Should Poker Be Considered A Sport?

The definition of sport is, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. There is a fine line when considering whether or not something should be considered a game or sport. Poker falls right into that category. It was invented in the early 1800’s and has been growing ever since. The problem when comparing the definition of sport to poker is how there is no physical activity when playing. Although this may seem like a reasonable deciding factor, it is not be that simple. I think the main argument comes down to weather or not people believe poker is considered gambling. Speaking from experience, I know that poker in the long term heavily is more skill weighted then it is luck. However, people who do not play will ultimately think of it as a gambling game as it takes place in casinos. The main difference is that in casinos, poker is the only game where you are playing against other people and not the house. There is no clear cut answer on whether or not poker should be considered a sport but with my knowledge about it, I believe it should be. If people believe the definition of sport should not involve the physical aspect then poker should definitely be considered one. It is a game that requires a ton of skill in order to be successful in the long run. This is shown by the professional poker players who make a living doing so.

The world series of poker (WSOP) is an annual poker tournament series which runs in Las Vegas. In 2003 during the main event of the world series, Chris Moneymaker, a recreational poker player came first place for a total prize of $2,500,000. This sparked what is called ‘the poker boom’. A lot of attention was brought to poker because of this. People saw this guy who barely knew anything about poker win the tournament and it started the boom. This directly goes against the argument of how poker is more skill then luck. However, poker tournaments require a ton of luck as they usually take place for 4-7 days. There are many different types of poker but tournament play is one that requires a high amount of luck for one tournament but over the course of a lot, the skill factor goes way up.

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The WSOP takes place every summer for a period of two months. It is a time where mainly every professional poker player goes to play a bunch of tournaments. The prize-pools that these tournaments generate are outstanding. There were a total of 68 events this past summer. The main event, which is a $10,000 buy in, accumulated a prize-pool of around $60,000,000. The first place winner won $7,683,346. This type of money is right up there with the highest paid professional athletes in the world. The amount of money that these players make is also another factor in why I think poker should be considered a sport. Poker is something that people have to study and train for a long period of time. This is similar to any other sport that is played on a professional level as those athletes also study and train for a long period of time. The highest earning poker player from only tournaments is Daniel Negreanu who has $30,686,160 in lifetime earnings. Negreanu is from Canada and has been a professional poker player for around 20 years. Advertisement is one of the biggest factors during the WSOP. Sponsorships and generating advertisement revenue are also key factors on why poker should be considered a sport. In all other major sports it is a business where tons of advertisements take place. An example of this is the Superbowl in the NFL. A 30-second ad in this years Superbowl was approximately $4,500,000. Poker is also a business generating money from advertisements as well as the player who are mainly sponsored.

Online poker is another major aspect of what makes poker so popular. Poker can be played online against anyone else in the world as long as you are over the age limit which is 18 years old. The poker boom in 2003 had a huge affect on online poker as it grew at a rapid pace. People fell in love with it as there was a ton of money to be made from the less experienced players who just started out playing. Moneymaker started that trend of amateurs starting to play because he gave them all hope after his big win. Moneymaker won at online satellite tournament for $40.00 which gave him an entry into the $10,000 tournament he ended up winning in 2003. This was the story that people loved and everyone wanted it to happen to them.

One of the most appealing aspects of poker is how there is a luck factor involved. One of the best poker players in the world could sit down with someone who does not understand much about it and can still lose. However, if these two played 1000 matches, the professional would almost certainly win the majority. There are a lot of athletes who end up playing poker after they are finished there careers. The reason for this is due to the competitiveness it brings. Examples of athletes who play poker are; Michael Phelps, members of the Manchester United Squad, Paul Pierce, Shane Warne, Steve Davis, and many others.

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(Photo of Michael Phelps playing poker)

The competitiveness and drive is what these athletes love about the game as it has many similarities with all the other sports. A perfect example of a sport that can be compared to poker is billiards. Billiards is a sport that involves minimal physical activity but a ton of mental focus, just like poker. If billiards is considered a sport then poker must be considered one as well.

