Have sporting event fans become more aggressive? - KCTV5

Have sporting event fans become more aggressive?

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MANHATTAN, KS (KCTV) -

How fans of all ages act at games has become a hot topic.

Monday night at the Sunflower Showdown in Manhattan, KS, fans were heard yelling a four letter word loud and clear during a cheer. It leaves many wondering whether fans are ruder these days or if they just get caught doing it more often because of social media.

"I see parents screaming and cursing at six and seven year olds, at the officials, at coaches," said Andrew Jacobs, Ph.D. "We need to start establishing guidelines for people at younger ages and teach them right and wrong."

It was a big rivalry win for the Wildcats over the Jayhawks on Monday night, but those at the game probably saw and heard what some are calling inappropriate behavior from some fans.

Former Kansas basketball legend Bud Stallworth has seen a lot of college basketball games, but he says today's game is a lot different from his time, especially when it comes to fans.

"It's become more of an entertainment activity and the fans want to be involved," he said.

Jacobs, a Kansas City-area sports psychologist, agrees.

"I think we have a societal issue with respect," he said.

Jacobs said today's fans expect more when they buy a ticket.

"I think a lot of people think when they buy a ticket to a sporting event it allows them to vent and let all their frustrations out, it's sort of displaced anger," he said.

Jacobs said, with the explosion of social media, fans seem to carry the same rude mentality to the arena, much more than before social media.

"I think we're at a point now in society where the barriers are going away and I think people get away with stuff, don't get punished for it, and until something happens they keep doing it," he said.

It's happening at events all over the country.

The Missouri Tigers student fan group the Antlers were kicked out of back-to-back Tigers games in November for inappropriate chants. Just this last weekend Oklahoma State player Marcus Smart got a three-game suspension for pushing a fan who allegedly intentionally provoked him.

"There aren't any repercussion for the behaviors that a lot of people have and I think people carry it over into sporting events and they think, ‘I paid money for this ticket, I can do what I want,'" Jacobs said.

It's a problem that psychologists say is only getting worse. Even back in 2008 former Kansas football coach Mark Mangino had to cut a public service announcement telling fans to cut out their pre-game chant, which involved cursing and obscenities.

Stallworth said there's always one way players can keep fans calm at a game.

"You keep them quiet by taking care of what you're doing on the court," he said.

Jacobs said the problem is also that teams use social media to encourage fans to be enthusiastic and that can lead some to go too far.

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