People have strong emotional connections to their favorite sports team, but no win or loss should lead to the abuse of a spouse, dating partner, or family member. Unfortunately, multiple studies have shown a correlationbetween the results of sports events and domestic violence incidents, particularly after close games or upset losses.

Does this research mean that anyone who watches sports is going to commit domestic violence? Of course not. However, some factors related to sports fandom—alcohol, strong and sudden emotions, certain cultural attitudes, etc.—could lead someone already predisposed to domestic violence to become more likely to lash out. The Buffalo, New York, domestic violence attorneys at Venzon Law Firm are committed to protecting those who have suffered domestic abuse.

Links Between Sports and Domestic Abuse

While research into how watching sports relates to domestic abuse is ongoing, there are a few plausible factors that could explain why domestic violence incidents sometimes spike after sports events. Those factors include:

Sudden, Strong Mood Swings

In a close game, a sure victory can turn into a heartbreaking defeat in a matter of minutes or seconds. For people who already have trouble controlling their emotions, a sudden loss after the rush of an impending win could set them off and make them more likely to become violent, particularly in the minutes and hours immediately after their team’s defeat.

Alcohol Use

Heavy drinking is common among sports fans, whether they’re watching the game at home, at their favorite sports bar, or at the game venue itself. The link between alcohol and loss of control is well-established, and an intoxicated sports fan with an inclination toward domestic abuse might have trouble controlling their temper, making them more likely to abuse someone in their household. A sudden or severe loss could exacerbate the effects of alcohol use on someone’s inhibitions.

Cultural Attitudes Among Fans

While it’s inappropriate to overly generalize the beliefs and attitudes of any large group, sports fandom is traditionally a masculine environment in which aggressive behavior is normalized. Many sports, by their nature, emphasize characteristics associated with testosterone and masculinity, like great physical strength and forceful, even violent actions. There may be a connection between some sports fans’ admiration of these traits and incidents of domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence Incidents Among Professional Athletes

Let’s not underestimate the potential link between the actions of professional athletes and domestic violence. The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of alleged domestic abuse incidents among pro athletes. These cases run the gamut from Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in the NFL to Kevin Porter Jr. of the NBA’s Houston Rockets to the MLB pitcher Mike Clevinger of the Chicago White Sox. And, of course, O.J. Simpson was famously accused of killing his ex-wife, though he was acquitted in his criminal trial.

Given all these cases of famous athletes being accused of and, generally, facing little punishment for incidents of alleged domestic violence, it’s reasonable to believe their actions could affect fans’ attitudes. Fans revere sports figures. Domestic violence cases are already notoriously hard to prosecute, and if fans see their favorite athletes receiving little punishment for their actions, they might think nothing will happen if they abuse someone in their own household.

Are You Living with an Abusive Spouse, Partner, or Family Member? We Can Help

Attorney Catharine M. Venzon and her team at the Venzon Law Firm have seen the devastating effects of domestic violence on relationships and families. If you need help dealing with an abusive partner, spouse, or family member, we can help you evaluate your legal options and find a way out of your situation. Contact the Venzon Law Firm today to learn more.