With the NHL playoffs in full swing — or more precisely, full punch — one might assume that ice hockey, with all of its accompanying gory glory, is the most violent sport on the planet.
But take soccer, for instance, or basketball in Europe or China — where violence erupts in the stands on a regular basis. (Fans at a basketball game in Greece even went so far as to throw a flare at players.) In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a fan was fatally shot in March in a fight involving nearly 500 fans. In Israel, meanwhile, a Palestinian soccer player on an Israeli team was attacked by members of the opposing team’s training staff, the latest incident in a wave of soccer violence in Israel. Brazilian soccer legend Pele said in one interview a few years ago that what he hates most about soccer these days is the violence, both on and off the field. “The violence linked to soccer truly bothers me,” he said. Incredibly, a 10-year-old boy in Hong Kong was arrested last month after kicking an opponent in the head.
Check out this video that captures some pretty harsh tactics on the soccer field:
Suspensions and fines
Hockey fans in North America seem to go to watch fights, not participate in them. While hockey is international, drawing many players from Europe, Europeans are considered to have more of a finesse game, in part because those leagues tend to frown on fighting.
Even Canadians are aghast at the violence in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. As the playoffs entered their second week, eight players so far have been suspended and two others fined. On top of that, a court hearing is scheduled Friday after Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes slammed into Marian Hossa from the Chicago Blackhawks. Hossa wound up in the hospital and Torres faces criminal charges. Torres also faces an indefinite suspension over the incident. “A lot of these hits are getting out of control,” the Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland said in a New York Times report.
For (sports) fun, we at Latitude News checked out the Internet to determine which sport is considered the most violent in the world. And, the results are interesting. Bull fighting ranks near the top, which when you think about it, makes a lot of sense. There also is bull running, or more accurately, running-from-the-bull. (Where is Hemingway when you need him?)
What’s more dangerous: hockey or riding a bike?
Here’s a list we found of the Top Ten most dangerous sports in the world. Interestingly, a Web site that examines sports injuries doesn’t even list hockey as one of the worst offenders. The study finds that playing basketball and riding bicycles sent more Americans to the emergency room in 2005 than any other sports. As for the most violent? Rugby, wrestling and — you guessed it — American football are way up there.
And, back to that scary hockey rink … all that blood and guts appears to pay off. It’s no surprise that violence begets – viewership. Ratings for the NHL playoffs, being broadcast on NBC, are going through the roof, according to the Bleacher Report. An online survey done by the Web site has found that 80 percent of the people it surveyed believe that playoff violence helps in mainstream appeal. So far, the 2012 playoffs have produced the best ratings in 10 years.
Anarchy on ice
And despite the popularity of the punch, one columnist at The Toronto Star maintains that the culture of violence needs to change:
“There’s incredible confusion within the industry over the rules and the objectives of those rules, plus growing anger that once again, the less talented players are exercising a disproportionate amount of influence because of their ability, if motivated, to target and injure the more talented. Simply put, it is anarchy out there on the NHL rink.”
It’s something to think about as hockey players bash their way to the Stanley Cup championship.
Which sport do you think is the most violent?Discuss this