When a game is played on many different levels, such as; recreationally, occasionally, part-time, or professionally, I believe it should be considered a sport. On the ESPN homepage, poker is listed as a sport due to these reasons posted above. Poker should definitely be considered a sport.

Jonah Silverstein

 

 

Work Cited 

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/113030/why-is-poker-a-sport-and-not-just-a-game

https://betting.betfair.com/poker/news/8-poker-playing-sportsmen-and-sportswomen-300713-162.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2348713-super-bowl-commercials-2015-updated-ad-costs-value-and-leaks-info

http://www.pokernews.com/news/2015/05/pro-athletes-2015-wsop-21548.htm

http://www.pokerupdate.com/news/tournaments-and-miscellaneous/wsop-winners-throughout-history-part-3/

http://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=181

 

Paying NCAA athletes

According to USA today, annual revenue for the NCAA in the year 2014 topped 1 billion dollars with a surplus of about $80 million- up from $59 million the year before. The players receive money from this revenue stream through the means of scholarship money- but is it enough? The NCAA have explicit rules preventing players from accepting bribes or incentives to play for a certain NCAA, such as in football. Payment to the players has been viewed as a moral issue guiding the NCAA’s policies-; punishments such as suspensions have been given out to players and player management due to violations.

Football is a collision sport and can be viewed as high risk to the participants involved. Contractarianism is the theory of the parties involved consenting to the activity and therefor rendering it moral. In NCAA football, players, fans, universities and the governing bodies are the parties involved that agree that players compete on the field in exchange for an athletic scholarship. The players also subject themselves to injury when they compete- but do they fully understand the risks and should they be compensated further for these risks? With the massive amount of money that the NCAA generates, should more proportionate compensation be paid to the athletes?

Financial compensation

Players aren’t being paid a sufficient amount of money for risking their body on the football field. Contractarianism would suggest that the parties have consented to the risk of injury, but do the players fully understand the extent of the risk? A recent lawsuit against the NCAA cites head trauma as the main reason for further financial compensation for the players in mainly hockey, football and lacrosse. Did those athletes full understand the risks involved in their respective sport? They did not- and the NCAA is profiting off of spectacle that the athletes themselves produce playing. The athletes should be paid more for their injury risks on the field in Football and proportionate to how much the NCAA profits from the athletic spectacle- which is a substantial amount.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a report by the National College Players Association (advocacy group for college athletes in the United States) suggesting that the average full scholarship ride lacks $3,222 a year due to other fees such as utility fees and even parking charges. The scholarship can only pay for so much of the player’s needs. A more progressive approach to funding NCAA football athletes should be considered. The new amount of funding could help players afford the necessities and prevent them from any potential NCAA violations such as bribes to play for a certain NCAA team.

NCAA violations

Over the last 5 years there have been numerous bribe scandals and NCAA rule violations in regards to recruitment and team management conduct. Jacory Harris, former quarterback of the Miami Hurricanes (NCAA football,) was cited a violation due to a tally of “improper meals” and entertainment and nightclub charges. Football teams and players, across the NCAA, have been cited with the same violations and have been dealt with by remedial suspensions. If the players are already breaking rules set by the NCAA, shouldn’t the NCAA have heavier punishments or should the players be paid appropriately- since the players will just risk the penalty? The punishments for the expense violations is not effective. Pay the players a sufficient and even modest salary to avoid rule violations; the appropriate compensation will prevent the incentive by the players to go around NCAA regulation.

 

Against Paying NCAA football players

Amateurism in sports can be defined as not accepting money for their performance and activity while governed by a regulatory body. In the context of academia, the players participate for the exchange of an education, whether subsidized or fully paid for in the NCAA. Academic integrity might be the first casualty of paying players because the athletes will be bias towards getting an education based on the amount of money that an institution may offer. Higher pay may dictate the enrollment of student athletes rather than the academic focus itself. Larger schools with more capital will have a large advantage over small schools. For example, a highly talented running back may choose to play for Miami because of higher pay roll than a division III School that has an optimal academic environment. Perhaps a player may choose a school based on money but it is not the only factor. Academia, history, potential playing time etc. could all be the important criterion for players, rather than the money.

