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February 23rd, 2011
12:28 PM ET

Violence & Sports

Are sports today too violent?  If so, how would you fix it?

Leave your comments below.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Sports have way too much rules and regulations.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  2. norman mCcart

    I am a little concerned about stansberrys investment comments on end of america 2011. can you briefly comment. norm

    February 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  3. Kevin

    Here's my question, the NFL keeps increasing fines on hard hits and cheap shots to try to protect players from life threatening injuries however the fines might as well be chalked up as straight profit for the NFL. If the NFL truly cared about the damage caused by the hit and not the money they can receive for the fines created, they would make a policy that all player fines related to a hard hit or player misconduct go in to a fund that can be divied into various long term injury prevention research. Better yet, the fines could be put in to a fund that provides the best long term health care for retired NFL athletes and pays for various tests conducted on retired NFL athletes to further research longterm brain injuries. Enacting a policy such as this would really show the athletes that the NFL actually cares about their long term outcome and not on the revenue they can drive in from each athlete by creating a hefty fine for each misstep on the field.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  4. Lyn Helsby

    Besides concussions, there is a much higher incident rate of ALS in football and soccer players. Former Alabama and Philadelphia Eagle fullback, Kevin Turner, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. He played for 8 years with the Eagles and he has been quoted as saying he wished he had quit after 6 years as he was aware of increased head trauma in his final two years of play. Apparently, the NFL has made little effort to provide healthcare/services to players such as Kevin Turner who have these life altering disabilities.

    Soccer players worldwide are regularly concussed as a result of heading the ball multiple times in any one game. Using ones head to redirect a ball moving at a significant rate has resulted in multiple concussions and cases of ALS.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  5. Sisuanna

    Ali, I am a fan, but you are wayyyyy off on your explanation of unions.

    There are two union types - public and private. The public unions use the Public Employee Relations Board to air grievances. The private unions use the National Labor Relations Board.
    Both types negotiate wages, hours and working conditions using their right to collectively bargain.

    The question you should be asking is why Gov. Walker had the National Guard walking the prisons and investigating state buildings, and schools, before this bill came to legislators.

    Your fan,

    February 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  6. Pat Raesch

    Unions: No one seems to be talking about the stability unions provide for families and communities, so I hope you will. Working for a union for 35 years provided a good income, dependability/stability for my four children, not to mention dignity in retirement. Let us not forget that all the protections were forged by unions who do not get the credit due them (40-hr. workweek, sick-leave, vacations, safety to name a few). I cannot imagine telling my young children on a regular basis that I am looking for another job, looking for better pay and spend my life preoccupied with if I will have a job next week instead of focusing on my children's needs and education.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  7. Douglas Rodriguez

    I do think the status quo as it relates to sports has lost focus on its intended purpose which is to overcome human nature's desire for blood and guts; a modern means of bringing civility to what otherwise could be a real battlefield. I'm perplexed and greatly disappointed when I see hockey games erupt into meaningless violence. When youth and other sports mirror the violence, the time for change has come.

    I would fix it by returning sports to its proper focus; by teaching young athletes why sports have value in society. Equal investment both financial and participatory must be given to students of the arts. This perfect blend would fix the problem only if there is mutual appreciation and respect between artists, athletes and the sum of their respective audiences.

    Doug Rodriguez
    Lawrence, KS

    February 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  8. Micah Gestrich

    Sports are historically violent therefore they are of course going to be violent now. People today are way too soft and sensitive to issues. Every time something big happens everyone overreacts. Football is a prime example of this. Some players got concussions and therefore they started enacting rules which essentially told players to play at 80% when they have been told by coaches to play at 120% their whole lives. I would know I played basketball for almost my whole life in middle school. Has anyone in this country played rugby? My old high school in Tennessee used to have the sport and its a lot more brutal than football

    February 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  9. Ben

    I don't believe sports are becoming more violent, but the athletes certainly are. Could the media be to blame for this?

    February 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Jim Rousch

    Did the Romans ever ask a stupid question like that?

    February 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Andrew Prevost

    I assume you are talking primarily about Football and Ice Hockey. The sports are not too violent, but some players are, and the rules are not always credibly enforced. Pro Football is struggling with this right now, but look at the NHL's experience. This was a sport with way too much violence and sanctioned fighting. Fights often occurred because the more minor rules were not properly enforced. This would often occur because of only one official, the Referee, being allowed to call penalties, which meant that things could go on behind his back on many occasions. That built frustration among players and teams and frequently led to fights, usually as a form of self policing. In recent years the NHL has made many changes to rules including the adding of a 2nd Referee and the stricter enforcement of minor penalties, coupled with a re-emphasis on fundamental skills by coaches and players. Stricter medical protocols in case of head injuries and strong fines and suspensions for deliberate violent attacks on the ice. The result has been a faster, more exciting game, with far less fighting and intentional injury. Consequently the popularity of the sport has grown tremendously during those years and the NHL is in its strongest position ever. The NFL needs to continue to focus in this direction, but a re-emphasis of fundamentals by coaches and players is still lacking. Far too often we see guys going for the explosive hit on defense rather than trying to "make the tackle." While the big hits look exciting, these often lead to injuries, and sometime the failure to wrap players up leads to big plays for the offense. Not what the defense intended for sure. Given time the NFL will work out these issues. In addition, better research and more effort put in to equipment design is improving safety and will likely continue to do so.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  12. codebreaker212p

    Wow, are you seriously asking people this? Sports have been around since the beginning of time. Seriously, stop and think to yourself how ridiculous this question sounds..

