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

By Christopher S. Kudlac | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
CRIME AT THE ARENA:
SPECTATOR VIOLENCE, RIOTS,
AND CRIMES DURING THE GAME

Chapters 1, 2, and 3 looked at crimes committed by athletes off the field. This chapter is concerned with crimes that occur at the arena by both spectators and players. There are fights between fans, fights between fans and players, violence between parents and coaches, and crimes committed by players during games. Spectator violence has traditionally been associated with European soccer hooligans and the violence that surrounds soccer matches across Europe. However, recently violence at sporting arenas across the United States has become commonplace.

There are also legal issues surrounding criminal conduct committed during a sporting event. Within certain sports there is behavior that would be considered criminal if it took place outside the context of the sport. When someone crosses the acceptable and agreed-upon line in a sport, should criminal charges be filed? This question will be examined by looking at past examples of “criminal” behavior during sporting events.

Additionally, viewing sports has an impact on behavior. There traditionally has been concern, especially with children, with the impact of viewing violence on television and future behavior. Many sports would fall under the category of violent television. Can watching a football game make people more likely to act violently? This chapter moves past the question of whether athletes are more likely to commit crimes and asks the question: do sports cause criminal behavior in those who watch it at the arena or at home?


TYPES OF SPECTATOR VIOLENCE

There are numerous types of spectator violence that happen at sporting events across the country. Young’s article provides a great starting point by categorizing five different types of spectator violence: missile throwing, field invasion, use of weapons and firearms, property destruction/vandalism, and fan fighting.1 Missile throwing refers to the projection of objects

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - High School Athletes and Crime 1
  • Chapter 2 - College Athletes and Crime 23
  • Chapter 3 - Professional Athletes and Crime 41
  • Chapter 4 - Crime at the Arena- Spectator Violence, Riots, and Crimes during the Game 73
  • Chapter 5 - Gambling 93
  • Chapter 6 - Sports and Crime Reduction 119
  • Chapter 7 - Conclusion 137
  • Notes 145
  • Index 167
  • About the Author 171
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