Sports is very important for the society because of the fact that it brings totality of the society or community by bringing them together in one place where they can share values both socially and politically through the representations of the sportsmen or athletes and greatly defines their ethics as well as moral values as a whole community. It provides an opportunity for the spectators and fans to enjoy themselves and maintain good coexistence with one another in sporting events. One important aspect associated with sports is the process of integration of the aspect of the class associated with winning and losing. This aspect is very important because it provides for a form of morally and acceptable form of war in the form of games that people can sit down together and enjoy themselves as fans and spectators.
This aspect of class creation is also important because it provides for the identification of societal values and factors associated with superiority. When sports defines superiority or rather elitism through process of win or lose, major social problems can be identified in the society such as sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination because sports provides a basis of expression as a mass and since people go to watch sports for leisure and for a good time, makes it easier for expression and it is during this time that such aspects are brought out. The various values associated with sports have changed the sports perspective from just spectatorship that was like in the past to sports consumption in the form of entertainment (Sports and the Society, 2014). The sports competitors are also very important elements of sports that the public seek to get values from. The individual values associated with certain competitors has been a very important aspect that most spectators seek hidden values from and through their expressions in the arenas during games provides a platform for transfer of value to the spectators (Not Just a Game, 2014). These hidden values associated with these athletes are in the form of their economic as well as social characteristics. Sports help bring people from different backgrounds as far as race, gender and religion is concerned and puts them together in the common platform for entertainment purpose (Sports and the Society, 2014).
The aspect of also winning adds value to spectators in the form of development of the perception of achievement, as well as the gain of success. Sports are, therefore, a very important aspect of the society that incorporates major factors of the society and makes sport a form of entertainment. The value that sports gives to spectators and fans through entertainment, as well as other values associated with morals and ethics is reciprocated by the financial support spectators give in return for the value (Sports and the Society, 2014). As a result, sports have developed into businesses with highly paid athletes and sportsmen and women. Coupled with the great media support as a result of commercialization, sports has been further development to reach as many people as possible across the world in a move for financial gain. It is for this reason that all involved with sports especially the athletes be responsible enough for their action (Not Just a Game, 2014). Since many people look up to them for their hidden values associated with social and economic factors make them icons in the society. They have great influence as a result of media coverage. However, the relationship between spectators and athletes is important for the general development of sports and the upholding of important societal values and morals that should always be maintained. Sports should always provide a platform for positive development of the society (Suter, 2014).
Today sports are given a lot of attention and this is clear through the major media coverage. This is because of the economic value associated with the willingness of people to pay for sports as a form of entertainment. This aspect has made sports a very crucial part of people’s lives (Not Just a Game, 2014). Sports has been used over the years politically as an important tool for the development of national unity that is good for redirecting the youth’s energy as well as their youthful spirits away from negative and destructive activities. This importance has created the need for a well-organized system that has made sports to as well established as it is today which is high different from many political systems of today that lack good organisation (Suter, 2014).
However, sports have been greatly associated with aspects of discrimination over the years. This aspect is as explained above by the fact that competition associated with sports develops the aspect of superiority or elitism associated with winning and losing. As a result of this aspect major social problems arise from sports scene. Discrimination in sports is usually associated with several factors of the sporting activity such as discrimination from the spectators, sporting officials or the fellow sportsmen and women. Discrimination is a social problem in sports that greatly hinders the success of the sports because of negative perceptions and creates lots of difficulties in sporting activities that renders the event undesirable because of considering others favourably less than others based on ideologies, myths and stereotypes that are untrue and create a negative public image (Discrimination in Sport, 2014).
Discrimination leads to the process of holding back certain n individuals or groups from effectively taking part in the sporting activity and results to favourably less treatment by the certain social groups. It results to the development of minority as well as majority groups in the society and in this case the sporting activity. This development is associated with the fact that the society is characterized by great diversity in cultures and coupled with history, various myths and stereotypes have been developed in the society that has greatly resulted to the increased rates of discrimination especially in sports (Discrimination in Sport, 2014). Instances of discrimination are mostly in a form that is not official, however, some of these instances have been supported by policies that are of official and a great example is the South African Apartheid that had lots of racial discrimination. The development of myths, attitudes and stereotypes have been used over a long time as excuse for self-fulfilment and has been used as platforms for discrimination in sports for a very long time. These attitudes and myths lead to the development of negative pictures that change people’s perception about a particular minority group and results to favourably less treatment. Some of the examples of factors that lead to the discrimination in the society include ethnicity or race, social class mainly associated with wealth and affluence, gender and also disability. These factors are what creates major differences in people within the society and results to discrimination as a result of superiority associated with certain aspects of the society (Discrimination in Sport, 2014).