    February 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  13. dan

    Sports in general are not too violent, football on the other hand has become to violent as the players have gotten stronger and faster. Better living through chemistry doesn't exist in football ....Stop PED's! While other sports have taken a tough stance football seems to turn the other cheek when their players test positive and it has become part of the culture of football. Look at the changes in weight of this year's superbowl teams compared to teams from 10 and 15 years ago....this is a problem that has been around for a while but is getting much much worse as the drugs get better.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  14. Gordon Vessels

    It has been my prediction that an NFL receiver will be killed before the Commisioner and others take one simple and rather obvious step to prevent it: establish a rule that the tackler must be in the process of wrapping the receiver up with his arms when contact is made and must not make contact with his helmet first. Contact with arms and helmet simultaneously or arms only would be acceptable. This simple change will prevent the high-speed spearing that is going on now. The bottom line is that the Commissioner realizes viewers find this spearing thrilling and knows that preventing it will reduce viewership. He is gambling with players' lives.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  15. Ryan G.

    As an athlete (ice hockey), i do not view sports as violent as they "can be." For example, Ice hockey has come very far since the 1970s where players did not wear helmets and had soft pads. We now have strict rules in place that allow athletes to play the game without going over the edge. There also have been major improvements in padding and adjustments to the sports that have helped prevent injuries that were once an issue (and still are today). So to answer your question Ali... Yes, sports are violent but not over the top. If there we're one way to fix it i would say to place more rules in the sport and higher fines to players who break the rules. If players were fined 500,000+ they would be less likely to break the rules

    February 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  16. Kate

    My 12 year old daughter tore her acl last summer. The injury was not a result of violence though perhaps on too great an emphasis on high level play at a young age. She plays very competitve soccer and basketball. After surgery July 1 and months of rehab, she was allowed to return to sports in Jan. Last week, she was playing in a middle school basketball game at her Catholic school. They were playing another Catholic school. As she is the best ball handler on our team and the point guard, she was fouled quite a bit. At one point, a girl pushed her so hard from bdehind that she fell forward and slid halfway across the court. The girl got a technical foul, but her parent coach told her "good foul, do it again." My daughter also wears a very conspicuous titanium brace. Do I think sports are becoming too betcha when i see this happen in a school game with 7th and 8th grade girls. Ridiculous..where are the lessons in good sportsmanship? Hard to say if professional violence is seeping downward, but certaily tolerance of violence is way too high!

    February 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  17. John Katrichis

    Unlike 15-25 years ago, the powers that be seem to care about violence in sports. Fights are stopped at the first indication of injury and pro football seems very concerned about head injuries. Jack Tatum's hit on Darrell Stingley was legal at the time it happened. I think Jack Tatum would be suspended for life if it happened now. Never, ever, ever again will you see a display of barbarism that occurred years ago in a heavyweight prize fight between Ken Norton and Jerry Quarry where I was yelling at the top of my lungs at my TV to stop the fight. I believe that fight, and the referee's reluctance to stop it, resulted in permanent brain damage to Jerry Quarry.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  18. Brandon

    The answer to your question is simple when it comes to football we need to make a better helmet! The helmet should have more support or a better design to prevent concussions. Shouldn't be too hard to do right? Try motorcycle helmets! LOL

    February 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  19. Richard

    OK, I guess we are talking about Football and the shear force delivered when players make contact with each other as part of the game...many times the force comes from the helmet used as an instrument to make a tackle on men of considerable weight and strength running at speeds fast enough to dent many hard surface materials. It might be considered "concussive" in nature and part of the reason I as a red blooded American male decided to forgo the sport, but this is because blocking and tackling is get paid enormous sums of money for playing professional football, they get medical benifits as any business might cover their personnel. In my job, sales, I drive as part of my routine...dodging people in cars and trucks who could care less that I am on my way to see a client, they don't look or are on the cell phone as they direct a 3000 pound and up vehicle going all over the road, ingnoring traffic signs and traffic as if they are the only one there....I do not get paid as no one wants to see me work. I guess it comes down down to knowing the risk it takes to do your job from the moment you "sign" on as a professional. I trid to avoid it, but I guess I can't, "that is why they pay them the big bucks!?!"

    February 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  20. Ian

    Take off the pads and helmets, and play rugby like the rest of the world. Head injuries are rare simply because you don't lead with your head in a rugby tackle, nor do you aim at the head [completely illegal; you'd get ejected].

    [And Lyn, soccer players don't get concussion from heading the ball, where did you make that one up from...?]

    February 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm |

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