Chapter 2 – Sports Culture

2: American Sport Culture

The world of American sport exists within larger pop culture as a subculture all its own. As highlighted in the introduction, the sports industry in the United States is estimated at being a 414 billion dollar industry, which shows what a significant portion of culture it really involves.[1] Americans love sports, plain and simple. It is everywhere in culture, showing up in movies, television, music, and advertising. Sports icons are regularly used in product marketing, selling everything from razors to cars. Companies use athletes because they are so popular; everyone knows their face and marketing departments try to capitalize on this familiarity to sell their products. Athletes are America’s heroes and heroines, idolized by much of the population. This is not limited to professional athletes because reflections of this idolization can be seen from professional sports down to college sports and into high school sports. Athletes of all ages are often placed on a pedestal because of their leadership abilities. In 1999, Dobosz and Beaty found that high school athletes showed greater leadership ability than their non-athlete classmates.[2] The nature of athletics has long been shown to improve leadership abilities, health, and self-esteem. As a result, athletes are often at or near the top amongst their peers. These are the individuals that their peers look to for understanding about what they should be doing, just by the nature of their leadership.

The vast majority of student athletes spend more time in school or with friends than they spend actively pursuing their sport. High school athletes spend six to eight hours a day in school and only two to four engaged in sport. This is why we first analyzed American culture; even the most serious of student athletes still spend a large amount of time engaged in larger popular culture. But sports culture for an athlete is all-consuming, permeating an athlete’s thought processes about many things outside of sport. Though a student-athlete lives in American culture and is no doubt greatly influenced by popular culture, many of them have ideas that are specific to sports culture. Within the sports community, there are a number of socially acceptable norms that we will see reflect the greater American culture. But in addition to these, there are several other accepted norms that are specific to sport. At first blush, many of these assumptions, attitudes, and actions may seem to be positive. Although some of them are genuinely positive, perhaps a deeper look is necessary. What ideas lie at the core of sports culture and what does that mean for the student athlete? How do these ideas form the foundation of sports culture? How do these ideas play out in everyday life for a student athlete?

This chapter is not intended to be anti-sports but to point out the areas where sport culture naturally sets a Christian student athlete up for failure. Sports have many positive characteristics and can be highly beneficial as physical exercise, character building, and a ministry tool. The purpose of this chapter is not to highlight the many benefits of sport but to show how sport culture, like popular culture, is not naturally a friend of Christianity. Sadly, many Christians do not look closely at the foundation upon which sport culture rests before embracing it for themselves and their children. Foundations are critically important because once constructed, they are very difficult to tear down and rebuild. Rebuilding a foundation is painful and requires serious commitment to change. For many student athletes, sports culture becomes the world in which they construct their lives, blissfully unaware that something dangerous could be taking place. Sports can be a wonderful part of life as long as it holds the appropriate priority: somewhere on the list after following Jesus Christ. He alone can be the foundation for a Christian.

Assumptions

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, an assumption is something that is “accepted as true without proof.”[3] Within sport culture, as in any culture, there are assumptions upon which is built a framework for acceptable behavior. There are four fundamental assumptions that sport culture uses as its cornerstone. The first is the acceptance of the American myth.

Every culture has a collective identity that is built upon their core cultural myth, an overriding story which is central to the culture’s view of the world. The American myth seems to come primarily out of the American Dream, which is the idea that if people are free, they can achieve any height of prosperity and success. The American Dream drew millions of people from around the world because they saw the U.S. as a place where anything was possible. Immigrants came from every corner of the world barefooted and penniless with a sparkle in their eye because they believed that they could start with nothing and become prosperous. And in fact, many did.

The American Dream leads to the American myth because from it rises the hero who can pull himself or herself up by the bootstraps and become something. American is riddled with these types of stories; The Pursuit of Happyness, Slumdog Millionaire, and Gladiator are all movies where this is a common thread. Slogans like “Be the Change” reflect Western individualism by telling young people that they can make a difference. One person can make a difference in the world. Americans love stories about the teenager who raised three million dollars for cancer research or the family who is reaching every high school in the U.S. to decry texting while driving. The western world firmly believes that one person can make a difference. This is part of the American myth, the cultural identity of millions of people. Whether they realize it or not, they believe that one person can be a savior, a hero, and a winner. Though this may look different for a postmodern generation, because individualism is still highly esteemed it will not disappear. It may look different in the future but the concept will be the same.