Utilitarianism, the theory of more benefits than added costs, would suggest the money would provide more necessities to the current players rather than the costs of an overall NCAA recruiting system of money (money that can create recruitment bias towards an NCAA team/school.)

 

Pay the players- it’s in the NCAA’s best interest

The raising of financial compensation of NCAA football athletes to a salary while still including the scholarship both have a contractarian and utilitarianism argument to support this. While recruitment bias towards larger schools may cause moral issues with paying the players to playing, a NCAA salary cap could be put into play to both prevent ridiculous salaries and to sustain the player’s well-being. Well-being can be defined in this case as the risk factor involved with these athletes and the amount of expenditures the players have when they go to college.

It is important for the NCAA to regulate their league appropriately but move beyond the traditional ways of only providing strictly scholarship funds. The players cannot sustain themselves at this minimal funding level while the NCAA makes millions off of the spectacle that is college football in the United States. NCAA football athletes have to deal with not only injury risk but the living expenses associated with college and academia. While there are reasons not to pay the athletes, there is a farther greater problem and a greater variety of issues regarding the insufficient compensation paid to the athletes from the NCAA. Pay the players adequately for the services they provide on the field.

Links and sources:

http://www.newhaven.edu/192637.pdf

http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/antibull32&div=15&g_sent=1&collection=journals

http://nlcatp.org/5-critical-pros-and-cons-of-paying-college-athletes/

http://greengarageblog.org/12-primary-pros-and-cons-of-paying-college-athletes

http://www.newhaven.edu/192637.pdf

http://www.newhaven.edu/192637.pdf

http://www.newhaven.edu/192637.pdf

http://www.newhaven.edu/192637.pdf

Should Pete Rose Be Reinstated?

Most sports fans are familiar with Pete Rose’s story by now but if you aren’t here’s a quick background. Rose played the majority of his baseball career for the Cincinnati Reds and retired as the all time MLB hits leader, a record that he still holds today. Rose would eventually return to manage the Reds where he got into trouble; in 1989 he was caught placing bets on his team win games, (reportedly not only as a manager but in his playing days as well) which comes with a lifetime ban from the sport. To this day Rose is still banned which means that although he may be the greatest hitter of all time he will never receive the highest honour of being inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose has filed an appeal for reinstatement on four separate occasions, being turned down all four times. Rob Manfred took over as MLB commissioner to start the 2015 season so with a new man charge Rose once again filed an appeal for reinstatement. Manfred has now promised a deliberation by the end of this year, “On Thursday, September 24th, Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Pete Rose and his representatives at Major League Baseball’s New York office regarding Mr. Rose’s application for reinstatement. Commissioner Manfred informed Mr. Rose that he will make a decision on his application by the end of the calendar year. Both parties have agreed to refrain from further comment.”-Statement released by Major League Baseball

 

Does he deserve to be reinstated?

This is a challenging ethical question since on one hand Rose knew better than to bet on baseball. After an infamous betting scandal in 1919 where eight players from the Chicago Black Sox took money from gamblers in return for intentionally losing games everyone knew that participating in betting on the sport while playing came with a lifetime ban. In addition to this previous incident it is clearly outlined in the MLB rulebook as well:

Rule 21 MISCONDUCT, (d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES, Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

Pete Rose has become the poster boy for the severity that the MLB views gambling on baseball if you’re involved with the sport. His lifetime ban being upheld sends a message to current players that gambling will not be tolerated. Many people associated with Major League Baseball agree that Rose deserves to continue serving his lifetime suspension including former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who when asked about the topic said, “You have got to be out. He has got to be suspended for life…If you are stupid enough to go out and bet on your own team and bet on baseball, there has got to be something wrong. If my brother did it I’d say the same thing.” –Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame Manager.

