Parry, J: Violence and Aggression in Contemporary Sport (in McNamee & Parry, eds, Ethics and Sport, Routledge 1998, pp 205224

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VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION IN CONTEMPORARY SPORT - Jim Parry Introduction Not all sports are games and not all games are sports. This paper will have at the forefront of its attention those games that are sports. So I will not really be concerned with activities such as track and field athletics (a sport that is not a game) nor with chess (a game that is not a sport). I shall have in mind especially various forms of football, but I shall pay some attention to the special case of boxing (which might not be a game, either!). Let me offer a preliminary attempt to stipulate a rough and ready definition of ‘sport’, so that we might have some idea of the object of my attention: sports are rule-governed competitions wherein physical abilities are contested. They are more formal, serious, competitive, organised, and institutionalised than the games from which they often sprang. Such a definition is useful as a crude starting-point, because it begins to suggest certain characteristics of ‘sport’ as so defined: institutionalisation, (suggesting ‘lawful authority’) contest, (suggesting ‘contract to contest’) obligation to abide by the rules that the activity was freely chosen; that due respect is owed to opponents as co-facilitators and so on. Such an account may begin to indicate the moral basis of sport, and thus suggest arguments that may be raised against violence. For we may ask how violence relates to the practice of sport; and whether one can have a sports practice in which violence occurs. Obviously, the answer depends on the kind and level of violence involved (and, of course, what we mean by ‘violence’). A factor in the development of modern sport has been the internationalisation of sports competition and the globalisation of spectatorship on the back of spectacular progress in the global travel and communication industries. This has required: (i) ever greater rule clarity (so as to avoid cross-cultural misunderstanding; and to variant interpretations, construals, ‘custom and practices’). (ii) ever greater controls: (increased surveillance and rule enforcement; - e.g. rule changes for the Soccer World Cup 94) (iii)so as to ensure fairness and lack of arbitrariness ( for the ‘meaning’ and ‘significance’ of the event is threatened by ‘arbitrary’ decisions). resolve

So: we are in this ‘new’ situation, wherein sports are competing for popularity (for people playing in minor leagues; for children playing at school level or in out-of-school clubs and leagues; for spectators; for sponsors; for national and international success). Sports are now realising that to survive and flourish in the modern world they must make themselves attractive to this wide and heterogeneous audience, and they are seeking to present themselves as ‘marketable’. The subject of this essay is one of the perceived threats to the “marketability” of serious competitive sport: aggression and violence. The ‘problem of violence’ in sport is paradoxical because, some claim, aggression is a quality required in sport (especially at the highest levels); and so it cannot be surprising if sport attracts aggressive people, or if sport actually produces aggression. The results of violence, however, are widely condemned. How can this circle be squared?

In the last paragraph you will have noticed that I ran together the two ideas: aggression and violence. I did this to illustrate the way in which these two ideas often are confused, or are thought to be related in important ways, and so our first task must be to clarify what is at issue here, so that we can see just what is a threat, and why. Assertion, Aggression and Violence In the standard texts of sports psychology the idea of violence is usually raised in the context of studies of aggression. Such an interest is conditioned by the natural concerns of psychologists - but our topic is often swiftly side-tracked by conceptual confusion. The initial willingness of psychologists to accept a definition of ‘aggression’ as (for example) ‘direct physical contact accompanied by the intent to do bodily harm’ (Cratty, 1983, p. 91), is very unfortunate, eliding as it does the two concepts. Even more confusion follows, since within a few lines we get aggression, violence, assertiveness (Cratty p100), hostility (p106), vigorous behaviours (p108), etc. with very little attempt to distinguish between them. We are reminded of an observation of Wittgenstein’s (1968, p. 232): For in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion ... The existence of the experimental method makes us think that we have the means of solving the problems which trouble us; though problem and method pass one another by. Let us begin with some of these basic concepts, and see if some informed conceptual stipulation might be useful. 1. Assertion Some see the biological organism as active, positive, and see ‘aggression’ as a basic biological drive, or a pre-condition of existence, or human flourishing, or excellence. Alderman (1974, p.231) says: Each person is born with a capacity and a need to move against his environment - to be aggressive. However, I prefer to call this capacity ‘assertiveness’ or ‘self-assertion’, because there is no suggestion here of a necessary forcefulness. Rather, there is the sense of affirming or insisting upon one’s rights; protecting or vindicating oneself; maintaining or defending a cause. 2. Aggression Aggression, however, is forceful. Some see a possibility of defensive as well as offensive aggression, but both are served by force. Aggression is: - vigorous (trying to gain advantage by sheer force) - offensive (in the sport context: battling for the ball) - proactive (striking first) Such features may all be morally exceptionable or unexceptionable, according to context, in everyday life, but all are usually permitted according to the rules of team sports. 3. Violence

Just as it is possible to be assertive without being aggressive, it is quite possible to be aggressive without being violent. A player can be both forceful and vigorous without seeking to hurt or harm anyone. Violence, however, is centrally to do with intentional hurt or injury to others, as well as attempts to harm, recklessness as to harm, and negligence. Since such injury is very often seen as illegitimate, legitimacy has often been seen as an important ethical issue in sport. Accordingly, violence in a sport might be seen as: (i) harm or injury to others (or attempted harm) (ii) which is against the rules. But there is a difficulty here. If the above account were to hold for “combat sports”, this would require the counter-intuitive notion that very hard punches aimed at knocking someone out do not constitute ‘violence’ so long as they are delivered legally. There are three possible responses to this difficulty: a. This is precisely the site of the most intractable problem over political violence (civil disobedience/revolution/terrorism). For the criterion most often offered for distinguishing violent acts has been their legitimacy. Van den Haag says: ‘The social meaning of physically identical actions are often distinguished verbally. Thus, physical force is called “force” when authorised and regarded as legitimate, and “violence” otherwise: the arresting officer employs force, the resisting suspect, violence.’ This echoes Marcuse’s words: ‘In the established vocabulary, “violence” is a term which one does not apply of the police ...’ (1969, p. 75) to the action

Now, we do not need to take a view on who is right here, for present purposes; simply to note that it has often been thought reasonable in the political sphere to reserve the epithet ‘violent’ for illegitimate acts, no matter how aggressive or forceful the legitimate agencies are. b. Another possible response to this difficulty might be to acknowledge that boxing is indeed violent, but to refuse to allow that boxing is a ‘sport’, precisely on the ground that its rules provide for such violence. A real ‘sport’, it might be held, would not admit of intentionally inflicted damage. (This was, in fact, the line taken by a BMA spokeswoman in the BBC ‘Sportsnight’ programme following the McLellan title fight incident to be discussed later.) Of course, not all or any violent acts will be permitted; and so there will be rules distinguishing illegitimate from legitimate violence (e.g. the rabbit punch in boxing). The problem with this is that we would have to stop using the word ‘sport’ in relation to boxing, whereas it is (and always has been) archetypally a sport. However much we disapprove of field sports, we still call them sports. (Some detractors call them ‘so-called sports’ - but this just highlights the issue.) Let us try to discover a term we might use to describe this category of sports which, because they permit intentionally inflicted injury, are deemed by some to be beyond the pale. ‘Combat sports’ won’t do it, since many combat sports outlaw intentional injury. ‘Violent sports’ might be entirely appropriate, since it is their violent nature that is at issue; but I favour the more emotive tag ‘blood sports’, which I define as those whose aim is either to kill, or inflict serious physical damage; or where death or injury is an inevitable or frequent outcome. I’m thinking of hunting, shooting, fishing, bull-fighting, bear-baiting, - and possibly some forms of boxing. c. A third possible response to the difficulty might be to reserve our descriptions for only one class

100) proposes a ‘. For there. in instrumental intention. or terrorism. A second example reinforces the point: Cratty (1983. Further: just because. I have an ‘ultimate goal’ beyond harming someone. aggression where the goal is injury to some object is known as anger or reactive aggression. (This discussion mirrors the discussion in law of the distinction between direct and oblique intention: in order to shoot my victim.’ My example can’t be dealt with by using Cratty’s distinction.’ Now. whereas boxing allows violence. In Martens (1975. to injure his opponent. it does not follow that I did not intentionally harm someone when I did so as a means to winning. This is not a person striking out in anger or frustration. sometimes. discrimination between aggression that is not excessive nor intended to inflict harm. Clearly. but only ever an and in itself (a working-out of my anger or frustration). It also suggests that we need one more category: 4. where ‘violence’ within bounds is legitimate). 1990. Did I intend to break the glass? . this would be both instrumental aggression (since it is a means to an end). Illegitimate violence For. All team sports allow aggression. If this is a credible example it collapses the distinction for.. recklessness as to harm. Let us simply insist that violence is centrally to do with intentional hurt or injury to others. violence may be justifiable (in war. which would be confusing. or revolution. But the problem with this is that the meaning of the word ‘violence’ would then have to differ across classes. (instrumental aggression) and aggression that is excessive and intended to harm others (reactive aggression). This suggests that we should delete the criterion: ‘which is against the rules’ from this category. and negligence. For example.. Instrumental and Reactive Aggression There are other instructive conceptual issues raised in the psychology literature. If his reply is to insist that reactive aggression is not a means to something else. in my example. the distinction between instrumental and reactive aggression. . imagine a player who wants to win a match (a non-aggressive goal. for in both cases the ‘goal’ is injury to someone. Instrumental aggression is not a response to frustration and does not involve anger. It’s just that.of sports. as well as attempts to harm. as a means. but also reactive aggression (since the goal is injury to someone). instrumental aggression is intended to inflict harm (and so counts as reactive for Cratty). the account of violence as illegitimate harm works only within the class of team sports. then he must drop the contrast he proposes. I had to fire through the window. p. p.see Duff. Illegitimate violence must be characterised as the attempt to harm by the use of illegitimate force. which is reported in many texts. pp.to win. In contrast. I take it) and resolves. but a person coldly intent on harm to another. the intention to injure has a ‘further intention’ . or in boxing. on Martens’ account. not across classes. 111) we read: ‘Aggression occurring in the achievement of non-aggressive goals is known as instrumental aggression.

). etc). he claims. and expressive violence will often be in the service of instrumental goals. and simply applied it directly to sport. We should ask questions not just about intention. for the distinction between instrumental and expressive does not correspond to the distinction between the rational and the non-rational. which has ‘. has increased in rugby due to increasing competitiveness and rewards. Imagine my getting caught in a tackle and.I just want to get past him. . I don’t hate my opponent . The problem is this: given the instrumental nature of sport. 54) makes a similar distinction (between instrumental and expressive violence) that avoids this problem. a strong affective component’ but is motivated ‘by a desire for revenge rather than by pleasure in the violence per se’ (p. but is held to some degree culpable nevertheless. but not through full-blown intention. but it is also clearly instrumental. I experience a sudden burst of anger that impels me to shove my opponent off the ball. Sports psychologists seem to have taken one of the canons of the literature from the parent discipline related to aggression in humans generally. 65).g. However. After all. p. and may involve ‘a large element of rational calculation.. Negligent challenges are those undertaken without appropriate due care for others. Instrumental violence will often be accompanied by important affective elements. This kind of violence. ‘Expressive’ means (p.. even of preplanning’ (p. penalties and controls. but on the wider concepts of culpability and responsibility. 54) the use of ‘physical violence illegitimately in pursuit of success’. but that it obscures more than it reveals. But this account has its own problems. Or (e. and yield productive insights. for the person who is thumped in the mouth. 54) ‘non-rational and affective’: e. A reckless or careless (negligent) driver may have no intent to injure someone. Reckless challenges are those whose intent may be to gain advantage. it doesn’t much matter whether it was done instrumentally or reactively. For him. 65).74ff. Gratuitous Violence One further point is raised: whether or not an act uses ‘excessive’ aggression seems irrelevant to the distinction. in struggling to get free with the ball.g. this is non-rational and affective behaviour. he claims. Recklessness and Negligence There are further interesting problems arising from injuries which are caused instrumentally. especially if it is difficult in practice to distinguish the two in sporting situations.1 gaining pleasure from ‘the physical intimidation and infliction of pain on opponents’. and for which we are culpable. has decreased in rugby due to the ‘civilising’ of the game through a developing system of rules. Instrumental and Expressive Violence Dunning (1993b. but also about which acts and omissions we should be held responsible for. for my instrumental aggression might be excessive in the extreme.2) retaliating. Dunning’s distinction captures this insight. in the sense that it uses ‘physical violence illegitimately in pursuit of success’. Should the same apply in sport? A reckless or negligent challenge may maim as well as an intentionally injurious one. I think that it has been of some value. a very large proportion of acts of violence will fall into a third category (of instrumental/expressive actions). assuming that it will ‘fit’. We need to rely not just on the concept of intention. there is a genuine moral problem involving what might be called gratuitous violence: when violence exceeds what is necessary for its success. This kind of violence. whether used instrumentally or not. whilst still being delivered with cool efficiency (not in anger. Now. but whose means are taken in the knowledge of risk or foresight of probable injury. ‘instrumental’ means (p.

and so on. Psychological violence and physical intimidation are borderline practices. whilst not necessarily being a violent act. However. for example . ‘knock. distress. .Now. Notice the distinction between ‘hurt’ and ‘harm’. However. forcefully. however. I am using ‘hurt’ here to mean ‘give pain to’. hooliganism and crowds. strike. uncertainty. etc. For example. This is not because the psychological varieties are unimportant. but by the human consequences flowing from it. nor could they be without a more careful analysis of the ideas of intention and responsible agency. sometimes acceptable as ‘custom and practice’ in certain sports settings. recklessness. and the above distinctions are attempts to capture that elusive quality. to which we now turn. and not all violent acts are acts of violence (see Harris. (b) Intention All of this raises fundamental questions about intentionality. liability. For although intention involves bringing about a result which I intend (or act . such as injury. Such an interest is conditioned by the natural concerns of sociologists . but also a psychological challenge (let’s see whether and how they stand up to it!). offensiveness and proactivity. Violence and Intention In the standard texts of sports sociology the idea of violence is usually raised in the context of studies of deviance. creation of an atmosphere of threat. that’s all part of the game!). strongly. 1982. negligence. I shall seek to side-step issues to do with psychological aggression and violence. Chap. give a blow to’ and ‘harm’ to mean ‘injure. and bringing a result about intentionally. Acts of aggression. However. I do not think that they are very successful. Duff emphasises the difference between intending a result. suffering. etc. My central concern will be with the nature and justification of player violence during the match. In some sports. vehemently. 1). insecurity. The Nature of Violence Not all acts of violence are violent acts. etc. and hard challenges debilitate). furiously. are attacks or assaults on others . Two issues immediately arise: (a) Psychological Violence and Intimidation This means that verbal intimidation.and these may be performed vigorously or not.but I am not here concerned directly with the behaviour of nonparticipants. damage’. nor because they are rare in sport. but merely because. There’s a functional aspect to this (it’s a physical contest.may be an act of violence. We want to notice the moral difference between various kinds of act. for reasons of simplicity. we can see what both views are getting at. energetically.threat of violence. it is regarded as ‘part of the game’ (acceptable within the culture) to ‘shake them up a bit’ so long as that is: (a) within the rules (b) with no intent actually to harm (although if you hurt the opponent a bit. an act of violence is identified not by the manner of its execution. I wish to consider here only physical aggression and violence. Aggressive acts are those acts marked by vigour. We should also posit a parallel distinction between aggressive acts and acts of aggression. Almost any human act may be performed in a more or less violent manner vigorously.

But these justifications all refer (as they must) to the ethical limitations of de facto political authorities. moral conceptions of responsible agency: consequentialist and non-consequentialist accounts. this distinction is instructive. For example. The outcome is that I was denied a proper opportunity to score. but on the intentions which structure the act. referees usually give penalties for reckless challenges. a significance which depends not on its intended consequences. it also extends beyond this. and therefore no penalty should be awarded. for example. In cases of alleged recklessness the test of responsible agency proposed by Duff is that of ‘practical indifference’. conflicting. the character of the harm is different.e. With other crimes. It is this kind of harm (disregard for the autonomy and bodily integrity of others) that is the essence of rape. Applied to sport. These two aspects of intention are related to two different. Audi et al 1971. but I do so because someone tries to kill me (attacks my life and my basic rights). to include results which I bring about not with intent. What the rapist intends is not “to have consensual intercourse” but simply “to have intercourse”. which can take the forms of: . But. Honderich T 1980. central to the idea of rape is not the consequentialist idea of an occurrence but that of a human action (structured by a particular intention) which attacks the sexual integrity and autonomy of the victim. even in murder. Imagine in soccer a penalty awarded for tripping. so that harms may be identified independently of the conduct which causes them. Rule JB 1989). however.choosing to take an unreasonable risk . it is difficult to see how these concerns might legitimately be expressed through acts of violence during . Justification . In murder. in the absence of good evidence about intentions. there is no foul. It is true that if murdered I die. there are obvious consequential harms which we aim to prevent. The non-consequentialist finds an intrinsic moral significance in intended action. for we are also responsible for the intentions that structured the act we performed. In murder. unless the trip were intentional. The consequentialist sees the rightness or wrongness of an action as depending only on the goodness and badness of its consequences. And don’t you suspect that.acting on the unreasonable belief that there is no risk. If there are concerns about the ethical nature of a particular sport.failing to notice an obvious risk . I die. but nevertheless intentionally. for the rules actually say that. Is the harm to be seen in consequentialist terms (my falling to the ground) or in non-consequentialist terms (my being tripped by another)? That is to say: should we be thinking in terms of outcomes or intentions? Think carefully. but I suffer the same consequence if lightening strikes me dead. referees very often judge simply on outcomes? You made contact with me and tripped me.the Ethics of Violence Justifications of violence are often to be found in the literature on political violence (see Arendt H 1969. that is. However. for faults that fall short of intention). and even for negligent ones (i. even in non-consequentialist terms. Should you not be held responsible for that? Duff’s reply would be that there are indeed occasions on which we should be held responsible for our intentional actions which have results that we did not intend. or of a particular rule or practice within a sport.with the intention of bringing about). it is not clear that death is the harm which the crime of murder seeks to prevent.

rather than justifications). These types of sport violence include. my job was on the line. and it fails to respect the rules of the contest. and violence governed traditionally by criminal statutes and criminal prosecution (see Hughes. borderline violence..’) non-premeditated (spur of the moment.’) preventing an offence provocation (retaliation) lack of an adequate authority (the referee’s ‘lost it’) rules are unclear. Violence stands in the way of a proper equality of opportunity to contest. violence governed traditionally by case law in civil court procedures. it works (achieves the end). brutal body contact. Types of Sports Violence Smith (1983) divides sports violence into four types. . and criminal violence. It does this in order to: to gain an advantage to intimidate to force withdrawal to enforce a contest on abilities not specified in the game’s constitutive rules to challenge to the referee’s claim to a monopoly on the use of sanctions However. etc). fair play. respectively violence approved by the rules of the game..’) pre-emptive self-defence defence of others duress (‘My coach insisted that I do that . custom & practice (‘That’s what’s expected of a professional. because game rules aren’t moral rules. But it does this in such a way as to fundamentally overturn the expectations on which a game proceeds (rules.. Violence involves the pursuit of interests in situations where legitimate forms of activity have failed. quasi-criminal violence.. or seem likely to fail.a match. violence for which the rules of the game specify appropriate penalties.... 1984. There is so much to say here. but I must make do here with a simple list: non-intentional (‘I went for the ball . and it’s legitimate to push them to the limit it’s not a moral issue.’) consent (‘Everyone knows the risks . (iv) Failing to maintain the institution (breaking the rules of the practice) That is to say: some forms of violence conflict with the requirements of sport..’) What’s wrong with offering violence? If violence is ‘against the rules’. then what’s wrong with violence in sport is: (a) what’s wrong with rule-breaking (b) what’s (in addition) especially wrong with violence: (i) Intention to harm (ii) Failing to accord proper respect to opponents (iii)Failing to uphold the laws and conventions of the sport. there are some possible justifications of the resort to violence (although some in this list might better be seen as defences or mitigations. automatic response) self-defence (‘He was coming for me .

