CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Linking Domestic Violence and Sports

From University studies have shown repeatedly that male athletes are at greater risk of violent behavior than non-athletes, that they are more likely to be aggressive with dating partners and more accepting of hostility toward women. One study found that male student athletes made up just 3.3 percent of the male population at the universities surveyed yet were accused of 19 percent of the sexual assaults on campus.

So why is abuse by athletes not an issue for sports fans? "Here's the deal," said Todd Crosset, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "For sport to work, they (fans) have to trust honest effort. Crimes against sports are gambling and steroids. What goes on off the court does not affect the game."

Crossett, who has studied extensively violence by athletes, cited as an example Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers, who pitched the day after being cited for beating his wife outside a Boston bar in June. "He didn't commit a crime against the sport," Crosset said. "It's not about sport, it's about their private lives."

But multiple research studies at universities have probed the relationship between athletes and violence against women, and about their sense of being "above the law."

"There's the hubris there's the privilege, there's the acceptance of athletes of having character, money issues, all of those things come together," said Jay Coakley, another researcher at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

"I come under heat for being 'overly negative about sports,' when in fact I'm trying to take a critical look at it," Coakley said. "Whereas most people are looking at sports through rose-colored cultural glasses that can't see any problems with sports itself."

Studies show dominant attitudes toward women and lesser men set in even before the athletes reach high school. Perhaps most disturbing, is the violence might not be random; instead, an outgrowth of the kind of mind control athletes need for a winning edge.

"Athletes are very instrumental in their violence," Crosset said. "They know exactly what they're doing. They're not coming unglued. They're terrorizing these women to get their way."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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Mark Godsey over at the CrimProf blog brought my attention to an article from that links athletes with increased instances of domestic violence. However, fans seem less likely to mind when the violence involves one of their favorite athle... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 11, 2007 12:39:09 PM


I own an anger management education center and I have heard a fair share of violent stories. Many of these stories revolve around sports and sporting events. It appears that not only athletes become violent during a sporting event but those in attendance also.

Shannon Munford
Daybreak Counseling Service

Posted by: Angry in LA | Jan 12, 2007 12:15:14 PM

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