|photo credit: Stefan Tell via photopin cc|
Violence in sports cannot be ignored. Our collective knowledge of the damage done to athletes in certain sports over time has grown to a tipping point. I have even heard some people advocate that such sports as football or boxing are actually immoral and that those who participate, either as competitors or fans, are sinning. Whether or not you feel that strongly, though, we must still ask the question of just how much violence in an athletic contest is OK and how should we respond to it.
First, it is important to make a clear distinction between violence as a byproduct of aggressive competition and violence that is malicious. Players in almost every sport are injured in collisions with one another or in awkward landings that are by no means intentional. These are the inherent risks of physical activity, risks athletes are well aware of. That is why intent matters: Is the goal of the game to cause injury, or do injuries merely happen as a result of the game?
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Are we rooting out of bloodlust and a desire to see someone beaten down, or do we enjoy the intensity of the match, the power, and the high level of skill? Each of us must answer for ourselves while recognizing our propensity for rationalization.
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