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Sports Violence - The Interaction Between Private Lawmaking and the Criminal Law

NCJ Number
R B Horrow
Date Published
298 pages
This book examines the scope and nature of criminal violence in professional sports, with particular attention to football and hockey, and the forces involved in the litigation process for this phenomenon.
It is intended for use by those interested in either sports or law, or both. It explores the internal pressures in professional sports which operate to suppress those who wish to pursue a claim against a fellow athlete. Using responses from surveys sent to 1,400 professional athletes in football, basketball, and hockey, the book identifies and examines factors which produce conformity with the generally accepted notion that even severe violence is just part of the game. Internal league mechanisms which try to deal with violence severe enough to overcome the pressures to suppress it are analyzed. Relevant league procedures are examined from the perspective of current case law on due process, antitrust, and labor law, to decide whether these procedures can or should be revised. Using interviews with 34 prosecutors in counties with major professional teams, the book explores the prosecutorial decision of whether to use the criminal justice system to deal with notorious incidents of sports violence. Criminal law that will apply if an athlete is charged is explained, and case law on assault and battery and various defenses are reviewed. A case of an attack during a hockey game is described to illustrate how enforcement may work in practice. The book concludes with recommendations for fairer and more effective handling of sports violence cases. Footnotes and appendixes presenting study instruments, lists of study participants, and extensive reference lists are included. (Author abstract modified)