applying criminal law to sport is judged inappropriate and ineffective. Any sport might already be about to respond with a few simple rule changes to negate the source of whatever criticism we might offer - .possibility of serious injury. a sport can change its character very quickly indeed. Permanent. and rationales for virtual immunity from criminal prosecution include: . or whether organised sport is on the decline and facing oblivion.). whereas I’m more interested in a Sport Education and Development approach.community sub-group rationale . How does it help us to understand soccer. 3. and he looks at sport through the lenses of deviance theory. 2 Borderline violence These are assaults which.p79). Some Examples Smith’s account needs applying in different situations. debilitating injury or death are often involved. 1.about what is actually happening in them . Criminal violence Violence so serious and obviously outside the boundaries of what can be considered ‘part of the game’ that is handled from the outset by the law. Smith is more concerned with criminal aspects of violence in sport (3. Court and criminal proceedings. rare in the past. whereas my focus has been rather on 1.and there are serious disputes at this level: over the current level of violence over whether violence is increasing or not over whether there is reason to suppose that things look set to improve in the near future.probability of minor bodily injury . Usually results or could have resulted in a grave injury. Quasi-criminal violence Violates not only formal rules of sport. firstly. Practices may strain formal rules of sport but do not necessarily violate them. boxing? We must remember. occur routinely and are more or less accepted by players and fans. one automatically accepts: . Nevertheless. etc. his schema offers a further insight into how we might approach particular examples. penalties seldom exceed brief suspensions and/or a fine. American football. rugby. is brought to the attention of top league officials: penalties range from several games suspension to life-man ban.inevitability of contact . and 2. They are essentially the province of referees and umpires. Secondly. Brutal body contact It is taken for granted that when one participates. 4. that whatever we say next will be reliant on certain empirical claims about how those sports are . and 4. though prohibited by the formal rules of a sport. but also informal norms of player conduct. now increasingly follow.continuing relationship rationale .

If the rules actually don’t. Perhaps by ‘violent’ Hughes is referring to violent acts. Sometimes commentators may be heard to criticise a tackle as ‘too hard’ (for which I think we might read ‘too aggressive’). Assertion is necessary at all times. However. not to hurt people.presumably in order to outlaw those acts of violence previously permitted: intentional attacks on knees. then it might qualify as a Type 4 violence sport. If it is a fair tackle. 3.. People may get hurt in the course of the game due to the extreme nature of honourable physical combat. ‘Hardness’ and ‘aggression’ are not against the rules . in distinction to what ‘custom and practice’ appears to be. American Football Hughes (1984) says: ‘. so the case against acts of violence is simply that they are illegitimate.but violence is. in North American football each play may involve a number of players in violent behaviour that is completely legitimate under the rules of the game and under law. there may exist a ‘code of silence’ which prohibits the reporting of acts of violence witnessed. unless the hardness involves intentional injury to another. Games like soccer are essentially exercises in controlled aggression. violent and dangerous play are strictly against the rules. I am of course referring to what official sets of rules appear to say. so as not only to bring the opponent down. to the disadvantage of all. but if it is true that the rules of this sport allow for the intentional harming of others. then hard questions must be asked about the moral basis of custom and practice.e. many knees were broken. but the aim of the game (and the way to win it) is to score points.so what we say might already be out of date. and a rule change was implemented . for part of the game seems to be to overcome others simply by violent force. One way of expressing this thought is to argue that. too aggressive). it can’t be too hard (i. I’m not well-informed about the game of American football.. then perhaps they will require revision. for example. Rugby Here is a game which many see as violent. but also to break his knee. 2.’ Now. But these things are a matter of degree. it is not a sport of violence. although rugby might be a violent sport. But I think that the above analysis means that there is no such thing as a tackle that is too hard. is violent). Soccer At every instant in the game of soccer. Having said that. 1. along with boxing. so it may serve as a good example for us. not acts of violence. and see how they fare when tested against examples. If this is true. In any event. Amongst players. let’s look at a few practical applications of the above thoughts. I understand that it was formerly often the practice to tackle at or below the knee. . possession of the ball is being contested. then any such collusion risks bringing the game into disrepute. or is reckless as to his safety (i. aimed at the ball.e. That said. and aggression is permitted in pursuit of legitimate ends. If the rules prohibit acts of violence.

which dramatically exposes the sport’s rationale. and people die every year in many different sports. whose aim is to score points. including the presence of four doctors. Leave aside for the moment the fact that these are not properly weighted statistics . It becomes a value to cause pain (it becomes integrated into your personality). but boxing also not only permits. one an anaesthetist (although the very necessity for such precautions is itself evidence of foreknowledge of risk to life. Consider the following description: You hurt others.) On BBC1 News the next night (1995a) a promoter. The statistics given on the Sportsnight programme were that over the previous 9 years in Britain there were 94 deaths in horse riding. Frank Warren. too. obviously distressed and blinking heavily. This is true. 4 in cricket. (BBC2.which reason would. this would not be against the rules nor the spirit of the rules. The Special Case of Boxing . His condition was critical. and a BBBC official mounted a spirited defence of the sport. degree. etc. A knock-out is a final knock-down. Boxing is a skilled sport. I think. As soon as he reached his corner it became clear that something was badly wrong. and he was rushed to hospital. McClellan was counted out whilst not unconscious. in the following terms (supplemented by later discussion on BBC1 Sportsnight. sports are as The actual facts of the matter are in some dispute. 2.or: Blood Sports Proper! Whilst thinking about these issues only a few weeks before the Cardiff conference. but rewards ultimately the causing of grievous or actual bodily harm. where he had a blood clot removed from his brain shortly after arrival. You lose your capacity for empathy. but also those which are condoned by the culture of the sport as played in the NFL. but down on one knee.I suppose its status as a Type 4 violence sport will depend on the amount and kind of acts of violence which remain permitted by the rules of the game. effects and probabilities of injury. and only 2 in boxing. The knock-off would simply be a more final and spectacular way of ending the fight than a simple knock-out. BBBC officials were very quick on the night to explain the detailed precautions taken. I think. You ignore your own pain. And. or become the object of sanctions. Many other dangerous as boxing. or that it is impermissible for some reason . 4. Boxing should be treated the same as any other risk sport. 1994) If this is a correct account of one of the perceived values of the sport. If it were possible with one blow to decapitate one’s opponent (let us call this move the ‘knock-off’). also provide a criterion for banning head punching at all. then there do seem grounds characterising it as being at least at risk of being considered a blood sport. should either be cleaned up. Sports medics argue over the precise nature. 1995b): 1. if so. why should it not be permitted? You must say: either that it is permissible. Nigel Benn (‘The Dark Destroyer’) beat Gerard McClellan by a 10th round KO on 26 February 1995. If the knock-off were possible. we should be asking whether it.

etc. (c) Now. for humans). Indeed. We no longer have pancration. and each might be dropped without doing away with the game.and surely this feature of the sport exposes its false appeal to the skill argument. however. he might win just by doing that. all venues within one hour of a properly equipped hospital. in which all intervening obstacles had to be cleared. is defined in terms of jumps. artificial hurdles and water-jumps. and with the promoters who profit from it? Remember pancration. fitness. Well. but rather that a boxer might rationally aim at inflicting a simple debilitating injury as a means of winning. in which allowable body contact was of such an extreme kind that gouging. these are interestingly different cases: (a) it’s quite possible to envisage rugby without scrums. It is not as if there is no skill in boxing. but you couldn’t have a steeplechase without jumps. then shouldn’t we do away with it. If boxing is about skill. then it can survive such a rule change. Surely other sports take care not only to provide for casualties.but it is a moral argument about the aim of the activity. Answer: you can’t have boxing without the head as a target. But if it is really about the thrill and chill of the ultimate snuff sport. throttling. John might hurt someone in cricket. So why not take the head out of the target area in boxing? 3. The BMA shouldn’t moralise. Nowadays.but they don’t argue for the only thing that will help avoid these cases: a ban on head punching. In boxing. So: you could have rugby without scrums. Could we imagine Rugby League (which already has no line-outs) without scrums? No problem . etc.). Rugby. as in 1. the forerunner of both boxing and wrestling. ambulances on site. The state shouldn’t ban boxing . That’s like having rugby without scrums. The Professional Boxers’ Association argue for better safeguards (more experts at ringside. endurance. etc of boxing except for that proportion of those things relating to the intentional permanent damage of another human being? I vote for the latter. or the steeplechase without jumps. formerly.these are fighting men. etc) . but also to avoid those casualties as far as possible. endurance. time spent during periods of activity. etc are created on a racecourse (or a running track. above. and the activity would go underground rather than wither away.(SOED). The argument is not about the facts of injury levels . 4. for example. a race having a church steeple in view as goal. but only advise on risk.. which was one of the disciplines at the Ancient Olympic Games.it would look just like Rugby League without scrums! (b) A steeplechase. Most boxers would not know the difference between a scrum and a ruck and a maul. for they are simply irrelevant to the point. But the definitions of each might all change without detriment to the game. what shall we say about boxing? That boxing without the head as target is a logical nonsense? Or that we could easily envisage a simple rule change that would preserve all that is good about the skill.(ignoring as they do participation rates. has (only!) recently taken particular notice of its own restrictions on tackles around the head and neck. but he won’t get runs or wickets for that. and death was not an uncommon outcome. It means ‘. hurting or harming someone so badly that he cannot continue the contest is a sufficient condition of victory . etc were allowed.. . Interestingly. and I do not think that it would be acceptable as a sport in the modern Olympics.’ . for very good reasons. There should be freedom of choice. often.

