depression among the athletes and the members of the families. Specific kinds of sports, including boxing, wrestling and rugby classified violence as an important element of the game (Atyeo, 1979 13). For instance, in professional boxing, there is no possibility to deliver an effective and staggering punch to the opponent without doing harm to his body.
With regard to the most probable reasons of athletic violence, the popular opinion manifests that the outbreaks of excessive violent behavior can be attributed to genetic, biological or mental factors (Zazryn, 2008 54). Biologically, regular sports activities and training result in an increase of the testosterone level, especially among the male athletes. A large number of medical surveys and experimental activities have confirmed the popular assumption that increased level of testosterone invariably leads to aggressive behavior. Having compared different testosterone levels of their professional boxers and ordinary people, it has been clearly concluded that the bodies of professional athletes are more hormone-saturated, signifying that they have the proclivities to violence.
The international sports community has been longtime perplexed with one of the most hotly contested issues in the history of professional and amateur boxing, ice hockey, soccer, rugby, martial arts, and other sports directly or consequentially connected with the physical traumas and injuries (Zazryn et al, 2008 267). In particular, it is being popularly discussed whether the sports authorities should prohibit the practice of the aforementioned sports activities, because they endanger physical and moral health, cultivate violence and exercise other collateral effects. The opponents of the statements are far cry from the realities of contemporary boxing and other violent sporting activities since they promote a healthy lifestyle, the spirit of competitiveness, they contribute to the development of the national and international economies and are deeply associated with the multitude of other positive outcomes. The intensity of these disputes has been recently exacerbated by the discussions in the United Kingdom Parliament on the perspective of the legislative prohibition of professional boxing (Zazryn, 2008 16). The Republic of Iceland and Norway have already made professional boxing activities unlawful on the sovereign territories, ruling that physical health and moral equilibrium of the society are more important than the revenues accrued from professional boxing activity.
In other words, is reasonable to speculate on the fact that today the international sports community has not issued a unilateral opinion on this topic. Whatever arguments are raised by the one party, the opponents easily break them by delivering contra arguments and refuting the first ones. The dispute will not be ruled on until a particular decision is made by the respective government authority. The objective of this paper is to summarize the main arguments collected and leveraged by the proponents of violent sports activities cultivation and the opponents thereof. In particular, the paper examines the possible medical outcomes of active participation in professional and amateur violence focused sport activities, it analyzes the impact of these sports on popular culture. Specific sections of the paper are also dedicated to analyzing the economic impact of professional boxing and other violent game sports, as well as it speculates on the consequential effects of professional violent sport culture of the global agenda.
Arguments Advocating for the Ban of the Violent Sports Danger to Physical and Moral Health of the Contestant
In professional and amateur boxing unruly and unjustified violent demeanor demonstrated by one of the contestants typically results in heavy professional penalties imposed on him. Moreover, he is likely to be sanctioned financially by the regulatory associations of professional boxing (Cornes, Sandler, 1986 43). These penalties are however of no effect for his opponent, who, as a result of the application of the outlawed tactics may be severely traumatized. The same practices are observable in ice hockey, where the altercations and boxing like fighting have become an inseparable part of the game. To be more specific, the rules of ice hockey and the tradition of the game make the referees tolerable towards violent behavior, since everyone is interested in it. The spectaculars applaud to the hockey players like to the gladiators, who willingly entered the arena to showcase the supremacy in their physical abilities. The players want to demonstrate who the real tough guy is, while the umpires once the spirit of the game to the respected. The only one who dislikes the fight is the loser of the brawl, because shellshock, destroyed jaws, broken legs and hands are the results of these ancient traditions.
Indeed, no other sport is so brutal or unforgiving than professional fighting activities. In accordance with the recently published statistical evidence, about 2000 people died directly from boxing because of various traumatic disorders inflicted upon them by the contestants (Dunning, 1999 41). The most popular traumas are the head bone fractures, internal stomach bleeding, blindness because of eye pupil destruction and other physical disorders. The history of professional and even amateur boxing is replete with examples when these physical disorders turned out to be lethal. For instance, in 1963 the former lightweight champion David Moore died because of inflicted brain injuries by his opponent, the world-famous Cuban boxer “Sugar” Ramos. Despite the fact that the incident was glorified by the famous son of Bob Dylan “who killed’ Davey Moore?” has made the diseased athlete world-famous, nevertheless, for him and for his morning family these results were definitely not positive. In 1982 the champion from South Korea Kim was killed as a result of the bloody fight against the legend of boxing Ray Mancini in the 14th round of the “brutal war” as described by the broadcasters. This fight propelled the international boxing authorities to reduce the number of rounds from 15 to 12, but the egregious death toll of the boxing war has not been stopped. It is estimated that at least five documented cases of lethal outcomes of the boxing sparring take place annually in different jurisdictions (Appenzeller, 2003 76), but not of them are officially recognized by the International Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization, and other authorized entities.