Pete Rose Hit #4192

 Now looking at the other side of the spectrum, everyone agrees that Rose deserved to be punished for his actions, however is the severity really necessary? As a society we have been historically forgiving, we’ve forgiven many criminals who have committed terrible crimes but haven’t found it within ourselves to forgive a man for betting on baseball. Bobby Valentine former New York Mets manager spoke with Sports Illustrated recently and said,

There’s a big sign on the wall, we all know that,” Valentine says. “Gambling is not allowed. And I think it’s a societal situation now, he served his 25 years, you know, murder’s not allowed either, but second-degree murder, you can get out of jail after 25 years.”-Bobby Valentine, former manager.

Even taking a look inside Major League Baseball we find a plethora of situations where players and managers have been pardoned for seemingly inexcusable acts. Mark McGwire was found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs and he now works in the sport. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz were all suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs and they’re all back playing the game and being celebrated as great athletes. Leo Desrocher, the manager who used a buzzer and telescope system to tip his batters on what the next pitch would, which allowed his New York Giants to win the 1951 National League pennant, is in the Hall of Fame.

This being said I feel strongly that as each of these men before him have been forgiven for their mistakes, Rose should be giventhe same courtesy by Major League Baseball. Although Pete Rose may not have been ethical in his actions it would also be unethical of us as a society not to forgive him. He has paid his dues so now lets give him the credit he deserves as an all time great baseball player and put him in the Hall of Fame.

 

Works Cited:

Woo, Jeremy. “Sports News, Scores and Highlights from Sports Illustrated.”SI.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Sports News | Fox News.” Fox News. FOX News Network, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Weinberg, Rick. “Pete Rose Banned From Baseball.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 09 Apr. 2004. Web. 23 Nov. 2015

Additional Material:

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13114874/notebook-obtained-lines-shows-pete-rose-bet-baseball-player-1986

http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/6-things-to-know-about-the-pete-rose-ban.html/?a=viewall

http://www.biography.com/people/pete-rose-39483

Can Sports Officials Change The Way The Game Is Played?

Every single game or sport in existence has some sort of referee or official to delegate the rules of the game and to make sure no one is cheating. However, officials can cause a lot of controversy in sports and can sometimes change the entire way a game is played. Many people have problems with the way certain sports are officiated or with certain calls an official will make. Officials can generate a lot of violence or aggression from players, fans coaches etc, of a team is a call is not made in their favour. Officials are also human like all the players on the field and therefore cannot see certain things or may have different ideas about what is right or wrong concerning the game play or players actions.dysonbatflip

When playing a game a player has to accept that there will be certain rules to follow that are delegated by an official. Officials can make a lot of mistakes, they are only human! However, this can affect the way a game is played or a game outcome, or whether an athlete wins a race or not. For example, I am a varsity athlete myself playing a variety of sports growing up, however focusing on field hockey in university. During one of our games this year a goal was rewarded against the rules after the ball hit a players foot and went in. In the game field hockey, if the ball hits your foot it then automatically must go to the other team, therefore the goal would have been called off and my team would have got the ball. However, the official did not see the ball hit the players foot, therefore the goal was rewarded and my team lost an important game 1-0. These kind of things matter, especially in games that really count and could have decided a team’s fate in the season. Another example from a professional sport is a basketball game between the Celtics and the Lakers. A ball is hit out of bounds, but it is hard to tell which team hit it out. On the video replay it is evident that the Celtics player hit the ball out, however the official still gives the Celtics the ball and keeps the call them same. Is that ethically right to do so even with video replay evidence?

americanfootball

Doping in sports has always been considered something bad and those who do are called cheaters. It is thought that one is not playing the game if they are cheating because they have an unfair advantage over everyone else involved. However, people always have problems with officials and how their performance affects the game play. What if officials started doping instead of athletes? They could take performance enhancing drugs that could improve their eyesight, their reaction times and their memory on game rules. They could also become fitter and depending on the sport be able to get up and down the field or ice or whatever playing surface quicker to chance more mistakes and/or rule breaking without missing anything. Is this ethically okay, because technically these officials are not playing the game they are officiating it, therefore it would not be cheating to dope. However, this is an interesting subject because some official sport organizations such as Fifa believe that officials are considered “part of the game” and therefore should also be drug tested just like the players. For example Michel D’Hooghe, the chairman of Fifa’s medical committee, added: “The referee is an athlete on the field so I think he should be subjected to the same rules” (Referees set for performance-enhancing drug tests, says Fifa, the guardian.com). So really it depends on the game that is being played, however I believe having referees who are more aware would definitely change the game for the better.