and to argue that it should be banned. the pre-fight publicity document. the BMA spokeswoman on Sportsnight). if it were possible to produce a glove (or other protective gear) that really protected not just the head but also its contents. after all. that professional wrestling isn’t a sport.under constraint and ignorance. and yet he went willingly and enthusiastically into battle after careful and serious preparation. McLellan took 70 head punches in 10 rounds. Going back to bare-knuckle fighting. Gloves were invented for the protection of the hands. One might think alcohol to be an entirely malign influence but nevertheless think that prohibition would be counter-productive. ensuring that there were no boxing in schools. Boxers are getting fitter and are punching harder. And. McLellan keeps pit bull terriers and says he finds knocking someone out better than sex. who would not dare step into a ring. so the onslaught must be reduced. there are practical steps internal to the sport that might be taken towards the reduction of head injuries: a. not the head. for example. banning the televising of boxing. The measure of that is (presumably) consensus. then there should be less opportunity for it. Without the gloves. there are many measures short of prohibition that might be: for example. especially live. and especially before very late at night. just like the rest of us? Mill said that we should only prohibit what right-thinking people don’t want to do anyway. In addition. Alternatively. I’d argue. That is to say: it is almost certain that Benn fully appreciated the risk that he might kill his next opponent. Having shorter bouts. short of banning boxing. enforcing controls on the kinds of advertising and promotion of boxing that rely on incitement (the creation of a violent and antagonistic context for the contest). That’s what boxing is. fights would be more often stopped for hand injuries. Outlawing blows to the side of the head (just as we now outlaw blows to the back of the head). or dropping boxing from the Olympic Games programme (which would be enormously important in reducing the amount of state support for boxing in many countries). to see which criterion is unfulfilled.’ Don’t such people have the right to make their choices . This is not true of sportspeople in any other sport. He most certainly appreciates the riskiness to others of his business (as well as to himself). because (for one thing) the rehearsal .g. or both. 5. Now we must return to our earlier (albeit sketchy) account of ‘sport’. Some have thought that this factor offers a case for arguing that boxing is not. which is the main cause of brain damage. even if absolute prohibition is not justified. especially after Michael Watson’s fate. They permit more head punches. c.g. b. and especially one who calls himself ‘The Dark Destroyer’. since these are the blows that cause rotation of the skull.Should boxing be banned? Well. In ‘Sudden Impact’. If repetition is what does damage. McLellan said: ‘You have to go to war and you have to be prepared to die. if only on the ground of inadequate consent. A professional boxer knows from the outset that it is entirely possible that he will ‘destroy’ his opponent. a ‘sport’ (e. One thought: most boxers are (in legal terms) reckless. and perhaps he even hopes that he will. and more violent head punches. and so on. then such equipment should be made compulsory. and there does not seem to be a consensus against boxing The general situation seems to be as confused as I am! But. or shorter rounds. One account of recklessness describes it as ‘conscious risk-taking’. Remember: those who participate in boxing are different from most of us. there are many ‘expressive’ measures that might be taken in order to make clear our concerns about the activity: e. it’s not the same thing to argue that something is immoral or unpleasant.

though. But where do I (and you) stand in all of this? Why was I watching the fight at all? Why did I continue to watch. tense. We can now see that there is nothing necessarily wrong or suspicious about assertiveness or aggression. and so on. and just why boxing is immoral. Maybe in the context of our lives driving performs a more useful. in putting one’s entire self on the line (think of boxing as opposed to other individual sports). as the 40-1 outsider. was bashed out of the ring in the first round. what is wrong with rugby or American football. and perhaps should not be considered a sport. but as well as intentionality another facet of culpability is reasonableness.especially the case of Shimmen). We can see precisely what is wrong with violence in soccer. danger and risk. I think we might rely on the boxer’s ‘willingness to cause intentional harm’ as failing to accord due respect to other participants.of moves ensures that there is not a proper contest. ‘duel’ and ‘team sport’ varieties. I cannot help thinking that the argument that shows boxing to be immoral is nonetheless important as a step towards our eventual collective realisation that this sort of thing has no place in a society which strives towards the eradication of violence in human affairs. And yet I also acknowledge the particular virtues of boxing. Benn. lurched around for a while only just surviving and under such intense punching that he might have been knocked out at any time. even though we are well aware that even careful drivers sometimes kill people. incapacitation or even death of a human being. and not even soon. too. The issues here are difficult ones. then gradually worked his way courageously and violently back to a kind of equality in a contest of sustained brutality . see Duff. the facing of injury. 143 and 147 . Despite that. Meanwhile. Meanwhile.such that the unreasonableness of boxing adds another dimension to the unjustifiability of the harms it intentionally or recklessly inflicts. such that due respect is preserved.and finally won. gripped. But not yet. I believe that boxing will eventually go the way of pancration. for fun in argument!) even amongst consenting adults. we do not permit Russian Roulette to be played (and we might imagine ‘solitaire’. if either their rules or their practices permit violence. pp. which seem to differ only in degree from the virtues of many other sports: the courage involved in putting oneself on the line (think of individual compared with team sports). and also deny that consent to possible brain injury or death to oneself should be granted as exonerating the other from disrespect. (On this. I confess to experiencing a classic contradiction: I can see the argument against professional boxing . An objection to this is that boxing is a consensual activity. the discipline involved in attaining and maintaining extremely high levels of fitness and endurance. In the case of boxing.the simple moral imperative against an activity not only the outcome but also the object of which is too often the injury. the absolute reliance on one’s personal resources. we should not prohibit it. We do. My route to a reply (which would have to be worked out in its detail) would both question the validity of ‘consent’ (by analogy with prostitutes or pornographees).but that’s not such an unusual position for the ethical self to find . although we should signal our disapproval either by selective bans or by other expressive gestures. fascinated. many of us will remain in the grip of the unresolved contradiction between our sentiments and our moral reason . allow ourselves and others to drive cars. reasonable function than does Russian Roulette or boxing . essential. Summary This excursion through a series of examples has been most instructive. After all.

20 pm. 12. But this is. BIBLIOGRAPHY Alderman RB1974 Psychological Behaviour in Sport (London: WB Saunders Co) Arendt H 1969 ‘Reflections On Violence’ (NY Review of Books. under pressure or provocation. pp.00 pm. Feb 27. Citius-altius-fortius is a dangerous enterprise on the threshold of power as aggression.: is there a possibility for peace and the non-violent conduct of human affairs? As Nissiotis said (1983. . either to prevent something or to achieve something. the immense value of Olympic sports: they challenge people to react. 1986. precisely. So far I have only toyed with the idea that assertion and aggression may not be wholly bad. Sports life moves on the demarcation line between aggressiveness and violence. pp. It is a risky affair . The questions are: how do we come to terms with our own behaviour and dispositions. 9.. When playing sport we exercise our potential for aggression.’ I find it an attractive and intriguing idea. 144-5) that. and especially in education for non-violence. worthy of further consideration. time and time again. and less violent ones. but I want to intimate now a much stronger thesis: that aggression and violence in sport present opportunities for moral education and moral development.itself in. Sport and Education for Non-Violence I would like to conclude by very briefly exploring the role of aggression and violence in sport in a wider social setting.. motivations and propensities? Is there a route from the potentially risky confrontation that sport sometimes is to the development of a self with greater moral resolution? And. pp 106-8): . finally. sometimes in haste. violence and domination. May we see more assertive and aggressive people. 45-100) Audi R et al 1971 Violence (New York: D Mackay) BBC1 1995a News 27 Feb 95. 10. I have argued elsewhere (Parry. 19-31) Audi R 1971 ‘On the Meaning and Justification of Violence’ (in Audi R et al.. I believe that the impetus and opportunity for values education here is tremendous. to use this power to control and subjugate the other.. The settled dispositions which it is claimed emerge from such a crucible of value-related behaviour are those which were consciously cultivated through games in the public schools in the last century. pp. under a structure of rules. games function as laboratories for value experiments Students are put in the position of having to act. And may sport be an agent of moral change. but not.. in the educational setting. more generally. creative and Sport in Olympic practice is one of the most powerful events transforming aggressiveness to competition as emulation. to pass the test of power.. that the competitive sports situation challenges individuals to develop and use their power and aggressiveness. and we may be tempted by the attractions of violence in pursuit of our aims. this is the ethical challenge that faces humanity: how to harness the motivating forces of aggression into the service of humanity. BBC1 1995b Sportsnight 1 Mar 95.