Indeed, the medical community is vigorously stating that boxing is the most dangerous activity ever designed by the humankind. It is a popularly cited argument that astronauts, and divers risk of their lives because the pursue the public good, and their perils are justified by the noble causes. Professional boxers in their turn risk of the neck because of money and with the exclusive objective to amuse the crowd. The plague of boxing is known to be the so-called dementia pugilistica, also known as punch drunk syndrome. For those boxing practitioners who managed to survive through the bloody career, the results are the memory problems augmented with inhibitions in speech and reaction and other negative outcomes (Svinth, 2007). Besides, the notoriously known Alzheimer’s syndrome is also closely related to professional boxing and Mohammed Ali is the most illustrative evidence in this regard. To be more specific, whatever financial resources are at his disposal, she was not able to combat these disease effectively insofar. There are thousands of other cases of the boxers who are less famous than Mohammed Ali, but whose mental and physical impairments resulting from their professional activity has become the greatest concern for them in their elder years.
Overall, it is reasonable to conclude that boxing and other violent sports are of immense physical and mental danger for those, who actively participate in them. Despite the fact that statistically, the risks of being killed in the ring are not significantly high, they are nevertheless present. Moreover, while the chances to be beaten to death by the opponent are insignificant, the odds to become physically or mentally impaired are far bigger. In any events, boxers’ dementia will be most probably the companion of every third former professional boxer in his elderly. Currently, there are no reliable statistics for the participants of the amateur competitions, but it is reasonable to assume that the statistics can be applied for them as well.
It promotes Violent Cultural Paradigms for the Society
Apart from inflicting direct physical harm to the participants, professional boxing is cultivated and advertised by the well-developed network of the different mass media tools. Professional boxers are heroes depicted in the movies; they advertise and promote the commodities developed by the different manufacturers. In other words, they are icons, who are imitated by the youth willing to be in every respect similar to their heroes. However, not only the icons but their behavior and attitude towards the others is imitated, and therefore violence is gradually turning into the popular mechanism of dispute resolution. This statement is especially relevant for the children of the school and college-age group. In particular, it has been empirically concluded that after the release of Rocky series, regular splashes of violence occur in the United States educational institutions nationwide. Besides, the success of professional fighters inspires the children to attend different sports clubs where basic boxing techniques are taught to them by the former fighters of by the licensed trainers. The result is the same – a college kid becomes familiar with how to knock out his opponent. The results of this knowledge may be a catastrophe because in the movie no one is typically killed, but in the real-life and mere school altercation can lead to fatal results. The physicians are unanimous in this regard, stating that while the professional boxer can easily withstand the front blow, a teenager, whose forehead bone has not been developed yet, is facing high chances of being severely traumatized and probably impaired (Reed, 1981 13).
Arguments against the Ban of Violent Sports
Despite the fact that professional boxing and other violent sports are vigorously criticized, several positive traits and nevertheless attributable to them. Practically, professional boxing and other violent sports activities should be allowed to exist, because they exercise tremendous positive contribution to the economy (Reed, 1981 32), and because of the social mission of sport.
The first illustrations confirming the existence of boxing is professional sport are documented to exist 800 years before Christ. Antiquity was known to be a troubled and contentious time of our civilization, and professional fighting skills were needed to prepare the future warriors for their careers. Besides, boxing is closely related to the United Kingdom, in where it is held in high esteem alongside with William Shakespeare, English tea, the Royal family and values which are generated by the British people (Cornes & Sanlder, 1986 43). Banning boxing means prohibiting our cultural legacy and can be compared to Hitler’s burning of the books.
Moreover, in the United States of America, only 456,000 jobs are somehow connected with the sports industry. In fact, the existence of stadiums, professional and amateur sports events, including the violent ones exercise tremendous measurable effect on the domestic and international economies. Therefore, banning violent sports will invariably lead to a catastrophic number of dismissals, outburst of trade unions activities and overall indignation of the general public, which is always interested in safeguarding their economic interests.
Furthermore, boxing, football, and martial arts are reported to be one of the most effective stress busters used by ordinary people. Several multinational corporations headquartered in New York on nowadays promoting white-collar boxing hours during the lunch breaks and after the office hours. The employees are reported to be more motivated and less stress vulnerable as a result of these practices.
Conclusions and Recommendations
To summarize the main findings of this paper several conclusions can be made. First and foremost, boxing, ice hockey and other forms of violent sports activities indeed position a serious threat to the members of the community. Most importantly, they are inseparably connected with the multitude of physical traumas, including dementia, Alzheimer’s syndrome and many others. Moreover, under the gravest circumstances, even the most accomplished puncher can easily perish prematurely on the boxing ring. It is also important to remember that the popularization of violent sports activities galvanizes the public opinion, and the most emotionally unstable, particularly the children are inclined to imitate the dispute resolution methods practiced by their icons. Therefore, the cultivation of violent sport invariably engenders splashes of violence in society.
On the other hand, violent sport is an important sector of the economy and an effective psychological remedy for stress combating techniques. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude on the fact that the affirmative actions of the sport regulation authorities are required only to reduce the possibility of a negative outcome. Under any circumstances, however persuasive arguments of the opponents may be, professional boxing activities should not be forbidden.