V for Victory or V for Violence?

September 7, 2012

In the athletic world, especially football, it seems aggression is the name of the game. The National Football League has undergone much scrutiny this past year after a number of current and former players suffered from severe injuries, most commonly to the head. These severe head injuries have serious consequences and are believed to be the reason some players have taken their own lives after retirement.

It is interesting to think about what changes in football rules could be made, and how long those changes would last. Yes, football holds the title as the toughest sport in America, but if violence were monitored how would it affect the game of football and its viewers?

A poll done by the Washington Post found that nearly 9 in 10 fans say reports about head injuries and their effects would not make much difference in their plans to watch games this fall. Thirty-five percent of fans say they would enjoy football more if there were fewer hard hits, but thirty-nine percent said they would like it much less.

Although the NFL discussed and implemented many ideas to make football a little safer, fans may not have noticed the harder hits that were being made last season. In March, the NFL revealed that assistant coach Gregg Williams had instigated a bounty program for the New Orleans Saints. Players were rewarded for intentional, violent hits on the field. Participating players and Williams put money towards a payout system, wherein a bonus was awarded to players who deliberately hit or injured opposing players.

The players were suspended among other penalties. The players appealed the decision and just today, September 7th, a NFL panel of appeals vetoed the penalties against the four current and former Saints players. The new ruling pretty much says the players are allowed to play again, and eventually someone else will decide penalties, if any. The current players can go back on the field and the former player can resign and play immediately. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, one of players in the case, tweeted “Victory is mine!”

The football field is not the only place where NFL players have expressed their aggressive ways. Less than a month ago, former Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver, Chad Johnson was arrested on domestic violence charges. Johnson was fired from the Miami Dolphins, however, it is unclear whether any other teams will hire him. In his case, it is very unlikely because this isn’t his first offense with domestic abuse and his situation was widely publicized in the media. However, there are many lower scale players that commit violence or abuse outside of the sport, and are allowed to continue to play their game—by paying a few fines and going on suspension.

Is violence so engraved in American society that despite efforts to end excessive violence in sports, it will still be acceptable and even rewarded by fans of the game?

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