Agency and Criminal Liability Dunning E 1993b ‘Sport in the Civilising Process’ (in Dunning et al. Cratty BJ 1983 Psychology in Comtemporary Sport Englewood Cliffs. 134-57) Rule JB 1989 Theories of Civil Violence (Calif: Univ Calif Press) Smith MD 1983 Violence and Sport Toronto: Butterworth & Co Ltd van den Haag E 1972 Political Violence and Civil Disobedience (New York: Harper & Row) Wittgenstein L 1968 Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell) Proceedings of . P and Quinton. 84. pp. pp. MD.BBC2 1994 On the Line (‘Aggression in Sport’) 5 Sept 94. 8. Duff A 1990 Intention. Smith. J 1986 ‘Values in Physical Education’ (in Tomlinson. 95-108 Parry.30 pm. pp. M. 79-83) Marcuse H 1969 An Essay On Liberation (Harmondsworth and NY: Penguin) Martens R 1975 Social Psychology and Physical Activity NY: Harper & Row Nissiotis N 1983 ‘Psychological and Sociological Motives For Violence in Sport’ the International Olympic Academy. 39-70) Dunning EG et al1993a The Sports Process (Human Kinetics) Harris J 1982 Violence and Responsibility (London: RKP) Honderich T 1980 Violence For Equality (Harmondsworth and NY: Penguin) Hughes RH 1984 Review of. Violence and Sport (Sociology of Sport Journal 1. pp. Values Across the Curriculum Brighton: Falmer Press. 1993a. NJ: Prentice-Hall. 1.

that due respect is owed to opponents as co-facilitators and so on. (suggesting ‘lawful authority’) contest. Such an account may begin to indicate the moral basis of sport. I shall have in mind especially various forms of football. or if sport actually produces aggression. however.VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION IN CONTEMPORARY SPORT Jim Parry Introduction Not all sports are games and not all games are sports. wherein sports are competing for popularity (for people playing in minor leagues. are widely condemned. and they are seeking to present themselves as ‘marketable’. and institutionalised than the games from which they often sprang. organised. but I shall pay some attention to the special case of boxing (which might not be a game. (ii) ever greater controls: (increased surveillance and rule enforcement. construals. for spectators. competitive. They are more formal. for children playing at school level or in out-of-school clubs and leagues. and to variant interpretations. . the answer depends on the kind and level of violence involved (and. Such a definition is useful as a crude starting-point. The subject of this essay is one of the perceived threats to the “marketability” of serious competitive sport: aggression and violence. rule changes for the Soccer World Cup 94) (iii)so as to ensure fairness and lack of arbitrariness ( for the ‘meaning’ and ‘significance’ of the event is threatened by ‘arbitrary’ decisions). How can this circle be squared? .e. So I will not really be concerned with activities such as track and field athletics (a sport that is not a game) nor with chess (a game that is not a sport). and so it cannot be surprising if sport attracts aggressive people. serious. A factor in the development of modern sport has been the internationalisation of sports competition and the globalisation of spectatorship on the back of spectacular progress in the global travel and communication industries. because it begins to suggest certain characteristics of ‘sport’ as so defined: institutionalisation. ‘custom and practices’). for national and international success). This paper will have at the forefront of its attention those games that are sports. For we may ask how violence relates to the practice of sport. Sports are now realising that to survive and flourish in the modern world they must make themselves attractive to this wide and heterogeneous audience. some claim. what we mean by ‘violence’). and whether one can have a sports practice in which violence occurs. of course. either!). This has required: (i) ever greater rule clarity (so as to avoid cross-cultural misunderstanding. so that we might have some idea of the object of my attention: sports are rule-governed competitions wherein physical abilities are contested. and thus suggest arguments that may be raised against violence. resolve So: we are in this ‘new’ situation. The results of violence. for sponsors. Obviously. The ‘problem of violence’ in sport is paradoxical because.g. (suggesting ‘contract to contest’) obligation to abide by the rules that the activity was freely chosen. aggression is a quality required in sport (especially at the highest levels). Let me offer a preliminary attempt to stipulate a rough and ready definition of ‘sport’.

because there is no suggestion here of a necessary forcefulness.to be aggressive.. maintaining or defending a cause.but our topic is often swiftly side-tracked by conceptual confusion. etc.231) says: Each person is born with a capacity and a need to move against his environment . but both are served by force. We are reminded of an observation of Wittgenstein’s (1968.vigorous (trying to gain advantage by sheer force) . is forceful. Even more confusion follows. p. However. vigorous behaviours (p108). Violence . there is the sense of affirming or insisting upon one’s rights. 91). however. is very unfortunate. Aggression and Violence In the standard texts of sports psychology the idea of violence is usually raised in the context of studies of aggression. Aggression is: . since within a few lines we get aggression. though problem and method pass one another by. 1. 232): For in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion . or excellence. 3. violence.offensive (in the sport context: battling for the ball) . Alderman (1974. or human flourishing. eliding as it does the two concepts. protecting or vindicating oneself. in everyday life. Assertion. p. Assertion Some see the biological organism as active. p. according to context. positive. and so our first task must be to clarify what is at issue here. 2. so that we can see just what is a threat. with very little attempt to distinguish between them. or a pre-condition of existence. Aggression Aggression.proactive (striking first) Such features may all be morally exceptionable or unexceptionable. The existence of the experimental method makes us think that we have the means of solving the problems which trouble us. Such an interest is conditioned by the natural concerns of psychologists . assertiveness (Cratty p100). Let us begin with some of these basic concepts. but all are usually permitted according to the rules of team sports. Some see a possibility of defensive as well as offensive aggression.In the last paragraph you will have noticed that I ran together the two ideas: aggression and violence. and see if some informed conceptual stipulation might be useful. hostility (p106). The initial willingness of psychologists to accept a definition of ‘aggression’ as (for example) ‘direct physical contact accompanied by the intent to do bodily harm’ (Cratty. and see ‘aggression’ as a basic biological drive. I prefer to call this capacity ‘assertiveness’ or ‘self-assertion’. I did this to illustrate the way in which these two ideas often are confused.. or are thought to be related in important ways. and why. Rather. 1983.

simply to note that it has often been thought reasonable in the political sphere to reserve the epithet ‘violent’ for illegitimate acts. as well as attempts to harm. since it is their violent nature that is at issue. is centrally to do with intentional hurt or injury to others. If the above account were to hold for “combat sports”. however. This is precisely the site of the most intractable problem over political violence (civil disobedience/revolution/terrorism). . But there is a difficulty here.) Of course. p. violence. precisely on the ground that its rules provide for such violence. violence in a sport might be seen as: (i) harm or injury to others (or attempted harm) (ii) which is against the rules. The problem with this is that we would have to stop using the word ‘sport’ in relation to boxing. not all or any violent acts will be permitted. would not admit of intentionally inflicted damage. and so there will be rules distinguishing illegitimate from legitimate violence (e. the resisting suspect. or inflict serious physical damage. A real ‘sport’. “violence” is a term which one does not apply of the police . are deemed by some to be beyond the pale. physical force is called “force” when authorised and regarded as legitimate.) Let us try to discover a term we might use to describe this category of sports which.g.’ This echoes Marcuse’s words: ‘In the established vocabulary.and possibly some forms of boxing. but to refuse to allow that boxing is a ‘sport’. no matter how aggressive or forceful the legitimate agencies are. bull-fighting. the rabbit punch in boxing). ‘Violent sports’ might be entirely appropriate. recklessness as to harm. but I favour the more emotive tag ‘blood sports’. and “violence” otherwise: the arresting officer employs force. Since such injury is very often seen as illegitimate. 75) to the action Now.but this just highlights the issue. (Some detractors call them ‘so-called sports’ . Another possible response to this difficulty might be to acknowledge that boxing is indeed violent. fishing. and negligence. since many combat sports outlaw intentional injury. legitimacy has often been seen as an important ethical issue in sport. Accordingly. However much we disapprove of field sports. bear-baiting. it is quite possible to be aggressive without being violent. we still call them sports. c. I’m thinking of hunting. For the criterion most often offered for distinguishing violent acts has been their legitimacy. in fact. A third possible response to the difficulty might be to reserve our descriptions for only one class . shooting. Van den Haag says: ‘The social meaning of physically identical actions are often distinguished verbally. A player can be both forceful and vigorous without seeking to hurt or harm anyone. b. this would require the counter-intuitive notion that very hard punches aimed at knocking someone out do not constitute ‘violence’ so long as they are delivered legally.Just as it is possible to be assertive without being aggressive. ‘Combat sports’ won’t do it.. for present purposes. (This was.. or where death or injury is an inevitable or frequent outcome. whereas it is (and always has been) archetypally a sport. we do not need to take a view on who is right here. Violence. the line taken by a BMA spokeswoman in the BBC ‘Sportsnight’ programme following the McLellan title fight incident to be discussed later. because they permit intentionally inflicted injury. Thus.’ (1969. it might be held. There are three possible responses to this difficulty: a. which I define as those whose aim is either to kill.

aggression where the goal is injury to some object is known as anger or reactive aggression. the distinction between instrumental and reactive aggression. . as a means. instrumental aggression is intended to inflict harm (and so counts as reactive for Cratty). This suggests that we should delete the criterion: ‘which is against the rules’ from this category. sometimes. It also suggests that we need one more category: 4. (This discussion mirrors the discussion in law of the distinction between direct and oblique intention: in order to shoot my victim. Did I intend to break the glass? . I have an ‘ultimate goal’ beyond harming someone. But the problem with this is that the meaning of the word ‘violence’ would then have to differ across classes. recklessness as to harm. for in both cases the ‘goal’ is injury to someone. For example. Instrumental and Reactive Aggression There are other instructive conceptual issues raised in the psychology literature.see Duff.’ Now. 100) proposes a ‘. This is not a person striking out in anger or frustration. discrimination between aggression that is not excessive nor intended to inflict harm.. p. whereas boxing allows violence. the account of violence as illegitimate harm works only within the class of team sports. (instrumental aggression) and aggression that is excessive and intended to harm others (reactive aggression). Instrumental aggression is not a response to frustration and does not involve anger. not across classes. I take it) and resolves. In Martens (1975. which would be confusing. to injure his opponent. or in boxing. violence may be justifiable (in war. All team sports allow aggression. where ‘violence’ within bounds is legitimate). but also reactive aggression (since the goal is injury to someone). and negligence. on Martens’ account. the intention to injure has a ‘further intention’ . or revolution. in my example. Clearly. 1990.to win. pp. or terrorism. p.of sports. but a person coldly intent on harm to another. in instrumental intention.’ My example can’t be dealt with by using Cratty’s distinction. as well as attempts to harm. If his reply is to insist that reactive aggression is not a means to something else. Let us simply insist that violence is centrally to do with intentional hurt or injury to others. I had to fire through the window. which is reported in many texts. imagine a player who wants to win a match (a non-aggressive goal. it does not follow that I did not intentionally harm someone when I did so as a means to winning. A second example reinforces the point: Cratty (1983. 111) we read: ‘Aggression occurring in the achievement of non-aggressive goals is known as instrumental aggression. If this is a credible example it collapses the distinction for. For there. Further: just because. Illegitimate violence For. Illegitimate violence must be characterised as the attempt to harm by the use of illegitimate force. this would be both instrumental aggression (since it is a means to an end). but only ever an and in itself (a working-out of my anger or frustration). then he must drop the contrast he proposes. In contrast.. It’s just that.