Sports culture especially believes in this idea. Sports movies continually revolve around this idea: underdog rises to either moral or physical victory, a player works hard to rise above his or her circumstances and becomes the hero in the end, or a new coach arrives and turns the team around for the better, winning the championship at the end of the season.[4] This idea is so prevalent that rarely is a sports movie made without this type of scenario unfolding. Many of these storylines revolve around team sports where the whole team is the hero rather than just one individual, but the idea is the same. Most athletes thrive on this story, straining for excellence and believing that they can be the hero, they can be the one who makes the winning shot at the buzzer, they can be the one who stands up at the last moment to lead the team, they can be the one who makes the critical save in the last five seconds to save the game from slipping away. They can be the one. This idea is absolutely foundational to the sports culture, the sports version of the American Dream.

The second assumption is that sport culture is inherently focused on the self. Even in team sports, an athlete’s focus on is on making himself or herself better which results in making the team better. The focus is on “me” not on others. To be good at a sport, the athlete has to be “me-focused.” An athlete is constantly thinking about how his or she can train better, eat better, sleep better, focus better, think better, strive harder, and as a result, play better. An enormous amount of energy is focused inwardly rather than outwardly. This leads to a foundation built on the sand because no matter how much an athlete wants to serve God, if their foundation is built in sports culture, he or she will never be make God the center. Looking within will never produce life because humans were created to look to the creator God. God is the point of Christianity, the goal, the gift, and the giver of the gospel. God does not reside within mankind but outside of mankind. The “me-focus” is a serious deception for athletes, even one who are professing Christians, that is difficult to uncover.

The “me-focus” causes Christianity to be all about the person being saved rather than the God who saves. Many Christian athletes will say that God is their source, the one who they look to for strength and ability. Steve Hubbard tells the stories of many athletes who’s focus is more focused on themselves or their sport than God. “‘It’s basically taken all of me to get here – physically, mentally, and specifically spiritually,’ she [Jennifer Azzi] said. ‘I think my spiritual life has matured over the last few years, and that’s kind of what was missing before. It has helped me make it to the next level.”[5] [RZ1] Is the purpose of having a relationship with God to help get us “to the next level”? Doesn’t having that view of God make Him something that exists for the person rather than the person for God? Assuredly God is the Source, but it is important to clarify how that source works. The Source does not exist so that He can give strength or meet the whims of mankind. He is God, the Creator, Maker, and Sustainer of life and He does not exist to support our desires. It is God’s pleasure to show His great love for us by sustaining, helping, and strengthening us, but we can never forget that He Is. We live because He allows us to live and we die when that time is completed. God is not a cosmic fairy who exists to fly around and give strength to those in athletic competition. Though many athletes would not say they believe in such a god, their actions too often reflect this type of an idea. This is seen in the attitude of so many when they place their sport at the center of their life, central to their being. God is more like a lucky rabbit foot, helpful for playing a good game or clinching another win, rather than the Almighty from whom life derives its existence. God will not serve as a lucky charm and to treat Him as such is to build a foundation on something else entirely.

The third assumption of sport culture is the connection between work and results. Any athlete understands that the harder he or she works, the more likely they are to succeed. Hard work equals success. Even a cursory glance at the world shows that this is indeed a fact of life. The material world generally follows this pattern and this is one reason why athletes often are successful in business after they have completed their athletic career. Athletes have learned this correlation and although they do not all necessarily work hard, the majority of them understand that hard work leads to results eventually. This is the principle of sowing and reaping, a principle found within both the Old and New Testaments. Laziness is never condoned and Jesus taught His disciples to work hard and do the best that they could with what they had been given.[6] Paul also told the Corinthian church that he worked harder than all of the other apostles, though it was God who worked in him.[7] While this is a pattern that God created in the world, what is true in the natural world is not always true in the spiritual world. Jesus taught that the last will be first, that the leader should become the servant, that those who lose their lives will save them, and that the woman who gave the least really gave the most.[8] What makes sense in the natural world is not always the message that Jesus preached about the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus told His disciples that they would harvest where they had not planted.[9] He also told them not to worry about what they would eat because God feeds the birds and He cares much more about His children than the birds.[10]