One of the major factors that have greatly been seen in the sports scene is the aspect of racism in sports (Bass, 2005). Racism is a form of discrimination associated with the beliefs and notions that a particular racial group is superior compared to another and that this aspect is even reflect on an individual level as far as behaviour and characteristics is concerned. This aspect leads to racial segregation in the society that result to a lot of segregation. Racism is illegal but still exists in mild forms through segregation associated with people’s culture, skin colour as well as language (Brooks, 2013). In sports, racism has been greatly witnessed in various instances reported in news and other forms of media. However, there is a new and more developed platform that has come up where aspects of racism have been greatly expressed and this is through the social media. Social media is a platform that has allowed people to connect from different parts of the world and is an effective tool of expression. Racism in sports has been an aspect associated with sports organizations, players or athletes and the spectators themselves (Spence, 2000). Discrimination as a result of racism in sports reduces a very crucial factor in sports referred to as fair play and this is because of unfair treatment to some groups and individuals that receive favourably less treatment in sports. It is an aspect that has existed for a very long time and results to segregation (Merino, 2009). The perception of superiority for particular social groups result to the need by such groups t hinder the participation of other social groups and individuals in the sporting activities and this is usually based on attitudes, myth and stereotypes that are untrue and results to great discrimination in sports (Bass, 2005).
An example a story involving racial discrimination is one involving a soccer player from Italy known as Mario Balotelli. He is a well-known soccer player who is young and tactical in the field. However, he is one of the players in the world that has greatly been affected by racial discrimination from his home fans as well as fans from other countries. An example of an incident was on 21st September 2014 after a premier league match between Manchester united fc against Leicester city fc which hand a score of 5-3 (Police probe Balotelli racist abuse, 2014). Manchester united fc lost the game to Leicester and so Mario Balotelli took to his twitter page to express himself. He did this using three words only “ Man utd LOL”. This response by Mario Balotelli was met by great response on twitter from people and were mostly in the form of racial abuse. He found himself on the receiving end of angry man united fans who lashed at him with negative and abusive words mainly emphasizing on his race. These abuses correlate with what he used to be abused back at home in Italy. This incident has been taken up by the Merseyside police who are investigating the abusive incident because of the fat that racial abuse is illegal, however, most of the accounts responsible for the abuse have been closed down and has left the incident unsolved with the culprits free. This incident is an example of racial discrimination on one of the world’s soccer player. The story also brings out the importance of social media on the spread of abusive messages and its importance as a tool for communication on a global scale. Mario Balotelli’s incident has led to the emergence of anti-racial campaigns that condone such behaviour and find ways to apprehend the culprits to the relevant authorities for seeking proper justice (Police probe Mario Balotelli racist abuse as Kick It Out voice their displeasure, 2014).
Racial discrimination is a very important aspect that should be taken into great considerations in terms of control measures and use of policies to safeguard racial minorities from forms of abuses associated with discrimination. Racial awareness is very important because it clears the myths, attitudes and stereotypes associated with racism and leads to equality. The attitudes and myths are usually aimed at creating excuses for exploitation and result to self-fulfilment which creates the perception of superiority. Racial discrimination in sports affects both groups as well as individuals and reduces the aspect that sport is meant for; which is fair play. Change in policies could be used to counter discrimination (Sadly, racism in sports won’t go away, 2014). An example is the abolishment of Apartheid in South Africa. This was an official policy that supported racial discrimination in South Africa that even prevented teams of black layers competing in national games. However, abolishment of the policy saw great changes in the sports scene in South Africa with more racial coexistence and development in sports. Racism is an impediment for development as it hinders the success of a particular group and so should be stopped at all times (Racism in Sports, 2014).
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