Analysis of Recent Incidents of On-Field Violence in Sport: Legal Decisions and Additional Considerations From Psychology

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This article focuses on two recent incidents of serious on-field violence in sports and the legal consequences for those involved. The two incidents occurred in Dutch football (soccer) and became infamous owing to the nature of the violent incidents and widespread media coverage. The legal outcomes of these two incidents are described, and some of the difficulties that legal authorities face in considering assaults on the sports field are discussed. A new way of categorizing such violent incidents and the motivation behind them, based on an established psychological theory [reversal theory,Apter, 1982, 2001] is proposed. Taken along with the other points made in this article, being aware of when and how individuals cross the boundaries betweenplayandanger,powerorthrillviolence may provide an additional perspective to making informed decisions about illegal violent acts on the sports field.

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