Officials all make mistakes, sometimes causing a lot of violence or aggression from fans, players, coaches etc. Is it ethically okay to be mad at an official who makes a mistake when they are only human? People make mistakes all the time daily, some big and some small. However it seems when an official makes even a small mistake people can get very violent and upset. Many sports are meant to be played violently, for example football and rugby, however it when coaches or players get mad at officials the game can become dangerous.

Is it really fair play when officials can decide the way the game is played and could be biased against a certain team? Research has found that home advantage really is a thing and sometimes when officials support a certain team they are biased towards making calls against the other team. According to freaknomics.com “The social atmosphere in the stadium leads referees into favouritism although being impartial is optimal for them to maximize their re-appointment probability” (Dubner, Stephan, freaknomics.com). This is an interesting point because is it really fair play or ethical that a crowd manipulates a referee to think a certain way?

Therefore, yes it is believed that officials can manipulate and change the way a game is played and there are many ethical dilemmas and concerns associated around the entire topic, all very interesting to look into. The most interesting I believe is whether or not it is okay for officials to dope and whether that is ethical or not towards the game as a whole. Many officials get a bad rap because everyone makes mistakes and sometimes mistakes can be made at the wrong times. Thus, I believe that officials should get get cut some slack because it is such a crazy and stressful job when you could decide whether a team wins or loses.


Additional information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7dOWwm3IUQ

http://www.rugbyquebec.com/uploads/AARQ/documents/Qualities_of_a_Referee.pdf


Works Cited

“Practical Ethics.” Practical Ethics. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

“Referees Set for Performance-enhancing Drug Tests, Says Fifa.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 24 May 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Dubner, Stephan. ““Football Freakonomics”: How Advantageous Is Home-Field Advantage? And Why?” Freakonomics RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

#250742611

Can Sports Officials Change The Way The Game Is Played?

Every single game or sport in existence has some sort of referee or official to delegate the rules of the game and to make sure no one is cheating. However, officials can cause a lot of controversy in sports and can sometimes change the entire way a game is played. Many people have problems with the way certain sports are officiated or with certain calls an official will make. Officials can generate a lot of violence or aggression from players, fans coaches etc, of a team is a call is not made in their favour. Officials are also human like all the players on the field and therefore cannot see certain things or may have different ideas about what is right or wrong concerning the game play or players actions.dysonbatflip

When playing a game a player has to accept that there will be certain rules to follow that are delegated by an official. Officials can make a lot of mistakes, they are only human! However, this can affect the way a game is played or a game outcome, or whether an athlete wins a race or not. For example, I am a varsity athlete myself playing a variety of sports growing up, however focusing on field hockey in university. During one of our games this year a goal was rewarded against the rules after the ball hit a players foot and went in. In the game field hockey, if the ball hits your foot it then automatically must go to the other team, therefore the goal would have been called off and my team would have got the ball. However, the official did not see the ball hit the players foot, therefore the goal was rewarded and my team lost an important game 1-0. These kind of things matter, especially in games that really count and could have decided a team’s fate in the season. Another example from a professional sport is a basketball game between the Celtics and the Lakers. A ball is hit out of bounds, but it is hard to tell which team hit it out. On the video replay it is evident that the Celtics player hit the ball out, however the official still gives the Celtics the ball and keeps the call them same. Is that ethically right to do so even with video replay evidence?

