Deviance and Poor Behaviour of the Players in Sports

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Sports deviance is known as actions and behaviours that deter from the normal, which are perceived as being negative. This could be many things such as violence in sport, doping and drug use within a sporting environment, match-fixing, and foul play by sports players in general. Deviance within a sporting environment greatly affects the media around sports in many different ways. This is largely down to the players and the fans when it comes to who is responsible. Contemporary sports media is quick to highlight sports deviance through all types of sports news channels or newspapers and most of the media is making it clear that some of these deviances like “doping in sport is a problem that will not go away” (Houlihan, 2003). This could create a negative ideology or perception of the sport that is being accused. One sporting deviance example that the sports media thrived on, took place when the Pakistan cricket team faced England at Lord’s in 2010. This was when Mohammad Amir, who is a bowler for Pakistan was caught spot-fixing for “deliberately bowling no-balls” (Newman, 2015) as part of a deal with a bookmaker, and in return, Amir would receive a large sum of money. It was only after the game was finished that this information was discovered that Mohammad Amir and the Pakistan captain were both part of the plan to work with the unknown bookmaker. All of the media coverage that occurred due to the deviance within the Pakistan cricket team, built up a negative impression worldwide. Mohammad Amir also received lots of hate from the Pakistan cricket community, and it was said that his “disgrace has disillusioned a generation of talented young Pakistani cricketers” (Sahi and Bangyaal, 2011) and all of Amir’s participation within the spot-fixing scandal “dealt a ‘big blow’ to the country’s pride” (Sahi and Bangyaal, 2011). This example shows how much of an effect the media can have on not only the people they write about but all of the people that are involved around the subject.

The fact that these are professional cricket players playing at the highest level also shows how much of a poor role model they have been through the media and the deviance they conspired to promote negative behaviours for the younger generation. Overall the press and media coverage surrounding the controversial act by the players demoralises the sport in a way where it loses credibility and professionalism. Lance Armstrong was involved in one of the most controversial doping cases within cycling involving performance-enhancing drugs. The American Cyclist burst onto the scene in 1999 when he won his first of many Tour de France races. He then went on to win the next six Tour de France races making it seven consecutive years in a row. The media portrayed Armstrong as a sporting great, however, in 2005 “the newspaper l’Equipe alleges that EPO was found in several samples” (Fotheringham, 2015) that Armstrong gave within his 1999 Tour de France win. In 2012 the media informed the world of the consequences that Armstrong would face as a result of the doping scandal. This included a ban for life by the International Cycling Union and being stripped of all his Tour de France titles. All of the derogatory media coverage surrounding the doping undergone sparked many other drug tests to be done by other Tour de France cyclists. It was also said that Armstrong’s doping “battered the reputation of international cycling” (O’Hagan, 2012).

The media regarding sports largely affects people’s perceptions on a certain subject within a sport. If the news shared stories on the hooliganism or negative behaviour that occurred at a football game, then the people viewing this story may associate all football games with this hooliganism when this is not the case. This also shows how the media can manipulate viewers to think certain things, and how it can portray certain sports players having a reputation that may not be true. However, deviance within sports is so largely covered by all media platforms whether its spot-fixing by players, drug test failures, or cheating. The media today has millions of people around the world as viewers whether it is on the television, the radio or even in the newspaper, which is why all parts of sports including deviance is such a key element.

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