Sports and society

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The disrespectful and unruly behavior of fans at sporting events has become a great problem over the past few years. There are several factors attributing to this behavior including drugs and alcohol, testosterone levels, and other psychological factors.

The behavior of fans in a problem at many events, from youth little league games, to champion World Cup soccer. At a recent football game in Philadelphia several fans were dejected from the stadium for unruly behavior (Adamson, Philadelphia Inquirer). Also, in Philadelphia, a man was brutally beaten with a police barricade by a group of so called fans after a pre season Eagle's game this August. After the 1998 Super Bowl in Denver, "hundreds of fans ignited bonfires, smashed store windows, and overturned cars at a victory celebration" (Snel, Denver Post). The police had to use tear gas to dispense the crowd. Another riot much like that of Denver occurred at the University of Northern Colorado where fans celebrating started fires and threw couches into them.

The SWAT team had to be brought in and several fire companies to fight the blazes.

At a baseball game between Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma fans from both sides were extremely rude and obnoxious towards each other. "Schools should support one another... and fans should support their team and represent their school with class (Cudd, Campus' Voice). The behavior at these events is unacceptable and needs to stop.

In England rowdy fans were arrested after a soccer game. These English hooligans attacked a British journalist and two photographers (Balmer, Reuters). The reason why this behavior occurred was because the English did not like the outcome of the soccer match- they lost to Romania. During another match, France actually had to enforce an emergency legislation that expelled some English supporters to prevent insubordinate and unlawful behavior (Balmer, Reuters).

Improper behavior is also a problem at youth events. "On the high school level and in the youth recreation leagues, many spectators... are prime examples of unbecoming behavior" (Quesenberry, Blare County Messenger). Parents and other relatives go to the youth events and behave like uneducated hoodlums; they curse like sailors, boo the opposing teams, and yell at the players and coaches. We should not be teaching our children and young adults that this is the proper way to behave at an event that is supposed to be enjoyable and fun.

There are several reasons for why people behave the way they do at sporting events. Alcohol and drug use is a huge factor. "Abuse of alcohol has been repeatedly linked with acts of sport-related vandalism and violence" (Russell, 1993). In a study conducted by Gordon Russell, he found that alcohol was ranked third in a list of fourteen factors that contribute to spectator violence.

Testosterone levels have also been shown to contribute to behavior at sporting events. According to Georgia State researchers, a sports fans testosterone level raises 28 percent when the team they are routing for wins, and decreases by 27 percent when their team looses. This may explain the correlation between testosterone levels and aggressive behavior (Men's health).