but whose means are taken in the knowledge of risk or foresight of probable injury. especially if it is difficult in practice to distinguish the two in sporting situations. but it is also clearly instrumental. and for which we are culpable. Gratuitous Violence One further point is raised: whether or not an act uses ‘excessive’ aggression seems irrelevant to the distinction. Reckless challenges are those whose intent may be to gain advantage. But this account has its own problems. 54) makes a similar distinction (between instrumental and expressive violence) that avoids this problem. and yield productive insights. Now. but on the wider concepts of culpability and responsibility. for the person who is thumped in the mouth. in the sense that it uses ‘physical violence illegitimately in pursuit of success’. he claims. has decreased in rugby due to the ‘civilising’ of the game through a developing system of rules.2) retaliating. even of preplanning’ (p. but also about which acts and omissions we should be held responsible for. there is a genuine moral problem involving what might be called gratuitous violence: when violence exceeds what is necessary for its success. For him. Imagine my getting caught in a tackle and. 54) the use of ‘physical violence illegitimately in pursuit of success’. I experience a sudden burst of anger that impels me to shove my opponent off the ball. 65).g. A reckless or careless (negligent) driver may have no intent to injure someone. Instrumental violence will often be accompanied by important affective elements. a strong affective component’ but is motivated ‘by a desire for revenge rather than by pleasure in the violence per se’ (p. ‘Expressive’ means (p. Negligent challenges are those undertaken without appropriate due care for others. I don’t hate my opponent . After all. whether used instrumentally or not. for the distinction between instrumental and expressive does not correspond to the distinction between the rational and the non-rational. it doesn’t much matter whether it was done instrumentally or reactively. We need to rely not just on the concept of intention. p. I think that it has been of some value. for my instrumental aggression might be excessive in the extreme.I just want to get past him. which has ‘.74ff. etc). and simply applied it directly to sport. Should the same apply in sport? A reckless or negligent challenge may maim as well as an intentionally injurious one. This kind of violence. Dunning’s distinction captures this insight. However. but is held to some degree culpable nevertheless.. assuming that it will ‘fit’.1 gaining pleasure from ‘the physical intimidation and infliction of pain on opponents’. whilst still being delivered with cool efficiency (not in anger. The problem is this: given the instrumental nature of sport. . This kind of violence.g. We should ask questions not just about intention. has increased in rugby due to increasing competitiveness and rewards. in struggling to get free with the ball. 54) ‘non-rational and affective’: e. Sports psychologists seem to have taken one of the canons of the literature from the parent discipline related to aggression in humans generally. ‘instrumental’ means (p. a very large proportion of acts of violence will fall into a third category (of instrumental/expressive actions). and may involve ‘a large element of rational calculation.). Recklessness and Negligence There are further interesting problems arising from injuries which are caused instrumentally. but not through full-blown intention.. but that it obscures more than it reveals. and expressive violence will often be in the service of instrumental goals. he claims. this is non-rational and affective behaviour. 65). penalties and controls. Instrumental and Expressive Violence Dunning (1993b. Or (e.

Now. I wish to consider here only physical aggression and violence.and these may be performed vigorously or not. forcefully. For although intention involves bringing about a result which I intend (or act . creation of an atmosphere of threat. Notice the distinction between ‘hurt’ and ‘harm’. Such an interest is conditioned by the natural concerns of sociologists . liability. Duff emphasises the difference between intending a result. for reasons of simplicity. uncertainty. furiously. For example. Chap. an act of violence is identified not by the manner of its execution. distress. energetically. we can see what both views are getting at. but merely because. Aggressive acts are those acts marked by vigour. This is not because the psychological varieties are unimportant. such as injury. My central concern will be with the nature and justification of player violence during the match. However. (b) Intention All of this raises fundamental questions about intentionality. I do not think that they are very successful. The Nature of Violence Not all acts of violence are violent acts. strike. vehemently. etc. for example . recklessness. nor could they be without a more careful analysis of the ideas of intention and responsible agency. In some sports. Almost any human act may be performed in a more or less violent manner vigorously. Acts of aggression. . are attacks or assaults on others . strongly. etc. however.may be an act of violence. insecurity. Violence and Intention In the standard texts of sports sociology the idea of violence is usually raised in the context of studies of deviance. Psychological violence and physical intimidation are borderline practices. whilst not necessarily being a violent act.threat of violence. hooliganism and crowds. 1982. I am using ‘hurt’ here to mean ‘give pain to’. give a blow to’ and ‘harm’ to mean ‘injure. However. negligence. 1). We want to notice the moral difference between various kinds of act. There’s a functional aspect to this (it’s a physical contest. that’s all part of the game!). and hard challenges debilitate). Two issues immediately arise: (a) Psychological Violence and Intimidation This means that verbal intimidation. and so on. but by the human consequences flowing from it. damage’. I shall seek to side-step issues to do with psychological aggression and violence. nor because they are rare in sport. but also a psychological challenge (let’s see whether and how they stand up to it!). it is regarded as ‘part of the game’ (acceptable within the culture) to ‘shake them up a bit’ so long as that is: (a) within the rules (b) with no intent actually to harm (although if you hurt the opponent a bit. offensiveness and proactivity. suffering. We should also posit a parallel distinction between aggressive acts and acts of aggression. and the above distinctions are attempts to capture that elusive quality. ‘knock. However. to which we now turn. etc. and not all violent acts are acts of violence (see Harris.but I am not here concerned directly with the behaviour of nonparticipants. and bringing a result about intentionally. sometimes acceptable as ‘custom and practice’ in certain sports settings.

with the intention of bringing about).e. But. It is this kind of harm (disregard for the autonomy and bodily integrity of others) that is the essence of rape. or of a particular rule or practice within a sport. however. Audi et al 1971. there are obvious consequential harms which we aim to prevent.choosing to take an unreasonable risk . which can take the forms of: . These two aspects of intention are related to two different. it is not clear that death is the harm which the crime of murder seeks to prevent. so that harms may be identified independently of the conduct which causes them. Is the harm to be seen in consequentialist terms (my falling to the ground) or in non-consequentialist terms (my being tripped by another)? That is to say: should we be thinking in terms of outcomes or intentions? Think carefully.the Ethics of Violence Justifications of violence are often to be found in the literature on political violence (see Arendt H 1969. even in non-consequentialist terms. but nevertheless intentionally. Justification .acting on the unreasonable belief that there is no risk. it also extends beyond this. for we are also responsible for the intentions that structured the act we performed. even in murder. this distinction is instructive. referees usually give penalties for reckless challenges. the character of the harm is different. for example.failing to notice an obvious risk . and therefore no penalty should be awarded. it is difficult to see how these concerns might legitimately be expressed through acts of violence during . For example. Should you not be held responsible for that? Duff’s reply would be that there are indeed occasions on which we should be held responsible for our intentional actions which have results that we did not intend. If there are concerns about the ethical nature of a particular sport. there is no foul. With other crimes. Imagine in soccer a penalty awarded for tripping. central to the idea of rape is not the consequentialist idea of an occurrence but that of a human action (structured by a particular intention) which attacks the sexual integrity and autonomy of the victim. In murder. but on the intentions which structure the act. that is. but I suffer the same consequence if lightening strikes me dead. for faults that fall short of intention). And don’t you suspect that. in the absence of good evidence about intentions. conflicting. unless the trip were intentional. moral conceptions of responsible agency: consequentialist and non-consequentialist accounts. referees very often judge simply on outcomes? You made contact with me and tripped me. What the rapist intends is not “to have consensual intercourse” but simply “to have intercourse”. The non-consequentialist finds an intrinsic moral significance in intended action. Rule JB 1989). Applied to sport. a significance which depends not on its intended consequences. for the rules actually say that. In murder. but I do so because someone tries to kill me (attacks my life and my basic rights). Honderich T 1980. The consequentialist sees the rightness or wrongness of an action as depending only on the goodness and badness of its consequences. and even for negligent ones (i. I die. However. to include results which I bring about not with intent. But these justifications all refer (as they must) to the ethical limitations of de facto political authorities. The outcome is that I was denied a proper opportunity to score. In cases of alleged recklessness the test of responsible agency proposed by Duff is that of ‘practical indifference’. It is true that if murdered I die.

Violence involves the pursuit of interests in situations where legitimate forms of activity have failed... borderline violence. and violence governed traditionally by criminal statutes and criminal prosecution (see Hughes. . Types of Sports Violence Smith (1983) divides sports violence into four types. Violence stands in the way of a proper equality of opportunity to contest.. But it does this in such a way as to fundamentally overturn the expectations on which a game proceeds (rules. violence governed traditionally by case law in civil court procedures. rather than justifications). it works (achieves the end). and it fails to respect the rules of the contest. and criminal violence. because game rules aren’t moral rules. or seem likely to fail. automatic response) self-defence (‘He was coming for me . custom & practice (‘That’s what’s expected of a professional.’) consent (‘Everyone knows the risks . there are some possible justifications of the resort to violence (although some in this list might better be seen as defences or mitigations. my job was on the line.’) pre-emptive self-defence defence of others duress (‘My coach insisted that I do that . violence for which the rules of the game specify appropriate penalties. There is so much to say here. and it’s legitimate to push them to the limit it’s not a moral issue. respectively violence approved by the rules of the game.a match. but I must make do here with a simple list: non-intentional (‘I went for the ball . then what’s wrong with violence in sport is: (a) what’s wrong with rule-breaking (b) what’s (in addition) especially wrong with violence: (i) Intention to harm (ii) Failing to accord proper respect to opponents (iii)Failing to uphold the laws and conventions of the sport. 1984... quasi-criminal violence.’) preventing an offence provocation (retaliation) lack of an adequate authority (the referee’s ‘lost it’) rules are unclear.’) What’s wrong with offering violence? If violence is ‘against the rules’. brutal body contact. etc)... fair play. These types of sport violence include.’) non-premeditated (spur of the moment. It does this in order to: to gain an advantage to intimidate to force withdrawal to enforce a contest on abilities not specified in the game’s constitutive rules to challenge to the referee’s claim to a monopoly on the use of sanctions However.. (iv) Failing to maintain the institution (breaking the rules of the practice) That is to say: some forms of violence conflict with the requirements of sport.

