Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Violence and Aggression in Sport

It has been said of sport, "It does not create the conditions for war, but it does maintain the possibility of those conditions, and adds its own efficiency to the other forces which produce a social order in which trails of strength are seen as part of the natural course of things" (Holt, 2000, p. 88). George Orwell (1950) once made the observation, "Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence; in other words it is war minus the shooting." Competitive sports, such as football, basketball, and baseball may involve aggressive tactics, but actual violence is considered to fall outside the boundaries of good sportsmanship. Contact sports, such as American football, ice hockey, rugby football, boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, and water polo involve certain levels of physical violence, but include restrictions and penalties for excessive and dangerous use of force. The overt physical actions that take place in sports can be described as both aggression and violence (Kerr, 2002, p. 68). These actions take place for many reasons, and can become dangerous to those participating in the sport, as well as spectators of the competition. These aspects of physical interaction between players/fans has been subdivided into two separate types of action (Brink, 1995). In describing the rugby union, Brink (1995) does a good job of highlighting the difference between the two types of aggression and violence:

Because the game is so relentless by its very nature, the borders between the permissible and the inadmissible are not always very clear-cut. Both are inherently violent. But surely the distinction between hard play and foul play lies in the resort of the latter to violence of an underhanded, malicious, treacherous kind. It is a condition of foul play that is not supposed to come to light, to be exposed, because it is not directed to the enfolding of the game but to the private goals of rage or revenge, to 'get at' a specific opponent, to 'prove' oneself. It foregrounds the individual, not the team. (p. 29)

In Brink's quote, the terms 'permissible ' and 'hard play' refer to acts of violence within the laws of rugby union. Conversely, 'inadmissible' and 'foul play' refer to acts of violence outside the laws of the game. (Kerr, 2002, p. 70) While trying to define aggression, behavior with intent to injure has been given great emphasis by some: (Tenenbaum, Sacks, Miller, Golden, & Doolin, 2000, p. 317)

Aggression is defined as the infliction of an adverse stimulus, physical, verbal, or gestural, upon one person by another. Aggression is not an attitude, but behavior and, most critically, it is committed with the intent to injure (LeUnes & Nation,1989). (Tenenbaum, Stewart, Singer, & Duda, 1997, p. 1)

Physically aggressive acts, like blocking in American Football, regular tackles in rugby, and body checks in ice hockey, can be ferociously violent actions yet be both within the rules of the games and not intended to injure. In addition, this critical element of intent to injure is controversial and not as all encompassing as Tenenbaum et al. (2000; and some others e.g., LeUnes & Nation, 1989) claim (Kerr, 2002, p. 70).

Violent and aggressive action outside the rules and regulations of game play, and the punishment regulated for such acts, is clearly apparent in the outcome of Marty McSorley's slash to Donald Brashear. Then Boston Bruin slashed then Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear with a heavy blow from his stick on the side of his face. Brashear fell to the ice and the back of his head struck the ice, causing a grade three concussion and a grand malls seizure. Brashear was not near the puck at the time McSorley's unsanctioned violent act took place. In addition to receiving a one-year ban from playing, McSorley was prosecuted in a British Colombia court and found guilty of "assaulting Donald Brashear with a weapon, a hockey stick." The guilt verdict was based on the judge's decision that "Brashear was struck as intended" (p. 70). deciding 'intent' is an clear process, it is the subjective meaning of the particular behavior to the individual concerned that is important and, therefore, the only person who really knows whether or not there was any intent to injure is the person who carried out the action (Russell, 1993; Smith, 1983). Based on an interview with McSorley, Kennedy (2000) pointed out that McSorley was aiming his blow at Brashear's shoulder to provoke a fight and that he never meant to hit Brashear in the head. "'Yes I meant to slash him,' says McSorley, 'did I mean to hurt him with my stick? No.'" (Kennedy, 2000, p. 60). Video evidence confirms that his blow first struck Brashear on the shoulder before making contact with his face. Thus, although this was an act of unsanctioned aggression, if what McSorley said is true, it was not undertaken with the intent to injure. This aspect of violence and aggression creates an atmosphere of 'I didn't mean it' actions possibly being passed over as accidental, which could be extremely dangerous and unfair to the victim of the violent/aggressive act.

