On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS December 8, 2014 # 518 Up next…Civility!

After further review…It’s time to draw the line on “unnecessary roughness” at game sites as well as in communities around our country. Football rule makers work diligently to create adjustments in order to decrease unnecessary and violent (helmet-to-helmet) hits on the field, stepping off penalty yardage and increasing associated fines. This includes college and high school games, except for the monetary part.

Drawing stricter lines also needs to apply to fans who declare their “hatred” of opposing fans through the use of violent acts. It’s a G-A-M-E and should not be akin to warlike thinking. Fights among spectators have become common, not only in the stands, but also in the vast and largely unsupervised parking lots, where shootings occur too frequently. What goes into the thinking of a fan that brings a gun to a football game?

Football at all levels is a physical sport! To call it a contact sport falls short; it’s a collision sport. “Ya gotta knock somebody down!” is a coaching maxim. Blocking and tackling are integral to the game and that’s what fans want to see. No one likes to see a player injured, although there are odious examples of fans cheering when an opponent gets carried off the field. Hey, that could be your son being carted off by the medics! What say you then?

This subject is not new to the sport or to the scrutiny of these TunneySides. Has the clashing of helmets in TV promos incited this? Does the repeated viewing of violent hits encourage fans to mimic? Having been up close and personal in witnessing such hits,      I can attest to the damage they do, not only in the short term, but also later in life.

Recently more violence has found its way into communities in protest of disputed actions. Is the answer more security? Responsible entities have increased security for athletic contests. Is that the answer? When issues of domestic violence and/or sexual assaults occur in the sports world, education programs often figure in the outcomes. Can we, and should we, insist on programs for those involved in “unnecessary roughness” on our streets and in our communities? Violence begets violence. If a society can’t insist on civility, it should find ways to instill it. It’s the far better verb.

Will you maintain an attitude of civility in your behavior on and off the field?

To contact Jim go to or email

Jim’s new book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” makes a great Christmas gift!


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