rugby.continuing relationship rationale . whereas I’m more interested in a Sport Education and Development approach. 4. debilitating injury or death are often involved.and there are serious disputes at this level: over the current level of violence over whether violence is increasing or not over whether there is reason to suppose that things look set to improve in the near future. Permanent. a sport can change its character very quickly indeed. that whatever we say next will be reliant on certain empirical claims about how those sports are . though prohibited by the formal rules of a sport. 3. Some Examples Smith’s account needs applying in different situations. 2 Borderline violence These are assaults which. Quasi-criminal violence Violates not only formal rules of sport.applying criminal law to sport is judged inappropriate and ineffective. one automatically accepts: . and he looks at sport through the lenses of deviance theory. Brutal body contact It is taken for granted that when one participates. and 2. now increasingly follow. penalties seldom exceed brief suspensions and/or a fine. whereas my focus has been rather on 1.probability of minor bodily injury . is brought to the attention of top league officials: penalties range from several games suspension to life-man ban. American football. rare in the past. firstly. or whether organised sport is on the decline and facing oblivion.community sub-group rationale . Any sport might already be about to respond with a few simple rule changes to negate the source of whatever criticism we might offer - . occur routinely and are more or less accepted by players and fans.p79). They are essentially the province of referees and umpires. Usually results or could have resulted in a grave injury.). Nevertheless. but also informal norms of player conduct. Court and criminal proceedings.inevitability of contact . etc. his schema offers a further insight into how we might approach particular examples. Smith is more concerned with criminal aspects of violence in sport (3. and 4.about what is actually happening in them . Practices may strain formal rules of sport but do not necessarily violate them. Secondly. and rationales for virtual immunity from criminal prosecution include: . boxing? We must remember. Criminal violence Violence so serious and obviously outside the boundaries of what can be considered ‘part of the game’ that is handled from the outset by the law. How does it help us to understand soccer. 1.possibility of serious injury.

But these things are a matter of degree. People may get hurt in the course of the game due to the extreme nature of honourable physical combat. If it is a fair tackle. for example. Having said that. Assertion is necessary at all times.presumably in order to outlaw those acts of violence previously permitted: intentional attacks on knees. it is not a sport of violence. let’s look at a few practical applications of the above thoughts. Sometimes commentators may be heard to criticise a tackle as ‘too hard’ (for which I think we might read ‘too aggressive’).e. so it may serve as a good example for us. but if it is true that the rules of this sport allow for the intentional harming of others. then any such collusion risks bringing the game into disrepute. 3. is violent). But I think that the above analysis means that there is no such thing as a tackle that is too hard. Games like soccer are essentially exercises in controlled aggression. American Football Hughes (1984) says: ‘.e. If the rules actually don’t. and aggression is permitted in pursuit of legitimate ends. and see how they fare when tested against examples. 2. 1. to the disadvantage of all. in North American football each play may involve a number of players in violent behaviour that is completely legitimate under the rules of the game and under law. then perhaps they will require revision. ‘Hardness’ and ‘aggression’ are not against the rules . If the rules prohibit acts of violence. Perhaps by ‘violent’ Hughes is referring to violent acts. so the case against acts of violence is simply that they are illegitimate. or is reckless as to his safety (i. not to hurt people.’ Now. too aggressive). for part of the game seems to be to overcome others simply by violent force. I’m not well-informed about the game of American football. In any event. Amongst players. That said. Soccer At every instant in the game of soccer. However. along with boxing.so what we say might already be out of date. it can’t be too hard (i. so as not only to bring the opponent down. many knees were broken. and a rule change was implemented . If this is true. although rugby might be a violent sport. not acts of violence.but violence is. aimed at the ball. Rugby Here is a game which many see as violent. but the aim of the game (and the way to win it) is to score points. in distinction to what ‘custom and practice’ appears to be... One way of expressing this thought is to argue that. I am of course referring to what official sets of rules appear to say. unless the hardness involves intentional injury to another. possession of the ball is being contested. violent and dangerous play are strictly against the rules. I understand that it was formerly often the practice to tackle at or below the knee. . but also to break his knee. then hard questions must be asked about the moral basis of custom and practice. then it might qualify as a Type 4 violence sport. there may exist a ‘code of silence’ which prohibits the reporting of acts of violence witnessed.

I suppose its status as a Type 4 violence sport will depend on the amount and kind of acts of violence which remain permitted by the rules of the game. including the presence of four doctors. and a BBBC official mounted a spirited defence of the sport. where he had a blood clot removed from his brain shortly after arrival. why should it not be permitted? You must say: either that it is permissible. but rewards ultimately the causing of grievous or actual bodily harm. 4 in cricket. etc. I think. or that it is impermissible for some reason . Leave aside for the moment the fact that these are not properly weighted statistics . A knock-out is a final knock-down. The statistics given on the Sportsnight programme were that over the previous 9 years in Britain there were 94 deaths in horse riding. one an anaesthetist (although the very necessity for such precautions is itself evidence of foreknowledge of risk to life. Many other dangerous as boxing. BBBC officials were very quick on the night to explain the detailed precautions taken. effects and probabilities of injury. Frank Warren.) On BBC1 News the next night (1995a) a promoter. McClellan was counted out whilst not unconscious. 1995b): 1. If it were possible with one blow to decapitate one’s opponent (let us call this move the ‘knock-off’). You lose your capacity for empathy. and only 2 in boxing. and people die every year in many different sports. also provide a criterion for banning head punching at all. 2. if so.which reason would. this would not be against the rules nor the spirit of the rules. degree. which dramatically exposes the sport’s rationale. The Special Case of Boxing . 4. whose aim is to score points. As soon as he reached his corner it became clear that something was badly wrong. It becomes a value to cause pain (it becomes integrated into your personality). but boxing also not only permits. The knock-off would simply be a more final and spectacular way of ending the fight than a simple knock-out. but down on one knee. Nigel Benn (‘The Dark Destroyer’) beat Gerard McClellan by a 10th round KO on 26 February 1995. This is true. too. If the knock-off were possible. should either be cleaned up. sports are as The actual facts of the matter are in some dispute. (BBC2. Consider the following description: You hurt others.or: Blood Sports Proper! Whilst thinking about these issues only a few weeks before the Cardiff conference. and he was rushed to hospital. Boxing should be treated the same as any other risk sport. You ignore your own pain. but also those which are condoned by the culture of the sport as played in the NFL. we should be asking whether it. or become the object of sanctions. And. His condition was critical. 1994) If this is a correct account of one of the perceived values of the sport. I think. Boxing is a skilled sport. Sports medics argue over the precise nature. in the following terms (supplemented by later discussion on BBC1 Sportsnight. then there do seem grounds characterising it as being at least at risk of being considered a blood sport. obviously distressed and blinking heavily.

Surely other sports take care not only to provide for casualties. endurance. has (only!) recently taken particular notice of its own restrictions on tackles around the head and neck. these are interestingly different cases: (a) it’s quite possible to envisage rugby without scrums. Interestingly. If boxing is about skill.it would look just like Rugby League without scrums! (b) A steeplechase.(SOED). . There should be freedom of choice. as in 1. throttling. It is not as if there is no skill in boxing. That’s like having rugby without scrums. formerly. is defined in terms of jumps. the forerunner of both boxing and wrestling. John might hurt someone in cricket. fitness.’ . and I do not think that it would be acceptable as a sport in the modern Olympics. The Professional Boxers’ Association argue for better safeguards (more experts at ringside. above. but you couldn’t have a steeplechase without jumps. etc are created on a racecourse (or a running track. but he won’t get runs or wickets for that. for example. So: you could have rugby without scrums. which was one of the disciplines at the Ancient Olympic Games. a race having a church steeple in view as goal. Could we imagine Rugby League (which already has no line-outs) without scrums? No problem . (c) Now. and death was not an uncommon outcome.and surely this feature of the sport exposes its false appeal to the skill argument. Answer: you can’t have boxing without the head as a target. and each might be dropped without doing away with the game. then shouldn’t we do away with it. Well. or the steeplechase without jumps. Nowadays. endurance. hurting or harming someone so badly that he cannot continue the contest is a sufficient condition of victory . and the activity would go underground rather than wither away.(ignoring as they do participation rates. for very good reasons.these are fighting men. but rather that a boxer might rationally aim at inflicting a simple debilitating injury as a means of winning. and with the promoters who profit from it? Remember pancration. for they are simply irrelevant to the point. etc. So why not take the head out of the target area in boxing? 3.. however. in which allowable body contact was of such an extreme kind that gouging. Most boxers would not know the difference between a scrum and a ruck and a maul. what shall we say about boxing? That boxing without the head as target is a logical nonsense? Or that we could easily envisage a simple rule change that would preserve all that is good about the skill. he might win just by doing that. etc. Indeed. time spent during periods of activity. The argument is not about the facts of injury levels . etc were allowed. in which all intervening obstacles had to be cleared. ambulances on site. all venues within one hour of a properly equipped hospital. etc of boxing except for that proportion of those things relating to the intentional permanent damage of another human being? I vote for the latter. artificial hurdles and water-jumps. The BMA shouldn’t moralise. often.but they don’t argue for the only thing that will help avoid these cases: a ban on head punching. etc) .. But if it is really about the thrill and chill of the ultimate snuff sport. We no longer have pancration. But the definitions of each might all change without detriment to the game. but also to avoid those casualties as far as possible. Rugby. 4. for humans). It means ‘. In boxing. The state shouldn’t ban boxing .but it is a moral argument about the aim of the activity. but only advise on risk. then it can survive such a rule change.).

