There was a time when you could go to the U.S. Open, watch tennis and the most uncouth behavior would be a player cussing at a linesman after a bad call. Now, take a trip to Flushing Meadows, and a UFC fight might break out in the stands.
Tennis isn’t the only sport where extracurricular activities are making bigger headlines than game action.
During Miami’s 45-0 thrashing of Florida A&M on Thursday, a few Hurricanes fans in the upper deck at Sun Life Stadium got bored and took turns seeing if they could play football better than the Rattlers.
A night earlier at Sun Life Stadium, Washington Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan sparked a bench-clearing brouhaha with the Marlins. Then he almost incited a riot with Florida fans. The irony is that Morgan is considered a good guy.
The anything-goes mentality stretches beyond the East Coast. In Eugene, Ore., a fight occurred in an Oregon-Oklahoma State women’s soccer game on Aug. 27. The fracas happened the same week as New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert returned from a suspension for a fight. You might remember her as the player who roughed up the BYU team last November.
Are these just isolated incidents, or is there a link to the aggression?
Fighting isn’t a new phenomenon. At some point, most of us probably have wanted to hit somebody. Most of us don’t act on those impulses. Otherwise, we’d be living in anarchy and running up lawyer fees and court costs.
But violence remains popular. Look at TV shows, video games and the top three U.S. movies for the Aug. 27-29 weekend: Takers, The Last Exorcism and The Expendables. Violence, horror and action are big moneymakers these days.
So are sports.
Fans and athletes acting uncivilized can be entertaining on an unintentional comedy level, but real life isn’t a Robert Rodriguez movie. Actors walk away from stunts. Regular folks end up in the hospital.
People who normally wouldn’t think twice about starting trouble have been raising Cain. Yet the two people the world really wants to see go toe-to-toe – Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. – can’t reach an agreement for a bout. Maybe that’s one reason why people are so agitated these days. They’re exasperated that a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight seems closer to never happening than getting done. They’re fed up with the months and months and months of gridlock. They’re tired of waiting.
Perhaps one day we’ll see Pacquiao and Mayweather step in the ring. Until then, fans and athletes who don’t get paid to fight might want to leave the fighting to those that do.
It will be less painful.
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