The NBA has less physical aggression but more “symbolic violence”

According to a study published on Wednesday, although physical attacks have decreased, the increase in “symbolic violence” in the NBA, such as insults, bragging and bodily gestures, is a present and constant fact in practically all games.

To carry out this analysis, published in the scientific journal PLOS Aexperts looked at NBA broadcasts between 1998 and 2018 and found a reduction in physical violence, such as pushing, nudging or fighting.

The authors of the study, conducted by Assaf Lev, of the sports department of Ono Academic College in Israel, attributed the decrease to the changes applied by the fourth commissioner of the NBA, David Sterne, starting in 2000 to transform the professional basketball league into a more family- and sponsor-oriented spectacle.

One of the key changes adopted by Stern, who led the NBA between 1984 and 2014, was to put in place stricter rules against acts of physical violence by players.

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In November 2004, the most famous fight in NBA history took place, when the Indiana Pacers they faced Pistons in Detroit and less than a minute from the end of the game, with the score 82-97 in favor of Indiana, the local player ben wallace received a lack of Ron Artest. Wallace turned on Artest and started punching him, and other players from both teams quickly joined the fight as the referees tried to separate them.

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ben wallace received a lack of Ron Artest ,In November 2004, the most famous fight in NBA history took place, when the Indiana Pacers took on the Pistons in Detroit.-External Source

When things seemed to calm down, Pistons fans threw a polystyrene mug full of beer at the Indiana players. Artest and his companion Stephen Jackson They jumped into the bleachers and started fight with the fans in a pitched battle never seen before in the NBA.

In response to the incidents, the NBA suspended players from both teams for a total of 146 games and imposed millions of dollars in finesin addition to change the rules on the sale of alcohol in stadiums.

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Artest and teammate Stephen Jackson jumped into the stands and began brawling with the fans in a pitched battle never seen before in the NBA. -External source

A pitched battle on the scale of that between the Pistons and Pacers has not been repeated, but Lev and his colleagues’ review of 36 NBA Finals games between 1998 and 2018 indicates that the physical violence It is still common, although it has declined over the years.

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However, Since 2014, acts of symbolic violence have increased and are now more frequent than physical.

The study also notes that NBA commentators are more likely to endorse physical violence with statements of support, while viewing symbolic violence as harmless and therefore “allowed to ignore.”

Draymond Green takes a player by the jersey

“The relative lack of interest from commentators is indicative of thein the absence of ‘glamour’ of symbolic violence in the NBA”, say the authors. The researchers concluded that “although increased symbolic violence causes less physical injury to professional basketball players, it may cause damage psychological“.


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