McLellan keeps pit bull terriers and says he finds knocking someone out better than sex. or both. And. I’d argue. because (for one thing) the rehearsal . and especially one who calls himself ‘The Dark Destroyer’. 5. then there should be less opportunity for it. and so on. One might think alcohol to be an entirely malign influence but nevertheless think that prohibition would be counter-productive. One account of recklessness describes it as ‘conscious risk-taking’. Boxers are getting fitter and are punching harder.Should boxing be banned? Well. or shorter rounds. who would not dare step into a ring. and there does not seem to be a consensus against boxing The general situation seems to be as confused as I am! But.g. The measure of that is (presumably) consensus. In ‘Sudden Impact’. Gloves were invented for the protection of the hands. there are many measures short of prohibition that might be: for example. Now we must return to our earlier (albeit sketchy) account of ‘sport’. If repetition is what does damage. especially live.under constraint and ignorance. it’s not the same thing to argue that something is immoral or unpleasant. if only on the ground of inadequate consent. ensuring that there were no boxing in schools. and yet he went willingly and enthusiastically into battle after careful and serious preparation. One thought: most boxers are (in legal terms) reckless. enforcing controls on the kinds of advertising and promotion of boxing that rely on incitement (the creation of a violent and antagonistic context for the contest). for example. there are practical steps internal to the sport that might be taken towards the reduction of head injuries: a. short of banning boxing. after all.g. That’s what boxing is. there are many ‘expressive’ measures that might be taken in order to make clear our concerns about the activity: e. and especially before very late at night. Some have thought that this factor offers a case for arguing that boxing is not. McLellan took 70 head punches in 10 rounds. to see which criterion is unfulfilled. that professional wrestling isn’t a sport. just like the rest of us? Mill said that we should only prohibit what right-thinking people don’t want to do anyway. and more violent head punches. He most certainly appreciates the riskiness to others of his business (as well as to himself). the pre-fight publicity document. Remember: those who participate in boxing are different from most of us. banning the televising of boxing. McLellan said: ‘You have to go to war and you have to be prepared to die. which is the main cause of brain damage. A professional boxer knows from the outset that it is entirely possible that he will ‘destroy’ his opponent. That is to say: it is almost certain that Benn fully appreciated the risk that he might kill his next opponent. or dropping boxing from the Olympic Games programme (which would be enormously important in reducing the amount of state support for boxing in many countries). not the head. Going back to bare-knuckle fighting. In addition. Alternatively. c. since these are the blows that cause rotation of the skull. a ‘sport’ (e. This is not true of sportspeople in any other sport. the BMA spokeswoman on Sportsnight). fights would be more often stopped for hand injuries. even if absolute prohibition is not justified. especially after Michael Watson’s fate. if it were possible to produce a glove (or other protective gear) that really protected not just the head but also its contents. They permit more head punches. b.’ Don’t such people have the right to make their choices . Outlawing blows to the side of the head (just as we now outlaw blows to the back of the head). so the onslaught must be reduced. and to argue that it should be banned. then such equipment should be made compulsory. Without the gloves. and perhaps he even hopes that he will. Having shorter bouts.

Despite that. pp. though. and just why boxing is immoral. was bashed out of the ring in the first round. ‘duel’ and ‘team sport’ varieties.such that the unreasonableness of boxing adds another dimension to the unjustifiability of the harms it intentionally or recklessly inflicts. Benn. An objection to this is that boxing is a consensual activity. reasonable function than does Russian Roulette or boxing . as the 40-1 outsider. too. lurched around for a while only just surviving and under such intense punching that he might have been knocked out at any time. many of us will remain in the grip of the unresolved contradiction between our sentiments and our moral reason . for fun in argument!) even amongst consenting adults. gripped. I believe that boxing will eventually go the way of pancration. in putting one’s entire self on the line (think of boxing as opposed to other individual sports). My route to a reply (which would have to be worked out in its detail) would both question the validity of ‘consent’ (by analogy with prostitutes or pornographees). and not even soon. Meanwhile.but that’s not such an unusual position for the ethical self to find . After all. if either their rules or their practices permit violence. 143 and 147 . but as well as intentionality another facet of culpability is reasonableness. (On this.the simple moral imperative against an activity not only the outcome but also the object of which is too often the injury. the discipline involved in attaining and maintaining extremely high levels of fitness and endurance. and so on. I think we might rely on the boxer’s ‘willingness to cause intentional harm’ as failing to accord due respect to other participants. incapacitation or even death of a human being. In the case of boxing. I confess to experiencing a classic contradiction: I can see the argument against professional boxing . the facing of injury. what is wrong with rugby or American football.and finally won. even though we are well aware that even careful drivers sometimes kill people. We do. such that due respect is preserved. allow ourselves and others to drive cars.of moves ensures that there is not a proper contest. We can now see that there is nothing necessarily wrong or suspicious about assertiveness or aggression. But not yet. and also deny that consent to possible brain injury or death to oneself should be granted as exonerating the other from disrespect. danger and risk. Meanwhile.especially the case of Shimmen). we should not prohibit it. The issues here are difficult ones. then gradually worked his way courageously and violently back to a kind of equality in a contest of sustained brutality . And yet I also acknowledge the particular virtues of boxing. and perhaps should not be considered a sport. tense. fascinated. I cannot help thinking that the argument that shows boxing to be immoral is nonetheless important as a step towards our eventual collective realisation that this sort of thing has no place in a society which strives towards the eradication of violence in human affairs. Summary This excursion through a series of examples has been most instructive. the absolute reliance on one’s personal resources. we do not permit Russian Roulette to be played (and we might imagine ‘solitaire’. But where do I (and you) stand in all of this? Why was I watching the fight at all? Why did I continue to watch. see Duff. which seem to differ only in degree from the virtues of many other sports: the courage involved in putting oneself on the line (think of individual compared with team sports). Maybe in the context of our lives driving performs a more useful. essential. We can see precisely what is wrong with violence in soccer. although we should signal our disapproval either by selective bans or by other expressive gestures.

10.. pp. When playing sport we exercise our potential for aggression. 45-100) Audi R et al 1971 Violence (New York: D Mackay) BBC1 1995a News 27 Feb 95. finally. more generally. to use this power to control and subjugate the other. 12. 9. and especially in education for non-violence... 19-31) Audi R 1971 ‘On the Meaning and Justification of Violence’ (in Audi R et al.00 pm. to pass the test of power. Citius-altius-fortius is a dangerous enterprise on the threshold of power as aggression. but I want to intimate now a much stronger thesis: that aggression and violence in sport present opportunities for moral education and moral development. But this is.20 pm. May we see more assertive and aggressive people.. . Sports life moves on the demarcation line between aggressiveness and violence. under pressure or provocation. but not. pp. And may sport be an agent of moral change. violence and domination. Sport and Education for Non-Violence I would like to conclude by very briefly exploring the role of aggression and violence in sport in a wider social setting. 144-5) that. this is the ethical challenge that faces humanity: how to harness the motivating forces of aggression into the service of humanity. that the competitive sports situation challenges individuals to develop and use their power and aggressiveness. creative and Sport in Olympic practice is one of the most powerful events transforming aggressiveness to competition as emulation. The questions are: how do we come to terms with our own behaviour and dispositions. BBC1 1995b Sportsnight 1 Mar 95. the immense value of Olympic sports: they challenge people to react. games function as laboratories for value experiments Students are put in the position of having to act. worthy of further consideration.. The settled dispositions which it is claimed emerge from such a crucible of value-related behaviour are those which were consciously cultivated through games in the public schools in the last century.. motivations and propensities? Is there a route from the potentially risky confrontation that sport sometimes is to the development of a self with greater moral resolution? And. I have argued elsewhere (Parry. pp. and we may be tempted by the attractions of violence in pursuit of our aims. So far I have only toyed with the idea that assertion and aggression may not be wholly bad.: is there a possibility for peace and the non-violent conduct of human affairs? As Nissiotis said (1983. Feb 27. precisely. time and time again. BIBLIOGRAPHY Alderman RB1974 Psychological Behaviour in Sport (London: WB Saunders Co) Arendt H 1969 ‘Reflections On Violence’ (NY Review of Books. under a structure of rules. in the educational setting. 1986. either to prevent something or to achieve something. I believe that the impetus and opportunity for values education here is tremendous. sometimes in haste.’ I find it an attractive and intriguing idea. It is a risky affair . pp 106-8): . and less violent ones.itself in.

Agency and Criminal Liability Dunning E 1993b ‘Sport in the Civilising Process’ (in Dunning et al. M.30 pm. pp. pp. 1. NJ: Prentice-Hall. 84. Smith. 95-108 Parry. J 1986 ‘Values in Physical Education’ (in Tomlinson. 8. 39-70) Dunning EG et al1993a The Sports Process (Human Kinetics) Harris J 1982 Violence and Responsibility (London: RKP) Honderich T 1980 Violence For Equality (Harmondsworth and NY: Penguin) Hughes RH 1984 Review of. 134-57) Rule JB 1989 Theories of Civil Violence (Calif: Univ Calif Press) Smith MD 1983 Violence and Sport Toronto: Butterworth & Co Ltd van den Haag E 1972 Political Violence and Civil Disobedience (New York: Harper & Row) Wittgenstein L 1968 Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell) . Cratty BJ 1983 Psychology in Comtemporary Sport Englewood Cliffs. P and Quinton. 1993a.BBC2 1994 On the Line (‘Aggression in Sport’) 5 Sept 94. Values Across the Curriculum Brighton: Falmer Press. pp. 79-83) Marcuse H 1969 An Essay On Liberation (Harmondsworth and NY: Penguin) Martens R 1975 Social Psychology and Physical Activity NY: Harper & Row Nissiotis N 1983 ‘Psychological and Sociological Motives For Violence in Sport’ Proceedings of the International Olympic Academy. MD. pp. Duff A 1990 Intention. Violence and Sport (Sociology of Sport Journal 1.

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