Fair or Foul: Sports and Criminal Behavior in the United States

Fair or Foul: Sports and Criminal Behavior in the United States

Fair or Foul: Sports and Criminal Behavior in the United States

Fair or Foul: Sports and Criminal Behavior in the United States

Synopsis

This intriguing book offers a comprehensive examination of all issues related to sports and criminal behavior, from high school to professional athlete, player to spectator.

Excerpt

For generations, sports have dominated water cooler conversations across the country. During this same period, crime has been the most popular subject of the media, including the news, television, and movies. Over the last few years, we have seen an integration of these two worlds. More and more discussion and media coverage of the sports world focuses on crimes committed by athletes, steroid use, or disorderly fans. The sports page has looked more and more like the crime reports. One need only open the newspaper to read about the Barry Bonds steroids debate, Michael Vick’s dog fighting conviction, or the fan and player fight during the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers basketball game. This book is an examination of the increasingly connected worlds of sports and criminal behavior.

In the first part of the book, I examine criminal behavior among athletes. The influence of athletic membership on behavior begins in high school. Athletics hold a special place in many communities across the country. Towns support their athletic programs through pep rallies, fundraisers, and attendance at sporting events. Nothing is more American than the Friday night high school football game or the weekend afternoon soccer or baseball game. Parents encourage their children to participate in sports at earlier and earlier ages. But with all the talk of teamwork, fitness, and competition, is there a darker side to athletic participation? Are the stories in the paper an anomaly or is there something inherent in some sports or teams that encourages criminal behavior (for example, the Glen Ridge [NJ] High School football team rape case)? I discuss the issues of aggression, masculinity, and group mentality in relation to high school athletes’ criminal behavior including a detailed examination of hazing.

Athletes continue to hold a special place in the community when they enter college. The sense of entitlement and privilege that began in high school continues into college. This is coupled with a greater sense of freedom, and in many cases, increased access to alcohol and drugs. The . . .

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