americanfootball

Doping in sports has always been considered something bad and those who do are called cheaters. It is thought that one is not playing the game if they are cheating because they have an unfair advantage over everyone else involved. However, people always have problems with officials and how their performance affects the game play. What if officials started doping instead of athletes? They could take performance enhancing drugs that could improve their eyesight, their reaction times and their memory on game rules. They could also become fitter and depending on the sport be able to get up and down the field or ice or whatever playing surface quicker to chance more mistakes and/or rule breaking without missing anything. Is this ethically okay, because technically these officials are not playing the game they are officiating it, therefore it would not be cheating to dope. However, this is an interesting subject because some official sport organizations such as Fifa believe that officials are considered “part of the game” and therefore should also be drug tested just like the players. For example Michel D’Hooghe, the chairman of Fifa’s medical committee, added: “The referee is an athlete on the field so I think he should be subjected to the same rules” (Referees set for performance-enhancing drug tests, says Fifa, the guardian.com). So really it depends on the game that is being played, however I believe having referees who are more aware would definitely change the game for the better.

Officials all make mistakes, sometimes causing a lot of violence or aggression from fans, players, coaches etc. Is it ethically okay to be mad at an official who makes a mistake when they are only human? People make mistakes all the time daily, some big and some small. However it seems when an official makes even a small mistake people can get very violent and upset. Many sports are meant to be played violently, for example football and rugby, however it when coaches or players get mad at officials the game can become dangerous.

Is it really fair play when officials can decide the way the game is played and could be biased against a certain team? Research has found that home advantage really is a thing and sometimes when officials support a certain team they are biased towards making calls against the other team. According to freaknomics.com “The social atmosphere in the stadium leads referees into favouritism although being impartial is optimal for them to maximize their re-appointment probability” (Dubner, Stephan, freaknomics.com). This is an interesting point because is it really fair play or ethical that a crowd manipulates a referee to think a certain way?

Therefore, yes it is believed that officials can manipulate and change the way a game is played and there are many ethical dilemmas and concerns associated around the entire topic, all very interesting to look into. The most interesting I believe is whether or not it is okay for officials to dope and whether that is ethical or not towards the game as a whole. Many officials get a bad rap because everyone makes mistakes and sometimes mistakes can be made at the wrong times. Thus, I believe that officials should get get cut some slack because it is such a crazy and stressful job when you could decide whether a team wins or loses.


Additional information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7dOWwm3IUQ

http://www.rugbyquebec.com/uploads/AARQ/documents/Qualities_of_a_Referee.pdf


Works Cited

“Practical Ethics.” Practical Ethics. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

“Referees Set for Performance-enhancing Drug Tests, Says Fifa.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 24 May 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Dubner, Stephan. ““Football Freakonomics”: How Advantageous Is Home-Field Advantage? And Why?” Freakonomics RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

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Could we be hurting our children by protecting them too much?

imgres.jpgimgres.jpg

In this day and age there is a never ending flow of things that we need to protect our children from.  There has been a push in recent years to make play safer for children, and it begs the question, is this in the best interest of our children?

Many parents worry about their children playing outside the home.  In order to protect them from getting hurt they simply don’t allow them to go out and play and instead keep them at home.  Children are less active today then ever before, spending more time sitting down at home in front of screens.  Research has shown that the current generation of children spend the majority of their day sitting, which is associated with all kinds of negative health effects.   It seems as though some parents attempts at safety my harm children more then actually help them.

There is obvious value to play.  It is more then just fun.  It is a fundamental part of childhood that fosters children’s physical and emotional and social development.  Many argue that children have a right to play, and that it is the responsibility of society to ensure all children get to play.

Some wonder however whether or not there is a place for dangerous play in a child’s life.  Could taking risks and doing things that are dangerous, without being stopped by adults be a good thing for children?  One philosopher has argued that there is in fact important value in risky play for children. When raising children, we need to prepare them for adulthood, part of which is learning how to make safe choices.  So, allowing children to make risky choices and learn the consequences of those choices at an early age, is important as it can prepare them for later life.

This philosopher proposes an interesting thought experiment to illustrate his argument.  Suppose we had an army of Danger Averting Devices (DADs), whose job was to ensure no child ever got hurt while they played.  DADs would effectively eliminate all risk to a child’s safety and life.  Although at first this may seem to be a good thing, it is troubling because kids would not learn how to self regulate.  With DADs as an integral part of childhood, kids may start finding joy in things like jumping of tall buildings, or seeing how close they can get to being hit by a car.  Without any natural limits, children will grow up lacking the ability to think critically about potentially dangerous situations in their daily lives.