In attempting to produce a satisfactory definition of aggression and violence in sport, it is necessary to take into account the special status that sanctioned aggression and violence hold in sport, which distinguishes them from aggression and violence in most other contexts (Kerr, 2002, p. 71). Another definition of aggression and violence in sports as regards to the agreement for competition is:

In general, aggression can be seen as unprovoked hostility or attacks on another person which are not sanctioned by society. However, in the sports context, the aggression is provoked in the sense that the two opposing teams have willingly agreed to compete against each other. Aggression in team contact sports is intrinsic and sanctioned, provided the plays remain permissible within the boundaries of certain rules, which act as a kind of contract in the pursuit of aggression (and violence) between consenting adults (Kerr, 1997, p. 115-116).

Kerr (2002, p. 72) goes on to argue that, "controversial as it may sound", it should be reemphasized that sanctioned violence and aggression are a necessary part of team contact sports, and those who take part know that there are risks of physical injury and sometimes even death. This is similar to participation in other types of risk sport (e.g., skiing, snowboarding, motorcycle racing; Chirivella & Martinez, 1994; Cogan & Brown, 1998; Kerr, 1991; Zuckerman, 1983) where athletes also participate in spite of the high level of risk involved (Kerr, 2002, p. 72). Perceptive sports psychologists will recognize that sanctioned aggression and violence are a primary source of players' excitement, pleasure, and satisfaction and thus a major factor in their motivation for participation (Kerr, 1997; Novak, 1976; Russell, 1993). This argument was not made to exonerate unsanctioned aggression and violence but to understand the real nature of these sports (Kerr, 2002, p. 72).

Another argument on the cause of violence and aggression in sports is that socialization (i.e.; a learned response) is to blame (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Socialization can take place through participation in sports since sports provide a microcosm for living and society. The structure of social relations in sports influences the participants' development of social skills. Researchers have striven to answer whether sports provides a positive outlet for, or teaches and reinforces, aggression (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Human beings cannot live a fulfilling life in isolation, and can have more effective and healthy lives through association with others. This means that human beings must somehow learn how to live together. Socialization can take place through participation in sports since sports provide learning environments where participants have the opportunity to learn competition, cooperation, role-playing and discipline regarding rules, regulations, and goals (Bloom & Smith, 1996). In this sense, sports can be seen as a laboratory of human experience. The structure of social relations in organized sports can give participants experience in various roles and group interaction, and contribute to the development of social characteristics that integrate them into existing larger social structures (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Unfortunately, a "win-at-all-costs" philosophy has often led to unethical and aggressive behaviors, impacting negatively and destructively on the development and well being of young athletes and of society at large. Researchers (e.g.; Arms, Russell, & Sandilands, 1979; Bredemeier, Weiss, Shields, & Cooper, 1986; Ewing, Gano-Overway, Branta, & Seefeldt, 2002; Guivernau & Duda, 2002; Terry & Jackson, 1985) have striven to answer whether sports provide a positive outlet for an instinctive drive of aggression or whether sport teaches and reinforces aggression through the highly competitive nature of many sport settings (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Proponents of instinct theory such as Freudians argue that aggression is instinctive, and that vigorous physical activities provide cathartic benefits by releasing the pent-up emotions of participants. Sloan (1979, p.23) wrote, "Catharsis or reduction of aggression level will occur either by participating in an aggressive act or vicariously through watching acts of aggression by others. Thus, they [pent-up emotions] must be relieved periodically or erupt, producing catharsis in wither case (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Minninger (1948) argued that competitive games provide a medium through which aggressive tendencies are discharged. Johnson and Hutton (1955) used the House-Tree-Person test to determine the cathartic effects of a combative sport by testing eight college wrestlers approximately three weeks before season, and again the morning after the competition. The findings revealed a cathartic effect as a result of competition (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Although aggressive behaviors may sometimes provide catharsis, an opposing view is that participating in or viewing aggressive behaviors is more likely to elicit greater amounts of aggression than to result in decreased aggression (e.g.; Bandura & Waiters, 1974; Berkowitz, 1970; Geen, Stonner, & Shope, 1975). Gelfand and Hartmann (1982) found that participation in competitive games raised boys' and girls' levels of aggression, regardless of competition outcome (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). It was found that spectators also become more aggressive after observing the event. Bloom and Smith (1996) noted that violence in hockey often spills over into violence in other social settings for spectators as well. A slight increase in hostility has also been found for non-contact and non-aggressive sports (Arms, et al., 1979; Goldstein & Arms, 1971). And, Zillman, Katcher, and Milvasky (1972) found that even vigorous physical exercise using a bicycle-ergometer could enhance aggressive tendencies (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

