Okay, here's the quiz--and it is an easy quiz. Where, within our society, do we teach people to be anti-social, aggressive -- to get in your face, to taunt, to run over, to dominate. I think I've given you a lot of clues -- but one more clue: this activity is taught in school, actually after school. And when these proficient people become adults we pay them enormous sums of money to be anti-social, to be aggressive.
Of course I'm talking of sports--football, hockey, boxing, almost any sport. In sports you are not supposed to be kind, social, polite. You are supposed to get in his face, run over him. Great athletes have blazing fires. They desire deeply. They hate, dominate, wish to annihilate.
So what? Isn't that what sports is all about? Why am I carrying on so? Because I've come across an article that says, "there seems to be a disproportionate number of sexual assaults by individual high school, college & professional athletes and gang rapes by team members."
What a big surprise. We teach them to be violent. We teach them aggression, anti-social behavior, and then we are surprised they behave that way? Jeffrey R. Benedict, a Boston based researcher has concluded that sports may actually condition male athletes to anti social behavior.
Do we need a Boston based researcher to tell us that? Are we so stupid that we cannot see the direct link between our obsession with violence in sports and the violent people sports turns out? It is no wonder that there is so much violence in our country--on our streets, on our TV's, in our homes. We teach violence. We praise violence. We love to see what we call controlled violence.
Unfortunately, and very predictably, controlled violence leads to uncontrolled violence -- and that is what we have everywhere outside our sports stadiums --where cars are ripped off, people are mugged -- and many of the muggers were once superb ballplayers -- just not superb enough to make it into organized violence -- called professional sports.
So they ply their newly learned trade, mugging, which uses many of their talents -- and they ply their trade on the streets of our cities. Surprise, surprise.
Copyright © 2004 Henry Morgenstein
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