Sports Law • Risk Management

The Hunger Games Influence---Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The popular movie and book, The Hunger Games, centers around a reality show of a survival game in which only one player will survive. The object of the game is for the teenagers to kill each other using any means available. This is not a very good example for sport and recreation, which have rules of sportsmanlike behavior in order that players will avoid injury and be able to play another game.

The Hunger Games is a science fiction tale, in which the television audience seems to be greatly entertained by the brutality. In the real world, we also have sports competitions that often have violence that has become part of the enjoyment of spectators, such as fighting in hockey, boxing or martial arts competitions and post game rowdiness after important football, soccer or basketball games.

Hopefully, the wild popularity of The Hunger Games will not influence sport to become more violent. Better to consider the civility that has long been the culture of sports such as golf or the Olympic Games. Coaches, athletic directors, parents, athletes, spectators and event owners should take personal responsibility for their own behavior and lack of acceptance for unsportsmanlike conduct. It is not likely that sport and recreation will evolve into The Hunger Games, but without rules, rules enforcement and societal pressure to play civily, sport and recreation may become more violent and dangerous.