This does not mean that we should allow children to do whatever they’d like too.  For example, it would be irresponsible to let 3 year olds play unsupervised by a busy road, but letting children do age appropriate things is important.

So why does this matter?

The way children play today does not look the same as it did 50 years ago. Play has changed over time.  On the school yard, the rules and regulations have been established to protect children as much as possible.  Gone are the days of tackle football, baseball bats, and sliding on ice in the winter.  These activities have been banned because of the inherent risk for injury that goes along with them.  The lengths we are willing go to protect our kids from harm is astounding.  Some Toronto schools have even banned cartwheels on the grass surface, and believe it or not, an American school banned all tag games.  All of these restrictions placed on what kids are allowed to do has taken the fun out of play, and children are opting to spend their time doing other things.  Research has shown that the decline of play in children has lead to increased depression and anxiety, and decreased critical thinking skills and creativity.

imgres.jpg imgres.jpg

It seems reasonable to me that if we stop worrying so much about our children getting hurt, and start worrying about ensuring our kids are getting outside and playing, then overall they would be better off.  This means that children may go out and do things that end in scrapped knees, bruised elbows, or maybe even broken bones, but worse things could happen.  After all, we live in a country with great health care and the reality is, kids heal.  We are privileged enough to live in relatively peaceful neighbourhoods with safe places for our kids to play.   It does not seem right to take away the values of risky play simply to avoid a few superficial injuries.

The question that follows of course, is what is too dangerous for our kids, and where should we draw the line?  Some philosophers believe that we should only be concerned with risks that will have long term effects on children.  They think any injury that will have little to no effect on a child’s adult life should not be a primary concern.  For example, we should concern ourselves with head injuries because research has shown that head injuries at an early age can have lasting effects over the course of one’s lifetime.  For obvious reasons, it also makes sense to avoid risks that lead to death.

Our focus needs to shift to setting age appropriate limitations on what kinds of play it are acceptable for children to engage in.  This requires balancing the value of risky and dangerous play, with the value of protecting our children’s well being.

At the end of the day, it is important that we encourage kids to be kids and allow them to freely explore the world they life in.  Think back to the days of your parents or maybe even your grandparents.  Far less emphasis was placed on playing safe, and they learned valuable lessons from occasionally getting into trouble and getting hurt.

-Michael Pierce

References:

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 2007, 34, 176-193  “Children and Dangerous Sport and Recreation” John Russel, http://journals.humankinetics.com/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/11154.pdf

Children’s Right to Play: An Examination of the Importance of Play in the Lives of Children Worldwide. Working Papers in Early Childhood Development, No. 57, http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED52253

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/23/sitting-is-bad-for-children-too/?_r=0

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/09/18/schools-ban-on-cartwheels-leaves-a-few-heads-spinning.html

More on the value of play:

The Decline of play, By Peter Gray: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg-GEzM7iTk

http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

 

 

Are NFL Players Untouchable?

Since 2005 there has been twelve players in the national football league(NFL) arrested for domestic violence or related charges that are still playing in the NFL! Professional football players have found a way to commit violent crimes and still get to play the sport they love, making ridiculous amounts of money while only suffering a small suspension.

I grew up loving football but I am quickly loosing my love for the game. I feel as though when I watch football I am supporting abuse because of how easily the league shrugs it off. Nine out of the thirty-two teams have at least one athlete that has been arrested for violent crimes. Those are the ones who got caught! That means that almost one-third of the league condones such behaviour.

The NFL has one of the most broadcasted charity events that lasts an entire month caring for women with breast cancer. The players on all of the team’s wear pink all of October to spread awareness for breast cancer. Why is it that a league that appears to care so much about women has little to say about domestic abuse? It appears as though the NFL really does care about women when you look at all of the men wearing pink but could it also be that the only reason the NFL has the charity event it to attract women viewers.

sports

The NFL gave Tom Brady a four game suspension because he was suspected of deflating footballs before the games yet there was no suspension given to Ray McDonald while he was being charged with domestic violence. The NFL is willing to suspend a player for possibly deflating balls but not for possibly being charged with abuse. The message the league is sending is that the game is worth more than a person’s safety.