The frustration-aggression hypothesis has been proposed to explain human aggressive behaviors, maintaining that aggression is caused by frustration (Bird & Cripe, 1986; Gill, 1986; Husman & Silva, 1984). In this view, frustration occurs due to the blocking of one's efforts to achieve goals. Critics of the frustration-aggression hypothesis have questioned whether all frustration causes aggression. Although frustration sometimes leads to aggressive behavior, a direct casual relationship between frustration and aggression cannot always be claimed (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). In sport context, the losing of a game can be an important factor eliciting frustration. Evidence cited by Martin (1976) supported the contention that competitive sport generates either catharsis or increased aggression, depending upon the outcome of the game. Martin administered the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study to 32 male undergraduate students to determine the impact of winning and losing on participants' aggression: Individual sport athletes experienced more frustration than did team athletes upon losing; yet participants of both type of sport enjoyed reduction of aggression when they won (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Further, Reyes and Lorant (2001) administered the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire to 150 8-year-old children who were beginning martial arts training. They found that only the children who were receiving judo training did not score more aggressive; those receiving other forms of martial arts training did in fact score more aggressive (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Social learning theory maintains that aggression is a behavior learned through the processes of reinforcement and modeling (Bandura, 1973; Bloom & Smith, 1996). In this view, participation in sports may teach and/or reinforce either aggression or sportsmanship. Alland (1972) observed a Pacific people, the Samai of Malaysia. Since the Samai did not express any aggressive behavior when a role model of aggression was absent, Alland concluded that aggression is not instinctive. In this view, sports can serve as a medium for teaching and reinforcing sportsmanship and moral reasoning, with aggression and unsportsmanlike behaviors occurring primarily in response to adverse and "dog-eat-dog" situations and to sport situations involving leadership (coaches, etc.) who do not discourage aggression or support sportsmanship in the participants (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Some argue that athletes tend to be more unsportsmanlike than their non-athlete counterparts, and that a long period of involvement and high degree of physical contact in sports impacts negatively on participants' moral reasoning (Bloom & Smith, 1996). Gardner and Janelle (2002) asked athletes and non-athletes to judge the legitimacy of overtly aggressive acts performed by both contact and non-contact sports participants. They found judgments legitimizing aggressive behavior to be inversely related to the respondents' moral reasoning (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Bredemeier, et al. (1986) conducted a study with 106 children at a summer sport camp and found that participation in high contact sports was associated with greater aggression and with lower levels of moral reasoning. Similarly, Belier and Stol (1995) found that high school non-athletes scored significantly higher in terms of moral reasoning than did high school athletes. Treasure (2002) argued that participating in sports with the wrong kind of coaching could have devastating lifelong impacts on a child's moral development. Guivernau and Duda (2002) interviewed 194 soccer players, 13 through 19 years of age. They found that regardless of gender, the players reported that they would be more likely to be aggressive if they thought their coaches supported such behaviors (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Both Guivernau & Duda and Stephens (2000) found players' perceived team pro-aggressive norms were the best predicator of the players' likelihood to aggress. From these studies, it can be argued that unsportsmanlike behaviors of young athletes are learned and reinforced depending upon the type of sport and leadership of coaches (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). On the other hand, Loughhead and Leith (2001) interviewed and observed hockey players (10 to 15 years of age) and their coaches, and found that, regardless of age, players' views were unrelated to coaches' views on aggression (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Conversely, research studies have revealed a positive correlation between sportsmanlike behavior and moral growth when both quality leadership environments that support behavior and growth were guaranteed. Geibink and MacKenzie (1985) used three intervention strategies (instruction and praise, modeling, and a point system) to investigate the effects on children's sportsmanship through a 22-day recreational basketball class (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). They found that with each strategy, un-sportsmanlike behavior (e.g., fighting, cheating) was reduced yet there was little increase in sportsmanship (e.g., congratulating opponent winners). The point system with contingent reinforcers was most effective in producing positive changes (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Silverman's (1998) study suggested curriculum (in particular, "Fair Play For Kids' curriculum) was effective in promoting moral development in young children enrolled in physical education.

