Over the past few weeks, and even months for that matter, a number of fights have broken out across various professional league sporting events. Although some do not encourage fighting, like the MBL and NFL, fights keep breaking out, calling into question whether fighting in any sense should be allowed in professional league sports.
Regardless of what sport a professional athlete plays, there is always the possibility of a fight breaking out. Because of this possibility, putting into place more detailed rules against fighting seems the only answer. Tension is going to build up in every sporting event, and as long as the players know the cost of the fight, I don’t see any problem with letting them settle their issues in a fistfight.
Growing up, I played soccer, and for as many years and countless games I played, I only saw one fight, which just so happened to be one of my teammates throwing a punch in one of our last recreational indoor games. She, of course, received a red card, was kicked out of the game and, had it been mid-way through the season, probably would have been suspended or kicked out of the league.
One punch, we all knew, would land her with a red card. But, she took it in stride and walked out of the arena like she owned the place. She knew the cost of that punch, just like the rest of us, valued the pros and cons, and made the decision to fight.
In today’s sporting world, fighting in professional leagues are becoming more and more common. However, due to the prevalence of concussions and other major injuries, fighting dominated sports, such as hockey, are attempting to remove part of their core: major fighting.
Now, referees will step in before a fight can even begin between two players. As a major contact sport, hockey games see a wide variety of fighting, and I think that the referees need to let them fight. Those players grew up watching a league where fighting occurred in nearly every game; there was no real reason not to fight.
Now, the NHL wants players to stop fighting, instead focusing on playing the game. Although I understand the premise of playing the game, as fighting can sometimes seem like an interruption, taking away fighting, from any sport, bars the physical aspect of the game.
Granted, you can get physical in whatever sport you play, and sometimes, fighting is the only way to diminish the tension between two players or two teams. I believe that giving every professional sport the opportunity to fight, with specific rules like ejection, provide players with the opportunity to decide whether they want to fight or not. If players know the specific rules surrounding fighting, like a five-minute major for hockey or straight up ejection in baseball, then players are provided an opportunity to decide whether fighting is worth the price.
To fix this growing problem of fights breaking out across the NFL and MLB, players need to know exactly what a fight will cost them. Will it just be fines, or a game suspension? Having one concrete punishment makes it fair amongst players and across the league, so one player doesn’t end up with a worse punishment than the other.
So I say, let them fight. Once each league has a more concrete set of punishments for fighting, then fighting will, in a sense, become regulated, with each player earning the same punishment while knowing the price that said fighting will cost them.
And, who knows, that fight might even inspire a team, like Max Talbot’s infamous ‘shush’ during Game Six of the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers series, in which the team rose from a 3-0 deficit to win the game by a final score of 5-3. That win also provided Pittsburgh with the 4-2 series win, a huge momentum switch that eventually led to Pittsburgh’s hoisting of the Stanley Cup.