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Arts, Sports & Culture

Bad Behavior in Sports: What Can Be Done?

Keith Allison

Bad behavior in sports might seem to be running rampant these days. With the two-game suspension given to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic violence, many believe the sentence should have been stiffer.

Also, considering some of the bad behavior carried out by Russia, are they fit to host the 2018 World Cup? John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State discussed recent bad behavior in sports.

In regards to backlash over only a two game suspension for Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, Affleck says it’s all about how the NFL approaches punishment.

“Roger Goodell has sort of divided things into sort of two frames of references. One is punishments for things that hurt the game, hurt competitiveness. The NFL is fairly consistent when it comes to things like that. It’s things like drug use,” Affleck explains.

“When we get to criminal matters and matters of crimes against society, the NFL is much less consistent and much less good. I don’t think anyone in Pittsburgh even would say that they would have particularly wanted their son or daughter out with Ben Roethlisberger when he was partying down in Georgia a couple of years ago, whatever went out. The idea that he got four games, initially six, and Rice is on videotape, with his then fiance knocked out cold, is only getting two, seems a little at odds. I think the NFL’s reasoning was that Rice was immediately contrite…so, Roger Goodell felt like he didn’t have so much to work with on that. "

From an individual behaving badly, to an entire country. Calls have been coming in from German lawmakers to revoke Russia’s rights to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup because of the country’s alleged involvement with the shooting down of a Malaysian airlines plane last week.  Affleck thinks these calls will intensify over the next few months, but he also foresees what may very well push the World Cup out of Russia officially.

“What may be the trigger here is the corporate side of this… there are big sports sponsors involved in the FIFA World Cup. We’re talking about Coke, we’re talking about Visa, Budweiser, Hyundai. If you wound up with a situation where the sponsors began to say ‘Hey, we’re getting uncomfortable with Russia running the games here,’ I think that’s the moment when you might see a real trigger.”