Often athletes do not recognize that there is a spiritual component to work and results. They try to make everything work by simply trying harder. Trying harder does not always work if the battle is spiritual rather than physical. Many athletes and former athletes who have their underpinnings in sport culture do not recognize that trying harder is not always the answer. Jesus’ message was not if you work hard enough and want badly enough, good things will happen. His message is to come to Christ and He will give you rest, come to Christ to receive strength for the journey, come to Christ to understand real fulfillment. Spiritual things done in a physical way will usually result in utter failure. Jesus taught that He is the vine and His followers are the branches and it is through Him that life flows.[11] From that life, God produces fruit, not by human striving but by the spiritual rebirth through Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Paul outlines the fruit of the spirit and then urges Christians, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”[12] The Christian is never taught to try harder in order to produce more results but that it is God who produces results through obedience. The distinction may seem slight but in fact it is often the difference between continually ramming into a wall and walking through an open door.

The final assumption of sport culture is that life is really a system of rules that must be twisted, bent, or avoided in order to be successful. This foundation is sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken, depending on the type of rule in consideration, but is prevalent in every sport imaginable. It is in this assumption that relativism shows its roots in sport culture. It is often called gamesmanship, a philosophy which “maintains that the highest ethic of sport is to win.”[13] This is contrasted with sportsmanship, the attitude that to conduct oneself with fairness and respect is the highest ethic in sport. Gamesmanship has become increasingly common among youth athletes and serves to confuse youth athletes especially about what is most important in sport.[14] One Christian soccer player was taught gamesmanship by her coach beginning at age fourteen.[15] The first time she ever heard the word was in a practice where the team was being taught that whenever the ball went out of bounds and there was any possibility of a question about whose ball it should be, to run over and pick it up and act like it had gone off the other team. “This,” the coach pronounced, “is just gamesmanship and if you want to be a player, it’s what must be done.” The word “gamesmanship” became a common word from then on, defining how to compete legally, technically, but bending the rules slightly in the team’s favor. Since the player had never heard the word before, she assumed that this was what everyone did and therefore, must be the way the game is really played.

The idea of gamesmanship arises because it is human nature to desire to bend the rules and find ways around what has been established as a rule. This is the inherent problem with God’s law: humans are incapable of keeping it because we are creative enough to find a loophole for every law. The Ten Commandments were not enough; God had to provide over 600 more laws in order to help the Israelites keep the initial 10. The same thing happens in society, with new laws constantly being added in every city, state, and nation. Men and women are always finding new ways to circumvent the law in order to get what they want. In sport this is crystal clear and overwhelmingly popular. Sports culture has even given this its own name rather than simply calling it “bending the rules to suit your needs.” The question is never, “How should I follow the rules” but, “How can I get around following the rules without getting caught in order to gain an advantage.” When a student athlete considers these questions, even the ones who presume to follow Jesus will often choose the path that will lead to their own advantage.

The American Dream, the glorification of the self, the correlation between work and results, and the human desire to bend the rules form the foundation for sport culture. Not every athlete ascribes to these fundamental ideas, but most would connect with at least half of them. American sport flows from these ideas, which will be seen in the next two sections.

Attitudes

The attitudes that exist within the sport culture are framed by the four foundational truths of sport culture. Because sport has a significant emphasis on motivation, there are many popular sport quotes that reveal the prevalent attitudes of athletes. Student athletes are especially susceptible to these attitudes because more often than not, they have not been taught anything different. They have been taught, frequently through silence by their mentors, that their Christianity is really an addition to their sport and life, not the core of their being. All four of the quotes that follow are likely to be used as part of a coaches’ speech, motivational poster, or mantra for an individual athlete. All four quotes show the attitude of an athlete, an attitude of a winner, an attitude of someone whose foundation is in sport culture.

Winners Don’t Wait for Chances, They Take Them

The Bible is filled with people who stepped out in faith to make something happen, so the idea that stepping out, taking a chance, or risking it all is an inherently negative thing could not be further from the truth.[16] The problem is the root of the risk; why is an athlete willing to take a risk? I argue that for someone with a sports culture foundation, that risk is rooted in the concept of the American dream. Athletes believe that they can be a winner if they take that risk and step out. They believe that their success is on their shoulders and it is their responsibility to grab it by the horns. The American dream is there for the taking as long as they are willing to take a risk.

Taking a risk is certainly not unhealthy. However, athletes usually see themselves as the hero of the story. They are the ones who pick themselves up and put it all on the line. They are the ones who work hard to make something happen. They are the ones who can achieve success out of obscurity. The American dream says that the individual is able to create, build, risk, and succeed. The American dream, no matter how inspiring, is not a God-dream but a human-dream. The attitude this creates is one where an athlete is taught that if they want to be a winner, they cannot wait around for someone else to do something. The winner does things for themselves. This attitude is dangerous because God’s timing is not humanity’s timing. Yes, work hard. Yes, step out in faith. Yes, do your best. But the definition of a winner is not that they are a self-made, risk-taking, I-can-do-everything-on-my-own person. Rather, a winner is someone who is re-made by God, careful in faith, and totally dependent on God’s movement for true success. Sports culture makes individual successes possible but God’s culture makes His glory known through His peoples’ dependence on Him.

I Can Do All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Me

Christian athletes have long relied on Philippians 4:13 as a war cry in their competitions. Unfortunately this verse has too often been ripped from the context in which it was written. Paul writes these words as part of a letter to the church in Philippi, likely from the prison in Rome where he eventually lost his life. When reading all of the letters in the New Testament, Craig Keener explains, “… one should read the whole letter to catch the flow of thought and never extract verses from their context.”[17] Throughout the letter, Paul details his great suffering for Christ, telling the Philippians that in all of these, Christ is being glorified.[18] He urges the church to follow in Christ’s humility that He displayed by coming to earth as a man and to act out of the salvation they have been granted through His sacrifice.[19] He refreshes the Philippians by telling them to continue on in the faith because God is being glorified in their struggles.[20] Paul consistently focuses on the humility of man before a glorious God, speaking often of the glory of God, the purpose of works, and the reason for the suffering. After strengthening the Philippians, Paul thanks them for their gifts to him in his time of need. He rejoices in the Lord for their concern for him and adds:

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. (Phil. 4:11-14)

In context, Paul is speaking about how God has strengthened him in his suffering and that he is content no matter what his circumstances are. He has encouraged the church in their sufferings and explained that it is all for the glory of God, and then he thanks them for coming to his aid, while giving glory to God for sustaining him in every situation. This is quite a different understanding from the context this verse is commonly used in sports culture.

In the sports world, the verse is the statement telling the world that anything is possible. The athlete can win any game, achieve any feat of strength, scale any wall, and surmount any obstacle because God provides strength for the task. Sports culture has taken this verse, in context a statement about how God can miraculously create contentedness in a person no matter the outcome, to mean that the athlete can accomplish anything because God is on their side. Though not usually stated, the assumption is that the athlete can always win because God makes it possible for them to do the impossible. Sports culture has taken a verse about the glory of God and made it about the glory of men and women. Paul is not saying that God will give you the victory in every athletic competition but rather than in a life submitted to Christ, God will create contentedness even in defeat. This verse-turned-battle-cry is a perfect example of God-focus turned human-focus.

I’m a Great Believer in Luck, and I Find the Harder I Work the More I Have of It

As the rental car company Avis has coined, “We try harder.” Athletes understand that hard work is necessary to be a winner. For a Christian, the question is not whether they should work hard but whether it is their work that really matters in the end. Does God bless the person who works the hardest? If being the recipient of God’s love means the athlete becomes successful, does God most love the athlete who becomes most successful? Does God love the winner more than the loser? It is these questions that lie at the heart of the “working leads to results” attitude.

How much does a Christian athlete have to work in order for God to bless them with success? These questions will be addressed from a God-perspective in a later chapter; here the purpose is simply to highlight the question. In sports culture, the answer is that God helps those who help themselves, that luck comes to those who work the hardest, and that God smiles on the long hours spent in the gym, on the court, on the field, on the track, or in the pool. The harder athletes work, the more successful they will be, the more money they will make, and the more famous they will become. Whether God is pleased with them depends on results, much like the idea that luck comes to those who work the hardest. Is that the same answer in God’s culture?

