WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

New study finds boys who play aggressive sports more likely to abuse their girlfriends

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC finds teenage boys playing football, basketball, or both sports were two times as likely to have recently abused their girlfriends. Researchers reviewed data from California.

Should anyone be surprised? College athletes have been linked to dating abuse; why should it be any different for high school athletes?

Interestingly, boys playing basketball and football were more inclined to exhibit hyper-mascuine attitudes about gender and relationships than swimmers, wrestlers, and tennis players.

Here is a link to a Reuters summary of the study---


Longtime readers of this blog know I have profound concerns about competitive sports from a multitude of angles.

My last post about this subject focused on sports injuries - especially from football - and whether schools should be in the business of promoting an activity which can result in longterm physical & mental damage.

But it's about much more than that. It's about how high school and college sports are distorting the academic mission in America. Schools will spare nothing to find the right coach. Someone to head an academic program, or spearhead an academic extra-curricular activity? Not so much. I've previously discussed on this blog how parents will "shop around" high schools in Delaware to find that institution where a son or daughter is guaranteed a starting role on a team. I've discussed before how even a pricey, elite private school in Delaware may require everyone to participate in a competitive sport after school, which absolutely obliterates participation in academic extra-curricular activities.

But what really represents a moral outrage is precisely the sort of thing represented by this latest study in California. Too often school administrators pamper these athletes. No wonder these young athletes think they can do no wrong and society revolves around them. A girlfriend becomes an object.

Time after time, we've seen coaches and school administrators cover up sexual assaults and other criminal behavior by athletes. And if a school administrator or chief of police takes a brave stand, alumni & influential members of a community seek retribution.

And how about the parents at even a pre-teen sporting event who vent their anger at a ref who made the "wrong" call? How about rowdy, drunken, aggressive fans at professional games? From top to bottom, the jock culture in this country has metastasized. And no politician dares address this issue for fear of alienating voters. Plus, some politicians themselves were jocks -- which may account for some of the troubling anti-intellectual oratory we hear from some lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in some state capitals.

You can hear my interview with the lead researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Heather McCauley...

Audio Here

Posted at 7:44am on March 26, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Mar 26, 2014 8:32pm
Does anybody know if Chip "Rodney King" Flowers played any of these sports?

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Mar 27, 2014 8:10am
It's all about money. I remember when I was in high school here in the Wilmington area [late 60's], the Band/Choir/Music teacher was telling me how besides his salary, the only other money budgeted for the music program was $600./yr for both Band[Marching Band/Concert Band/Jazz Band, and Choir, while the football team had $10,000 per year in their budget [if I understood what he told me, that didn't include upkeep of the grass field]. He was a new teacher [first year teaching out of college and was shocked at how little money was budgeted for the entire Music Department vs. just the football team, not the entire Athletic Department].

Our Marching Band did terrific shows during halftime that the crowd would stay in the bleachers to watch; then after the show, would go to the snack bar to buy hot dogs, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. We'd fill the auditorium when we did concerts with the Concert Band, Jazz StageBand, and Choir. When we did Broadway musicals such as the Sound of Music and West Side Story, again packing out the place for all shows, so it seemed the public liked and enjoyed what the Music Department brought to our local community [this was pre-deseg busing].

BUT the school really valued the football team. They probably made far more money from folks buying tickets to watch the team carry the pigskin up and down the field each week during football season than did with the few shows the Music Department put on each year; thus the imbalance of where money was spent. Like always, follow the money.

Sadly it appears nothing has changed.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching football, baseball, etc, but our society seems not to value the "cultural" things that music, art, and theatre bring to a community. So it's not surprising that sports probably is still getting the lion's share of school money over the music/art/drama departments.

Let's face it, there are far more full Sports scholarships given out each year to colleges all over the nation vs. how many music [both instrumental/vocal] full scholarships are given to deserving students. So many parents see sports as the ticket for their kids [male and female] to get a free ride in college, or at least a partial ride in college. So it's not surprising that so many parents are more prone to encourage their student to go out for sports than music/art/drama.

As far as the item about these boys in sports being more aggressive towards their girlfriends, as winning at all costs is what's preached [taught] to those boys from an early age, and where taking what you want sort of fits in to that mentality, no, it's not surprising. Supposedly the most dangerous day for a women in terms of being abused is......Superbowl Sunday. Those who take sports very seriously do seemed wired to the "take the ground at any cost" mentality so sadly it does seem linked. Sports, not just the players, but the avid fans [think Philly fans who act rowdy at their home games]. For the players, it's that much more intense for them, so yes, it's related, sadly.

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