One can assume that an athlete who experiences competitive situations under quality leaderships and healthy environments is more capable of coping with aggression-inducing situations than his or her counterparts. Thirer (1993; 1978) asked female athletes and non-female athletes to view a violent film and to complete an aggressive attitude inventory before and after viewing. Thirer found that athletes displayed a non-significant change in aggressive attitude score pre- to post-viewing whereas non-athletes showed a significant increase in their score (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). This finding supports social learning theory and implies that athletes are less vulnerable to aggression-inducing situations. Furthermore, Daniels and Thornton's (1989) study revealed that combative sports could possibly serve to reduce hostility under good leadership. Smith, Watson, Ficher, and Sung (2003) conducted a longitudinal study with 325 children aged 7 to 14. In determining whether socio-demographic variables affect trajectories of aggressive behavior in middle childhood, they found family environment and temperament variables had a greater impact than did socio-economic factors (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). It can be contended that sport participation facilitates and teaches sportsmanship and moral reasoning if quality leaderships and environments are provided.

It can be suggested that positive behavior changes in children are assured when children are positively reinforced and exposed to quality role models. Conversely, aggressive and unsportsmanlike behavior is likely to increase under the lack of good leadership, especially when young athletes are involved in highly competitive sport (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Aggression or sportsmanship can be learned and/or reinforced by significant others, the structure of sport, and the society's attitude (Terry & Jackson, 1985). Loopholes in sport rules and inconsistencies in rule application may trigger reinforcement of aggressive behavior. In addition, practices by some sports marketers are related to the use of violence for selling products (Jones, Ferguson, & Stewart, 1993). According to the findings of Russell (1986), violence may not increase box office receipts.

The underlying motivation for violence in hockey has been the source of some debate (Stewart, Ferguson, & Jones, 1992). A number of social scientists have argued that hockey violence reflects cultural values; some Canadian literati maintain that hockey violence meets the need for national "release," calling it "the counterpart of Canadian self restraint" (Beardsley, 1987, p. 133). The official NHL view is that fighting is primarily spontaneous and a useful cathartic reaction to a physical game (Eitzen, 1985, p. 103). To some degree all of this may be true. Economists, however, work on the assumption that economic agents (leagues and teams) are interested in their own concerns (profit maximization), and, therefore, their behavior can be explained principally by economic factors (Stewart, Ferguson, & Jones, 1992). Indeed, Ferguson, Jones, Stewart, and LeDressay (1991) found considerable support for the hypothesis that hockey teams act as profit-maximizes. In this context, violence can be considered a "good characteristic," an attribute of the product. Another study was also done to explain why hockey fans would possibly join a crowd disturbance (Russell and Arms, 1998). This study consisted of having male ice hockey fans (N = 78) completed a battery of biographical, social, cognitive, and individual differences measures that has previously been administered piecemeal to spectators found in attendance at games. Participants' self-reported likelihood of joining in a crowd disturbance served as the dependent measure. The individual differences measures included physical aggression, anger, impulsivity, psychopathy, sensation seeking, and public self-consciousness (1998). All but public self-consciousness was positively related to subjects' likelihood of escalating a disturbance. Participants' age, number of accompanying males, the false consensus effect, number and recency of fights, and attending in anticipation of watching player fights were also related to the dependent measure (1998). The time since the participant was last in a fight and liking to watch player fights emerged as significant predicators. This study shows the promoting affect that fighting in hockey has on spectator violence.

Aggression or sportsmanship can be learned and reinforced in many different ways. multiple reasons rather than a single one influence such behaviors. Reinforcement and modeling of aggressive behaviors and/or sportsmanship but parents, coaches, referees, peers, and the media influence their reoccurrence. Young athletes need positive, appropriate and constructive role models to teach and reinforce sportsmanship and moral reasoning (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). The coach is perhaps the most significant person influencing the amount of aggressive or sportsmanlike behaviors displayed in the competitive sport context (Conan, 1980; Cratty, 1983; King, 1990; Terry & Jackson 1985). Smith (1983) reported that nine percent of hockey players (N=166) between the ages of 12 to 13 perceived their coaches as approvers of hockey violence. The role of referees has also been identified as a significant factor affecting athletes' subsequent behaviors (Lefebve, Leith, & Bredemeier, 1980). Failure of referees to correct an athlete’s aggressive behavior may reinforce and increase the probability of reoccurrence (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Parents sometimes push their children into competitive sports. They may wish to realize their personal, unfulfilled desires through their children, or to have their children exposed to excessive competition, believing it is appropriate preparation for later, adult life (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Pagelow (1984) noted that aggressive children tend to have aggressive parents and that parents can be strong role models of aggression. Similarly, Freishlag and Schmidke (1979) stressed the importance of parents' influences on young athletes' moral reasoning (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

The potential role of media should be recognized in moderating aggression in sports (Lefebvre, et al., 1980). The broadcaster should identify aggressive and un-sportsmanlike behaviors immediately in terms of rule regulations and sportsmanship conduct. Sullivan's (1991) study explored the impact of television commentary on viewers' perceptions and enjoyment of player hostility, including violent behavior, in the context of a less combative sport. Effects of fanship, gender, and varying levels of commentary (dramatic, neutral, no commentary) we tested. A videotape of a heated Georgetown versus Syracuse men's college basketball game provided stimulus material, with the dramatic commentary treatment contradicting the visual evidence as to which team was the aggressor (1991). Strong medium effects were reveled, with viewers of the dramatic commentary treatment perceiving Syracuse players as being significantly more hostile, in line with the manipulation. Men were more likely than women to enjoy the fighting in the game segment, but fans' perceptions of opponent hostility were as vulnerable to the biased commentary as those of non fans (1991).

Three seminal studies examined bias in commentary and its relationship to viewer responses to player hostility (Sullivan, 1991). Comisky, Bryant, and Zillman (1977) and Bryant, Comisky, and Zillman (1981) found that appreciation, including enjoyment, of heavy contact sports contests (professional hockey and professional football, respectively) is facilitated by roughness, enthusiasm, and violence of play, and that commentary alters viewer perception of rough play (Sullivan, 1991). It is important to note that the stimulus material used in these studies was game action that, regardless of intensity, reflects normative player behavior for hockey and football and is clearly within the scope of the game's rules. The third study on commentary bias (Bryant, Brown, Comsiky, & Zillman, 1982) manipulated the affective relationship between players rather than roughness of play. Bryant, et al. (1982) varied commentary to manipulate the affective relationship between tennis players, finding that increases in perceived enmity, intensity of play, and competitiveness between opponents contributes to viewer enjoyment (Sullivan, 1991).

Since television most often mediates this intense fan experience of sport (Bellamy, 1989; Eastman & Meyer, 1989), commentators serve a central role in influencing public perceptions of violence in sports contests. The chief role of commentary traditionally has been narrative in function (Sullivan, 1991). In this role, commentators use a set of descriptive narrative modes- objective, judgmental, and historical- to tell the game story (Morris & Nydahl, 1983). In its objective mode, commentary complements the camera by summarizing what has occurred in the game. In the judgmental mode, commentary assigns motivations to player and team performance and player behavior (Sullivan, 1991). Commentary that places players, teams, and game sin historical perspective typically relies on biographical material and statistical comparisons. Descriptive narration demonstrates the commentator's credibility as game expert. Commentators, for example, borrow liberally from the descriptive language of the locker-room; cued by jock jargon, viewers believe they are getting "shop talk" (Snyder & Spreitzer, 1983)

Bryant and Zillman (1983) note that rough and aggressive action would represent "human conflict at its peak, and intense conflict is the heart and soul of high drama" (p. 7). By extension, violence can be considered the ultimate in human sports conflict with increases in viewer enjoyment corresponding to increases in the likelihood of serious injury to the athletes (Sullivan, 1991). The fight fan cherished the heavyweight who delivers the knockout, the football fan idolizes the linebacker who wrecks quarterbacks, and the hockey fan cheers the defense man who uses his elbows in the corners and his fists around the goalmouth. Players' violence attests to their will to win (Sullivan, 1991). The nature of heavy contact sports, the rules that govern such sports, media attention, the lack of punitive deterrents to fighting, and American society's emphasis on outcome rather than process all contribute to players' use of violence. in contact sports, coaches and players perceive the use of intimidation and aggression as a vital ingredient to winning (Swift, 1986). In programs that emphasize win-loss records, players are more likely to use intimidation through violence (Smith, 1978; Tyler & Duthie, 1979).