Just Do It

Nike has done a fantastic job of marketing their slogan, “Just do it.” The phrase permeates sports culture, much like Nike products. It has become a maxim for athletes of all ages, types, and kinds. Surprisingly, most athletes take the phrase to mean almost the exact same thing. One Christian adult athlete from Colorado defined it as, “Don’t complain about hard workouts or tough matchups. Just go compete.”[21] A physical education teacher and former athlete described, “Get it done, work hard, no complaints.”[22] A current college athlete from Alabama interpreted, “Get whatever you need to get done, done. No excuses, no exceptions.”[23] A former college athlete from Colorado gave her definition as, “Just put your head down and fight through it… Dig in and give it everything and just be the best. No questions, no excuses, just do what needs to be done.”[24] Another from California said, “[It] means get it done. Push through the struggle (mental and physical) and persevere to win!”[25] High school athletes have much the same idea, defining the phrase as, “Get ‘ur’ done,” “Don’t hold anything back,” “Do something without overthinking it,” and “Push yourself and be mentally tough.”[26]

A common thread through many of these definitions is that just doing it means doing whatever is necessary, going all out, pushing yourself to the limit. It’s a picture of an athlete doing everything they possibly can to be successful. That attitude brings with it the need to use whatever is available to gain an advantage, though it does not imply “cheating” in the usual sense of the word. The foundation that the rules of the game may need to be bent a bit in order to achieve success can often lead to the attitude that says, “Just do it.” Just do whatever you must, within the technical rules, to win. Just work hard, play hard, and be tough. Just show a little gamesmanship and do not be a wimp. Winners just do it.

These four attitudes are built upon the four foundational assumptions of sport culture. Again, not every athlete ascribes to all of these attitudes and assumptions but the culture as a whole embraces them wholeheartedly. From these attitudes, certain actions result. These actions frame sport culture, from the youth level to the professional level and every level in between. Younger athletes look to older athletes to know what is acceptable in their sport and in the overarching sport community. It is actions that show the end result of having a sport culture foundation rather than God culture foundation.

Actions

Athletics has long been regarded as the arena where character is built, dreams are fulfilled, and sportsmanship is applauded. Despite this long held opinion, much research has shown that this may not be the case. Issues of cheating, aggression, and foul play seem to have permeated sport culture at all levels. Instances of violence on the playing field is common, especially in aggressive sports like ice hockey. These types of occurrences point to the “Just do it” mentality, the attitude that the player must do whatever is necessary to win. If anyone tries to come between the athlete and that goal, violence, anger, surly words, insults, and all manner of ugliness ensue.

Another telling example of this is aggression between fans and players. It has become increasingly common to hear about these types of situations. Player-fan violence results from several of the attitudes resulting from sport culture but primarily from the “me-focus” perpetuated by the culture. Fans arrive at sporting events with much the same attitude as the athletes, the attitude that “this is all about me.” Professional sport fans believe that the players are competing for their enjoyment, which is true in some ways true since the fans pay admission. The athletes have an attitude that the game is really all about them since they are the stars of the show. Conflict takes place between these two sides when their attitudes collide and this too often results in player-fan violence.

One such incident occurred in the NBA on November 19th, 2004 when the Detroit Pistons hosted the Indiana Pacers. The brawl, becoming known as the “The Malice at the Palace,” began with a foul against Pistons player Ben Wallace. This started a fight between players on both teams. The incident escalated further when a fan threw a cup of beer at Pacer player Ron Artest. Artest charged into the stands and attacked the wrong fan. Artest, along with teammates Jermaine O’Neal, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Johnson, David Harrison, and others, fought back against other unruly fans who threw punches, beer, cups, popcorn, and even a chair.[27] Throughout the turmoil, fans continued physical and verbal abuse of Pacer players and coaches. Players were eventually led off the court under a storm of beer, soda, popcorn, trash, and many other items thrown by fans. In the weeks to follow, five players and five fans were charged with misdemeanor assault and battery, with one fan additionally being charged with a felony.[28] Four of the five players also received suspensions by the NBA. Artest received a suspension of seventy-three games, the longest suspension ever given to an NBA player.[29]