A very famous case relating to the NFL players and domestic abuse is the the case of Ray Rice. Ray was caught on camera abusing a woman and he was suspended indefinitely from the league. This suspension made a statement that the league was no longer dealing lightly with domestic abuse but just two short months later the suspension was over turned and Ray Rice was back to playing football!

link to video of Ray Rice abusing his Fiancée

Football players continue to believe they are untouchable because of the lack of discipline. Domestic abuse is not the only form of abuse that has been caught in the NFL. Michael Vick was a star quarter back and was caught dog fighting. Vick and his associates trained over fifty bull dogs and called it the “Bad Newz Kennels”. They staged dog fights, killed dogs and gambled over who would win. In 2007 Michael and his associates executed eight dogs for not preforming. The executions involved drowning, hanging and slamming the dogs to the ground. Vick was suspended infinitely from the NFL. After two years out of the league, on July 27, 2009 Michael Vick was back in the NFL. How is it that a man that displayed that amount of violence, hosting dog fights for over six years is allowed to play in the NFL just two years after being suspended?

The NFL needs to make adjustments if they want me and viewers like me to continue to watch a support the NFL. Players do these acts of violence and then give a public apology and everything is swept under the rug and the players are back on the field a few games later. We advertise these athletes as roll models for children, its who they want to grow up to be. How is it ethically okay to allow children to look up to and aspire to be men that abuse woman and get away with it.

If a President of a company was arrested for domestically abusing his wife, he would be fired before he was even charged. Why is It that we treat professional athletes like kids, who just need a time out every now and then. I think it is time that we start treating athletes not only as adults but to a higher standard then the average person because of how much influence they have on those around them. When someone hears about a domestic abuse case in the NFL no one bats an eye because it is constantly happening but if people heard that a CEO of a fortune 500 company had been abusing his wife, people would be outraged. The only difference between the CEO and the football player is that the football player hits people for a living and its good at it. A football player could probably do ten times the damage an average business man can do to another human being yet it’s the business man will most likely face ten times the consequences.

link to video of Desmond Hague abusing a small dog
http://globalnews.ca/news/1528859/centerplate-ceo-des-hague-resigns-over-dog-abuse-video/

Desmond Hague the former CEO of Centerplate stepped down after getting caught abusing a small dog. Desmond lost the company he loves because he was caught on camera abusing a dog one time. Michael Vick on the other hand abused and killed dogs for six years and is still doing what he loves with very little consequences. The difference between Vick and Hague is that Hague got caught making one mistake while Vick got caught with six years of them. Desmond Hague’s career is ruined for abusing one dog while Michael Vicks career only had a two-year suspension for abusing and killing numerous amounts of dogs.

The NFL’s main goal needs to be finding a way to separate an athlete from the game and life at home. The athletes need to learn that hitting can’t solve all of their problems. The NFL is going to have a find a way to monitor their athletes and make sure they are communicating in a safe way with those around them. The Penalties must become more severe for these acts of violence.

Additional reading:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/nfl-sponsors-pulling-back-but-not-out-over-domestic-violence-scandal-1.2771730

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/nfl-controversy/still-playing-12-nfl-players-have-domestic-violence-arrests-n204831

http://aldf.org/resources/laws-cases/animal-fighting-case-study-michael-vick/

Resources:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/nfl-sponsors-pulling-back-but-not-out-over-domestic-violence-scandal-1.2771730

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/nfl-controversy/still-playing-12-nfl-players-have-domestic-violence-arrests-n204831

http://aldf.org/resources/laws-cases/animal-fighting-case-study-michael-vick/

http://globalnews.ca/news/1528859/centerplate-ceo-des-hague-resigns-over-dog-abuse-video/

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/the-nfls-pink-october-does-not-raise-money-for-cancer-research