This introductory chapter is divided into three sections. The first section gives details of some selected incidents of aggression and violence that have occurred in the sport context. Most of these received a high profile in the television and print media. These particular examples have been selected because they illustrate the range and variety of situations that can occur in sport, and because they highlight a number of contentious issues about aggressive and violent behaviour in sport which will be discussed later in this chapter and the rest of the book. The second section is concerned with attempts in mainstream psychology to define aggression and violence in general, and in sport psychology to find satisfactory definitions for aggression and violence in the context of sport. The third section examines the various theoretical explanations that have developed over the years as to why aggression takes place.
Included in these examples are incidents involving athletes (individually or in groups) being aggressive and violent towards opponents, coaches and spectators, and spectators (individually or in groups) being aggressive and violent towards coaches, parents and the police. These incidents have occurred at training as well as during or after competition and serve to emphasise the different forms and contexts for sport violence.
Just before half-time, Wales attacked down the blind side. Phil Kearns, Wallaby hooker, lined himself up to tackle the first Welsh attacker as the Welsh fullback came into the line in support. The fullback received the ball and was hit by a superb tackle by Willie Ofahengaue. He went down injured and then left the pitch with damaged ribs. Even though it was a violent hit and the Welsh fullback was injured, Willie Ofahengaue's tackle was entirely within the laws of rugby union and was not penalised by the referee (Sims, 1995).