Bad Sportsmanship... an Issue?

February 28, 2014
Bad Sportsmanship, an Issue?

Today, athletes all across the world are competing. Most of those athletes are very good people and play fairly, but there are some that show very poor sportsmanship. This is a modern issue that doesn’t come across as a problem, but it is. In modern sports, athletes are starting the trend of a lack of sportsmanship in their celebrations and how they play. Sportsmanship can be defined by many things, but is usually defined as how a player acts on their field or rink towards the other teammates and opposing players. The players are starting to get excessive with their celebrations and play dirtier than in the past. Also, they aren’t as committed to their sport, or in some cases are too committed and don’t have any time for anything else. So, we as the fans need to make sure that the athletes stay sportsmanlike and polite.

An aspect that involves the fans, or more specifically, the parents, is youth sports. There are about 30-41 million children involved in youth sports which makes it a huge part of most kids childhoods (“Sportsmanship in Youth Athletics” Tom Robinson 10). In most youth sports leagues, the parents, usually fathers, are coaches. The parent coaches are volunteers that feel the need to support the youth in their athletics. Sometimes, however, the coaches’ feelings can get in the way of the kids’ playing. For example, the referee might make a bad call and being the parent as well as a coach, the parent might yell at the referee. Plus, the coach might favor their child even if other kids are better. Opposite of this, if a coach doesn’t like a player, then they might exclude him or her or even kick them off the team for a little mistake. These are prime examples of bad sportsmanship. Because of the actions of the coaches, the kids see their coaches behaving inappropriately or disrespectfully, and believe that it is okay for them to do so as well.

Also, this is an issue in professional sports. The players feel that they are above the rules at times and get angry at the officials. Plus, they could even get so out of hand as to draw a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct for their team which is a huge signal that it is out of hand. Since the sports players are on television, there are many people that see this happening. To make matters worse, usually the players are only fined a couple thousand dollars, which is nothing to them as they are making millions a year. The kids look up to these sports stars that are just making bad decisions at times.
For example, Richard Sherman, a cornerback for the Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks, recently called out Michael Crabtree for not making the game winning catch. He said that Crabtree was “mediocre” and that Crabtree was “dealing with the best cornerback in the league”. Now, Sherman is a very smart man, graduating from Stanford with around a 4.1 Grade Point Average (GPA) and high school with a 4.2 GPA . This means he got better than an “A” average in both high school and college. So, Richard Sherman is in fact a very smart man and has been known to be very sportsmanlike, but he just got caught up in the moment and got a little too enthusiastic.
An issue that is constantly in sports news is salary. The people who play professional sports are being paid very highly. Nonetheless, this can turn into an issue. The players’ loyalties change from one team to another based on who is signing their paycheck. This means that some of the players’ hearts are never truly devoted to their team and the sport. When people see this, they set their sights high to get paid millions but sometimes lose sight of the goal of sports, to have fun and just play. Everyone wants to be the best, but only around 850 out of 854,200 or 0.1% of all high school athletes will make it to the pros
Finally, there is the violence in professional sports. Bad sportsmanship can lead to violence, and that only hurts people as well as sets a bad example for both children and adults alike. Some of the players that have retired have been diagnosed with extreme illnesses that can affect their functioning ability because of the violence. An example of this would be Steve Gleason, a former player on the New Orleans Saints. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, because of all the hitting. This takes away his ability to move his body as well as talk. He has a special wheelchair and has to use a Windows Surface tablet to speak using his eyes, but cannot do anything without his wheelchair. This is just one person of many who have been diagnosed with an incurable illness that has played professional sports.
In the National Hockey League, a.k.a. the NHL, the league averages giving out around 5,000 stitches a year. That averages out to about 400 stitches for one player in his career, and about 167 stitches per team. In a recent survey, some of the fans say that one of the main reasons that they go to the hockey games was to see the fights. Out of 1,230 games this season so far, there have been about 503 fights, which is almost 2 and a half fights per game. Even worse, this could be affiliated with the gladiator fights in Ancient Rome where people went to see the gladiators fight to the death. Even though the players are mostly at fault in this epidemic, the fans play a role in this issue as well.

Additionally, some of the things that are happening are illegal on the streets but are totally legal on the court, field, or rink. In boxing and also Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the fighters beat each other senseless. If this were to happen in the middle of the street, the police would be called. However, in this publicized event, they are allowed to do it on national television and get paid highly if they were to win. People enjoy seeing this even though it is very violent and pay hundreds of dollars to go and watch live.
Overall, the trend in sports today both in professional and youth sports is that some people are just being bad sports or not playing by the rules. They are promoting violence, yelling at officials, favoring kids or excluding them, celebrating excessively, only focusing on money, or are doing a combination of these factors of bad sportsmanship and lack of it. We can change this by simply just writing a letter to the league or player.

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