This incident is not alone and in fact, several baseball incidents happened in 2004 before “The Malice at the Palace.” The first happened on September 13th when the Texas Rangers were playing against the Oakland A’s. The result of a heated argument between heckling fans and relief pitcher Frank Francisco was a bench-clearing incident where Francisco threw a chair into the seats.[30] His actions resulted in injuries to two fans, a fifteen-game suspension, and a misdemeanor assault charge.[31] Only two weeks after this incident, Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Milton Bradley retaliated against a fan who had thrown a bottle at him by slamming a bottle into the front row seats. He received a suspension for the last five games of the season and later spoke publicly, sharing his need to get help for his anger problem.[32]

Clearly this problem is not isolated to a single sport but is part of sport culture. It would be naïve to imply that this type of thing only happens in sport. As mentioned in the introduction, violence takes place in American stores and roads as well. However, athletes are particularly focused on themselves. It is very difficult to show mercy or compassion when the entire culture declares the glories of victory at all costs. An athlete who has built their life upon the assumptions of the American dream, it’s all about me, work produces results, and rule-bending philosophies like gamesmanship will inevitably show the attitudes that stem from these foundations. From the assumptions and the attitudes stem the actions that reflect the culture.

Can sports culture be redeemed? Is there anything worthwhile in the sports millions of Americans love? Certainly there is much of value within the sporting world. Sports are a world where student athletes can gain confidence, bond with teammates, gain physical fitness, and have a lot of fun. We should definitely keep sports, but we must consider how a Christian student athlete can build their life upon a foundation of Christ rather than on a foundation of sports. Redemption comes from Jesus Christ, not from sports culture.


[1] Jack Plunkett. “Sports Industry Overview,” Sports Industry, http://www.plunkettresearchonline.com (accessed January 30, 2011).

[2] R. P. Dobosz and L. A. Beaty, “The Relationship between Athletic Participation and High School Student’s Leadership Ability,” Adolescence 34, no. 133 (Spring, 1999): 218 (215-220), in CINAHL Plus with Full Text EBSCO database, http://teach.belmont.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=2009419730&site=ehost-live (accessed March 1, 2011).

[3] New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd ed., s.v. “Assumption.”

[4] Some examples of this include Friday Night Lights, Rudy, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, Goal!, and Rocky.

[5] Steve Hubbard, Faith in Sports: Athletes and Their Religion on and off the Field (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 30.

[6] Matt. 25:14-30.

[7] 1 Cor. 15:10.

[8] Matt. 19:30, Luke 22:26, Mark 8:35, and Mark 12:43.

[9] John 4:38.

[10] Matt. 6:26.

[11] John 15:4-5.

[12] Gal. 5:25.

[13] Greg Linville, “Ethic of Competition in a Church Setting,” in Recreation and Sports Ministry: Impacting Postmodern Culture, ed. John Garner (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman), 163. (161-180)

[14] Ibid., 163.

[15] Coincidentally, this is my own personal story about gamesmanship as I experienced in my teenage years.

[16] Heb. 11.

[17] Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1993), PC Study Bible formatted Electronic Database (2006), under “Introduction to the New Testament.”

[18] Phil. 1:12-14, 1:20, and 2:17.

[19] Phil. 2:5-14.

[20] Phil. 3:13-17.

[21] Text message to author, March 2, 2011.

[22] Text message to author, March 2, 2011.

[23] Text message to author, March 2, 2011.

[24] Text message to author, March 2, 2011.

[25] Text message to author, March 2, 2011.

[26] Text messages to author, March 2, 2011.

[27] J. Peters and L. Robbins, “5 Pacers and 5 Fans Are Charged in Fight,” New York Times, December 9, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/09/sports/basketball/09brawl.html?fta=y (accessed March 3, 2011).

[28] Ibid.

[29] Espn.com, “Suspensions without Pay, Won’t Be Staggered,” November 22, 2004, http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1928540 (accessed March 3, 2011).

[30] Jeff Merron, “Fighting through the Years,” ESPN.com, November 20, 2004, http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1927560 (accessed March 3, 2011).

[31] CBS Sports Online, “Fans vs. Athletes: 10 Ugly Incidents,” November 24, 2004, http://www.cbc.ca/sports/columns/top10/fan_violence.html (accessed March 3, 2011).

[32] Associated Press, “Bradley Also Fined for Tossing Bottle into Stands,” September 30, 2004, http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1891679 (accessed March 3, 2011).

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