You must have seen all those tackling violence messages on sports arenas, as well as the news of charges and arrests of athletes due to domestic violence. If the opposing view confuses you about the relationship between sports and domestic violence, the following shall clarify it.
Domestic Violence Spikes after Sports Events
Many people enjoy watching sports on the TV from their home, but for some, it may mean becoming a domestic violence victim. Some studies have found a link between sports events and a spike in domestic violence reports. According to the studies, the number of domestic violence reports grows right after the end of major football matches for as much as 40%.
There is another study, though, that challenges these allegations. It claims that the data used in the study is not as reliable as it should be, and the link between sports games and domestic violence is not real.
Whatever the truth is, it has to be made clear that sports events do not commit violence. Perpetrators do. Sports events are attractive partly because they dramatize what we need in our own life. There are brave athletes fighting against each other with a purpose of winning something, for themselves, for their team, supporters, and even the whole nation. For some people, however, it means time to show their abusive side.
Some Athletes Are Abusive
Some people are abusive after sports events, and athletes are no exception. There are many bad examples of abusive athletes in professional sports. Football stars, boxing champions, famous basketball players, are as violent as any other random abusers you know.
Many famous athletes have been accused of domestic violence. The list includes, but is not limited to boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, basketball superstar Jason Kidd, soccer player Hope Solo, American football star Ray Rice, and many others.
Some Athletes Have Been Abused
Some athletes have been on the other side of an abusive family or relationship partner. Only a few of them are willing to talk about the events that bring unpleasant memories; hence we don’t know that many athletes have suffered this way before becoming famous or during their career. They may seem powerful on the field, but it doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable in their personal life.
Ruthie Bolton, a former WNBA player, is the best example of this situation. She told espnW Women Sports + Summit her story of being regularly beaten by her then-husband. “I could do whatever I wanted on the basketball court, I could defend an opponent, or hit a big shot, but I couldn’t get a grasp on my personal life. I want people to see that abuse doesn’t have a color or an age or a status. I lived through it and I’m glad I lived to tell about it,” she said.
Some Athletes Fight Domestic Violence
Nowadays, Ruthie Bolton is only one of the several pro athletes who actively fight against domestic violence. Whether with domestic abuse history or not, they are aware of the issue and want to contribute with their authority to curbing it.
NFL star Russell Wilson has started a campaign for donating funds to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Former US soccer player Jillian Loyden, who lost her sister to domestic violence, has founded the Jillian Loyden Foundation to educate children and young people about the devastating effects of violent behavior. Joe Torre, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, set up the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation to fight domestic violence. Every one of them has been inspired by different life events and is now inspiring other people to end the vicious cycle of domestic violence.
Sports Associations Tackle the Issue
Sports associations from all around the world also tackle this issue. Banners calling for an end to violence have become thefolklore of football matches in the last few years. International sports organizations also have dedicated programs to the fight against violence on all levels.
Domestic violence issues have gained lots of media attention in the United States, causing the Big Four federations to (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) address it by forming specialized bodies to tackle domestic violence in their own sport. The number of arrests of pro athletes hasn’t dropped, even though they suspend accused athletes from playing, but at least they are sending the message that something is being done.