The Instigator
Chase_M
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
jfhopkins1876
Con (against)
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0 Points

Should Fighting be Allowed in Hockey

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 743 times Debate No: 113368
Debate Rounds (3)
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Chase_M

Pro

Fighting in hockey has always existed as a defining feature of the sport, and it has been accommodated in the rules for the NHL since the league's establishment in 1917. The practice of fighting in NHL games should be protected because it is not simply an exercise of unchecked aggression, but rather a tool to be used to hold players accountable for their actions. With 12 players on the rink at once and only 3 officials to regulate them, players often get away illegal/dangerous checks. In the absence of consistent regulation, fighting in hockey allows for the players to police one another. The knowledge that a dirty play or a cheap shot will likely result in retaliation offers an effective deterrent against players engaging in these potentially harmful activities. While fighting admittedly introduces a risk for injury, the severity of this injury pales in comparison to the potential injuries one might sustain from an illegal check.
jfhopkins1876

Con

Fighting in hockey, and in sports in general, should not be permissible for any reason. While fighting does have a historic place in the way hockey is played and is often a notable reason why people watch hockey in the first place, it should not be allowed moving forward. Player safety should be at the forefront of sports, and by allowing fighting in hockey, the sport is openly showing its disregard for such safety. Hockey leagues do not need players to police each other and hold each other accountable, that's what referees and league punishments are for. Basketball is a relatively physical sport as well, however the NBA generally does a good job of enforcing appropriate fines and penalties to discourage excessive violence on the court. These monetary fines, game suspensions, and other punishments all hold players accountable without relying on the players to do it themselves. Hockey is one of the very few sports where it is seen as acceptable to have designated players that serve no role other than to protect the team's talented star players from getting hurt in a fight - a sign that the sport needs to change its standards to reduce violence among its players. Cheap shots will always occur in sports, however it is better to address those dirty plays with real-life punishments that affect the player's ability to participate and make financial gains, rather than by putting them in a glass box for a few minutes.
Debate Round No. 1
Chase_M

Pro

While fines may be an effective way for the NBA to hold its players accountable, that is largely because there is no other historical avenue for conflict resolution in the NBA. As mentioned previously, fighting in hockey has been an integral aspect of the sport since the formation of the National Hockey League. Furthermore, it is not as if these fights are completely unregulated. In the 1980's there was an average of 1 fight per NHL (100%). As a response to this, the League implemented new rules governing fighting. These rules still allowed fights to take place, they just assigned a 2-5 minute penalty to the players involved. This penalty causes players to be judicious about when they choose to fight. This is similar to the penalty system in many sports: soccer players shown to be more judicious about the use of aggressive plays after they have already received a yellow card, NBA athletes are more cautious about play after they have received 3 fouls, etc.
Additionally, if the concern about fighting is motivated by a concern for the players, then the opinions of these players should be considered. A survey of NHL players conducted in 2012 asked them whether or not they believed fighting should remain a practice in the NHL, 98% of them responded that it should be. This demonstrates that the players involved, who are cognizant of the risks associated with the activity, still see a value in it and would like it to remain.
jfhopkins1876

Con

Players and fans may prefer to retain fighting as a permissible component of the sport, however recent findings show that this is not best for the players' health. Fighting in hockey often results in the removal of either one or both players' helmets and gloves, resulting in an exchange of blows to the head. Players wear so much protective equipment that fights become more about punches to the head rather than a general pain to the body. This emphasis on head shots can result in an increased amount of concussions. Neurosurgeon Charles H. Tator suggests that 10% of concussions in hockey are the result of fighting rather than actual game play. This is an easily preventable source of concussions and player harm that has no place in the sport. The long term effects of concussions have become increasingly relevant as more former athletes, particularly professional football players, have been experiencing mental health issues as their careers and lives progress. The effects of concussions are just now becoming better understood by researchers, but it is becoming evident that athletes' brains are being severely affected by these traumatic injuries. Fighting also raises a concern about the recent painkiller epidemic in which athletes are being addicted to their prescribed medications, negatively affecting them even beyond the duration of their injury.
Debate Round No. 2
Chase_M

Pro

While the evidence concerning head trauma is troubling, it exists within the context of an already violent sport. An article published in WIRED magazine commented in April; "as of this writing, no fewer than 158 National Hockey League players " slightly more than one of every five in the league " are injured." These are substantial numbers and they would not be significantly diminished by the abolition of fighting. The players on the ice know the risk they assume when they go out and play the sport, and in the absence of any complaints or activism on the part of the players to abolish fighting, I don't see how it could make the game substantially safer. I do not see any ethical considerations that distinguish fighting from any other dangerous component of hockey. Unless it can be demonstrated to be uniquely harmful in a way distinct from the dangers of stray shots, eye-gouging hihi sticks, or knee-shattering collisions, then I maintain that it is nonsensical to ban fighting in hockey.
jfhopkins1876

Con

While fighting might not be too different from the natural physicality of hockey, the way it is presented and glorified within the sport does propose an ethical dilemma. A body check into the boards is violent but it is not staged the same way as a fight is. When the helmets and gloves come off for a fight, fans of all ages see a part of the game that no longer belongs in today's society. Big hits will always happen in sports, whether it be in hockey, football, lacrosse, etc., but that should be the extent of glorified physicality. Hockey and its designated enforcers leave a negative impression on youth fans and players who look to emulate professional athletes. Rather than working to become a talented hockey player, some kids would rather become the guy who goes for "big hits" and is known for their physical play rather than developing useful skills within the sport. This influence of violence does bring up ethical concerns, as it changes the way youth players see and play the game. Physical violence is not an appropriate response to conflict, even within a physical sport. The concept of sportsmanship and playing the game the "right way" is put in danger by giving fighting a home in the sport of hockey.
Debate Round No. 3
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