Some research has been done into whether sports do enough to deter from player and fan violence (Nagel, Southall, & O'Toole, 2004). This study was designed to identify the punishments levied for unacceptable player behaviors by the four major North American professional sport leagues from 1995 through 1999. The sample was the players from the sample leagues for the same time period. Punishment means and occurrences for identified player behaviors were calculated and league punishment occurrences were analyzed for equivalence using a Chi Square Goodness of Fit Test (2004). Results indicated that the most common league punishment occurrences were responses to player behaviors 'Fighting' and 'Intimidation'. In addition, 81% of Major League Baseball's responses resulted in a punishment of $0.00 (2004). The studies results strongly suggest the four major North American professional sport leagues use punishment as a public relations tool and not as a meaningful deterrent to player behaviors. Lapchick (1996) has contended that the punishment for professional athletes' violence in sports must be harsh enough to reduce and deter such violence. According to Lapchick, "Fines are useless for players making more than $1 million each year" (p. 192). Appropriate and effective ways for sanctioning athletes must be determined (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Using violent language could also encourage aggressive and violent behaviors. Wren (1991) made a strong comparison of using violent language to smoking:

Language, like tobacco, is habit forming. Some patterns of writing and speaking are addictive and may damage both the user and the others who breathe the same linguistic atmosphere. If we can see the damage being done and decide to kick the habit, we may get withdrawal symptoms and hostility or derision from other smokers. But in the end, we shall enjoy breathing fresh air (Holt, 2000, p. 102)

The language used in sports print journalism is also evident of the connection of violence and sports (Holt, 2000). Particularly since the 1985 Heysel Stadium soccer massacre, even some sports journalists have begun to view violence in sport as problematical. Dwyre (1996), for example, reflecting on a long career as a reporter of sporting events in the US, concluded: "Sportswriters tend to view sports-related violence such as fights between opposing team members, vicious boxing matches, and assaults on players as part of the game rather than an intolerable an offensive incident. Violence in sports should not be so easily tolerated" (Holt, 2000). Writing in Sports Illustrated, Wulf (1988), in similar vein, criticized the president of the US national ice-hockey league for denying that the league was prone to violence while at the same time marketing videos with titles like; "Brand New. Part 4. Hockey's Bloodiest Fights and Knockouts'. or '165 Hours of Good Quality Hockey Fights'.

Holt's (2000, p. 89) study consisted of a sample of ten per cent of the annual diet of newspaper sport reporting of the inhabitants of New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, being examined from the point of view of the most salient features of language for a period of 35 consecutive days (five calendar weeks - 1 June to 5 July). In sifting the language of the sports supplements in both newspapers (New Zealand Herald and Sunday Star Times), it was clear that many of the characteristics of journalistic style generally were present; these included: dramatization of headlines (e.g., 'Kiwis Light Up Night'); idiomatic and emotive diction (e.g., 'The game is screaming out for guidance on what has become an extremely ugly turn of events'); the blurring of the border between information and entertainment; the meshing of visual images with concept, including advertising layout; simplification or trivialization of content; and the use of clich├ęs and catch-phrases (e.g., 'on-a-roll captain finds X's Achilles heel') (2000, p. 90). The most salient or distinctive element of journalistic style for sports reporting in the present sample was found to be images of violence. This study did not concern itself with the relatively innocuous terms that have long been assimilated into the normal, basic vocabulary of sport, such as: 'to win, to beat, victory over, to defeat, to lose, etc.'. These refer to an underlying metaphor of ‘battle’, which reflects the competitive nature of sports generally, but through time, common usage and familiarity have achieved the status of 'dead' or 'frozen' metaphors that are taken more or less literally (2000, p. 90). Rather, this study was concerned with more consciously graphic images that have not (or, not yet) lost the true metaphor's relative vividness of effect.

Examination of the 35 separate sports supplements/sections revealed the images to be focused on four major metaphorical complexes. The one most frequently occurring has been simply labeled 'violence' and concerned language used to evoke related notions along a spectrum from injury to killing. All three main classes of content-words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives) are widely used, with a slight preponderance of verbs. The next most frequent complex was a 'military' metaphor, which also incorporated associated terms from semantic fields like 'hunting' or the 'cowboy Western'. In this particular word sample nouns and verbs tended to be roughly equal in number, with adjectives being largely absent, suggesting semantically a relatively equal emphasis on process and product aspects. The third most frequent key metaphor discovered was that of 'mechanization' or 'machinery'. The word usage in this sample follows the patterns of the previous sample. The final complex related closely to the machine-metaphor, but differed in that it went a step further by representing particular body parts as machine parts; what one might term a 'robotic' model (2000, p. 93). The significance of the machinification-metaphor represents an attempt to camouflage the true physical effects of violence; as Bataille noted: '(language can often substitute) the appearance of a solution for the insoluble, and a screen for violent truth.'

Bibliography/Works Cited

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