One of my favorite times of the year is here, baseball season, the Cactus League, and my Kansas City Royals. Yes, I’m a big fan of any team that is or was in Kansas City, Chiefs, Royals, Kings, & Devils (yes they were in KCMO before moving). But it is also prime season for workplace violence (WPV), although not many think of it that way.
While many won’t think of WPV as occurring in a traditionally violent sport, even figure skating can be a target of WPV. Huh? How can that be? How does WPV equate to such a beautiful and enchanting sport such as figure skating?
Despite the attempts to lessen the appearance of it, hockey, football, baseball, and even basketball are all areas of violence that are…shall we say extracurricular in the playing of said sport. Before you can argue the point of that statement, here are a few examples of what I mean;
- The Nancy Kerrigan ‘kneeing’ by Tonya Harding’s proxies
- The biting off of Evander Holyfield’s ear by Mike Tyson
- Tony Stewart killing a fellow driver
- An MMA fighter brutally beating his girlfriend because he lost a match
- Sliding into base with spikes exposed to the 2nd baseman or shortstop
- Intentional throwing a 98 mph fast ball at a batters head
- The breaking of a nose, on purpose during a soccer match
- The ejection of a player for ‘unnecessary roughness’ during a high intensity football game
- The breaking of a players leg in the NHL
- Punches thrown during a basketball game or choking your coach i.e. Letrell Spreewell
Do I really need to keep going?
As one sports season starts off and others begin their playoff runs, we will see our share of WPV incidents. It is certain that it won’t be called that by the broadcasters, writers, coaches, owners, or league officials mainly because, I don’t believe, it’s ever been addressed with this term before.
But, just like violence within police responses, hospital staff being assaulted, and security officers being verbally, or physically, assaulted on a regular basis, there’s not a whole lot can be done. In most cases, what hurts more is the ruins of their careers and money making abilities doing what they love i.e. Mike Tyson & Tonya Harding.
As fans we usually cheer when something like that happens on the field, for our team. “It shows how intense and aggressive they are by doing that!” “They want to win so bad it clouded their judgement when they did that”. Fines, ejections, and having doubts cast upon their characters by these incidents don’t seem to affect athletes. Look at Indomican Su of the Miami Dolphins and his troubles with the Detroit Lions.
Yet we have a double standard with WPV, and in college sports SV. If one of your employees was so intense and aggressive and got upset because something didn’t go their way…and they just keel-hauled another employee for slowing them down…what would happen to them? Chances are, they would be suspended, terminated, and more than likely prosecuted for the offense.
In the offenses I listed above, only four had charges brought against the offenders. Mostly, they were let off with a sizeable fine and suspension from the team and nothing more. Only a couple was actually prosecuted and then plea deals let them off with minimal jail time.
As I have said for a long time; it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason. And sports is never an exception
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I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear