SEASONS OF SHAME: The New Violence in Sports by Robert C. Yeager

SEASONS OF SHAME: The New Violence in Sports

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Former AP Reporter Robert Yeager connects the increasing violence of sports to increasing social violence, calling athletics--somewhat grandly--our ""surrogate ethic in a secular time."" The theme is not new: in Blood and Guts, Don Atyeo dismissed Konrad Lorenz's theory of sports violence as a safety valve for unleashing pent-up emotions, but while Atyeo offered a catalogue of danger-filled sports, Yeager concentrates on people. We meet deadly-serious football players like Oakland Raider Jack Tatum (currently in court defending himself for his paralyzing tackle of New England Patriot Darryl Stingley) and baseball players dodging bottles and cans thrown by spectators. We see a Florida high school coach chopping heads off live frogs to work his players into a frenzy--and parents praising his ""hard-hitting, emotion-charged teams""; we see fans beating a boys' club football coach senseless, and turning San Francisco's Candlestick Park into a jungle. Violence in sporting events dates back to earliest recorded history, Yeager says, tracing its evolution; but now we have ""violence peripheral to the natural roughness of a game."" He stresses the effects on children who see violence applauded on TV and are pushed to compete, not cooperate, by parents and coaches. The solutions--stricter game rules and penalties, safer equipment, and revocation of our current tacit approval of violence. A data-filled approach, with particular attention to everyday abuses.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill