Athletes lose interest in sportsmanship

Before the Buzzer


Sports Columnist Tyler Simons

In athletics, one of the most stressed aspects is sportsmanship and being respectful in both winning and losing. The most obvious expression of sportsmanship is the shaking of hands between teams once the game is over. This traditional sign of respect for the opposing team has been around for generations, and is still carried on today.

  However, professional sports are slowly losing this post-game tradition. The Calgary Hockey organization did away with having players shake hands with referees and linesmen entirely, due to the aggressive emotions that are brought out by the game. Klay Thompson, NBA All-Star shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors, left the court and immediately went to the locker room after losing in the 2015-2016 NBA Finals.

  Sportsmanship in general is also lacking in sports today. Fights and social media rants have become regular occurrences. In-game trash talk is just a part of the game – it adds an element of intensity and competitiveness to athletics that is unmatched. There is a difference between this type of communication and slandering people on Twitter, though. Through words on a screen, a joke made by one person may not be taken as a poke of fun by another, which can turn into a physical face-to-face altercation when the teams play each other next. An example of an on court altercation like this is when Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green and James Harden of the Houston Rockets attempted to break into the Los Angeles Clippers locker room after the end of an emotionally intense game on January 15, resulting in LAPD being called to the Staples Center. Gerald Green and Trevor Ariza, forwards for the Rockets, were later suspended for the two games following this scuffle.

  Not only have players been going at one another, but they’ve also been openly criticizing referees over questionable calls time and time again. While I see where these frustrated athletes are coming from, with officiating being a vital part to victory (especially in a close game) these same athletes determine their success. Even though a foul may or may not have been called in crunch time, there is the entirety of the rest of the game to avoid being put in such a close game situation. At that point, the referees judgement becomes a huge part of determining the outcome, giving them an exponentially bigger role.

  It’s understandable that tempers may flare high during game time, which is great for competition and overall quality of the game for both the fans and the teams involved. Once the game is finished, though, that is when true character comes out. Being able to put aside the final score and respect the opposition shows more about your character and who you are as a person than anything during the course of a game can.