JohnFMurray.com – Dec 17, 2004 – Feature – As Discussed on BBC Radio by Host Anita Anand & Dr. John F. Murray.
Thank you very much to all who participated in the Violence in Sports Survey. You have spoken and your comments have been tabulated in this report which aims to help improve sports by first understanding the situation better. I asked you to comment about what you felt was the main CAUSE and SOLUTION to the sports violence that erupted three weeks ago during the Indiana Pacers/Detroit Pistons game now known as The Basketbrawl.
I received an outstanding response to this survey as 376 of you emailed back. Many were very long and thoughtful letters offering multiple causes and solutions. The makeup of the population included one NBA coach and player, three NCAA basketball coaches, one NFL coach and two NFL players, seven NCAA Division I athletic directors, 21 professional athletes from a variety of other sports, and a couple hundred junior and recreational athletes and fans.
From your responses, it soon became clear that you felt this was an extremely complex issue with multiple causes and multiple solutions. As such, I carefully recorded each and every listed cause and solution and arrived at the Top 10 Causes and Top 8 Solutions to the problem as well as an otherÃ¢ category for less popular responses. I calculated the percentages to show you how frequent specific responses were, and have them listed below in order of most frequent to least frequent.
(1) POOR EDUCATION (24%): Athletes Today Receive Poor Education in the Areas of Character, Discipline, and Sportsmanship
(2) MONEY IN PRO SPORTS (20%): Excessive Money, Privilege, and Adoration of Pro Athletes Leads to Greater Self-Absorption and Less Responsible Behavior
(3) VIOLENT AND STRESSED SOCIETY (17%): Society Becoming More and More Violent, at War, and Collective Stress of 911
(4) FAN PROVOCATION AND RESTLESSNESS (16%): Fans Provocation of Players, and Fans Desire for More Stimulation
(5) SECURITY (5%) Poor Security in the Arena
(6) MEDIA (5%): Media Attention for Fans and the Reality TV Era
(7) AGGRESSIVENESS OF SPORT (5%): Player Frustration, Testosterone, and the inherent Aggressive Nature of Sports
(8) VIDEO GAMES (1%): Video Games Teach Violence
(9) FAN FRUSTRATION (1%): Frustration and Jealousy Among Fans
(10)Ã‚ RON ARTEST (1%): Ron Artest is a Unique Case
(11) OTHER (5%)
(1) MORE CHARACTER EDUCATION (29%): Sportsmanship and Character Education Needs to be Better Developed and Implemented
(2) EXTREME DISCIPLINE ON PLAYERS (24%): Fines, suspension without pay, and much tougher standards on all players
(3) EXTREME DISCIPLINE ON FANS (21%): A range of suggested measures
4) MORE SPORT PSYCHOLOGY INVOLVEMENT (14%): Sport Psychologists Need to be More Involved with Athletes and Teams to Better Anticipate and Resolve Problems
(5) MEDIA (3%): Need to Return to Promoting and Worshiping Real Heroes who are True Role Models
(6) DISCIPLINE ON TEAM MANAGEMENT (2%): Fines on Team Owners and Franchises Whose Players Act out as Incentive for Change
(7)SECURITY (1%): Better Security in the Arenas
(8) ALCOHOL (1%) Eliminate Alcohol at Games
(8) FUND PROGRAMS FROM FINES (1%): Use the Money Collected in Fines to Directly Fund Programs of Education for Athletes, Teams and Leagues
Here are my thoughts based on the quality and proportion of your responses:
1. This is a very popular, complex and multifaceted issue.
2. You perceive lack of education as the biggest contributor to the violence and more education as the biggest potential solution.
3. You call for far tougher standards and more severe penalties for all the parties involved including players, fans, and team management.
4. You support the greater involvement of sport psychologists as a viable contribution toward helping install preventive measures and develop solutions too.
5. You call for a return to family values and sportsmanship.
Feel free to send me any more of your thoughts.
Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.