Sociology of Sports: Critical analysis of Sports in Globalization

Sociology of Sports: Critical analysis of Sports in Globalization


Sport is a field of different characters from social structures, behavior and inter-institutional relationships that offer the chance to educate and understand the difficulties of social life. Additionally, sport demands a certain level of secondary and primary participation supreme to supplementary institutionalized settings. Sport presents chances for study on extremely crystallized forms of public organization that is nonexistent in further situations or systems (Jarvie, 2006). Consequently, competiveness in governed surroundings, the urge to win, prearranged conflicts, social bonding, and target achievement are all common aspects that exist in both fields of sport and society settings. Subsequently, this shows that the kind of activities carried out in community settings are also instituted in the sport settings. Sport is distinctive and is an equivalent result of social reality (Lumpkin, 2008). Moreover, apart from religion, no other organization commands the charisma, the idolization and the nostalgia by culture like sport exults. Additionally, sports accumulates playfulness with intensity, the ideological with the structural and the serious with frivolous like no other activity (Jarvie, 2006).

Subsequently, youth involved in sport mostly male kids are either encouraged by community leaders, school administrators and parents. Hence, sport is seen as a successful surrounding for acquiring pleasing personality and beliefs and suitable principles (United States Sports Academy, 2015). Regardless of the criticism, the society hierarchy of beliefs prevails. Additionally, a number of the beliefs include children learning proper values as sportsmanship, appreciation for hard work, goal achievement, competition and self-discipline. Nevertheless, the majority of claims concerning the value of sport partaking concentrated on sport as a mediator of socialization (Lumpkin, 2008). Apparently, there is diminutive information supporting the role of sport to the socialization development despite the strong cultural beliefs by the society. The number of female athletes has been low and hence not adequate enough for researchers to carry out studies. On the other hand, the comparison of male athletes to male non athletes yields minute evidence that supports sport participation results in character building, team orientation, moral development, good citizenship or sufficient socialization (Jarvie, 2006).

Consequently, sport sociologists have proven that sport plays no role on reduction on prejudice, no effect on personality, uncalled for headship and maturity and social modification. Additionally, youths largely relay on past society occurrences and beliefs in spite of empirical researches. Apparently, the media plays major effects on the society (Lumpkin, 2008). The socialization of adults and youth transpires in the casting of sports by the media. Additionally, mass media reaches out to the society through remarks, image management and the exploitation of symbols. Subsequently, mediated sports merchandise that highlight nationalistic philosophies, authoritarian and conservative gets more media streaming, attention and view (Jarvie, 2006). Cultures are largely created by media, whereby media shows and educates the community on what is suitable and not suitable in the society. Through media, the society apes the kind of lifestyle they see on television. Celebrities have been known to play a major role on culture (BBC, 2014). Moreover, this was experienced in the National Basketball Association (NBA) when former Miami Heat superstar Lebron James exist Miami to Cleveland Cavaliers. There was a 245 percent increase in Cleveland Cavaliers fans. This shows the kind of influence sports celebrities have on the society (Greenberg, 2014).

Elements Illuminate the Nature of Sport

The media plays a big role in the media and also affects the society. Media coverage of sports is widespread. The public listens to pundits, commentators and watches replays to improve their comprehension and knowledge of the sport. The rate of participating in sports that are covered by the media is higher in comparison to sports that are not covered. Television coverage of sports comes in different forms including entrainment which encompasses highlights and live programs, informative which entails documentaries, instructive form which included excerpts and coaching series and the educational form which comprises of school programs. In the television programs, the director of the programs has a great influence of what is seen and said (BBC, 2014).

The conduct of the spectators, officials and players has an impact on the image of the individual sport. For instance, in golf, players are supposed to admit to their wrongs and even disqualify themselves. In football, players are diving in order to get a penalty or free kick (Jarvie 2006). Almost every other person involved with the game does not seem to subscribe to this culture being cultivated by the players but they accept this because this form of cheating in beneficial to the team. In cricket, opposition fans stand or sit together in an atmosphere that is usually friendly (BBC, 2014). In this game, stewarding and police presence is usually light. Video surveillance is almost unheard of in this game. On the other hand, in football, irrespective of the fact that supporters usually enjoy the company of the other team, they are usually separated to thwart any outbreaks of violence perpetuated by the minority group (BBC, 2014). Groups of fans for the football teams usually taunt each other with insults. Consequently, in this game stewarding and police presence is organized. In addition to this, video surveillance is used to identify troublemakers, who if found, they are banned from attending future matches (Lumpkin, 2008).

In rugby, with reference to the laws of the game, a player who argues with the decisions made by referee is penalized. Nevertheless, acts of violence are handled as part of the game. In accordance to the etiquette of this game, players usually clap each other off and the problems, issues and arguments experienced during the game are left on the pitch (Lumpkin, 2008). In football, players usually surround the referee to articulate out their arguments with respect to the decisions made. Violence in this game comes about when other players become involved and when fans agitate the situation by booing at the players. Some of the disagreements on the pitch can turn into fights. The fights can break out subsequent to the end of the game (Lumpkin, 2008).

Most of the participants in sport are amateur. Conversely, as a consequence of the desire for success demanded by the team sponsors and owners, players are encouraged to become professional. Rugby and tennis are examples of sports which have tried to remain amateur but they are now open (BBC, 2014). This means that a line has not been drawn between amateur and professional to outline their differences. The reason for this is rooted in the widespread abuse of hidden payments to amateurs. This came after the worldwide escalation in money for sport as pointed out by the media (Lumpkin, 2008).

Sports as a Reflection of Society

Sports illuminate and exhibit the different issues in the society. Commercialized sports are marked arms race, recruiting abuses, academic abuses, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, drug abuse, gambling and violence. Sport is a reflection of the violence in the society. Sports highlight child abuse and domestic violence in the society (Hyde, 2011). Ray Rice was caught punching his fiancée whom he later married in an elevator. This video led to termination of contract with the Baltimore Ravens. His NFL two-game suspension was upgraded to into an indefinite ban. He is a professional player who has been found to perpetuate domestic violence. He mirrors many other professionals in other fields other than sports who beat and abuse their partners (Greenberg, 2014).

Atlanta Hawks removed Donald Sterling as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Danny Ferry, the General Manager of Atlanta Hawks went on an indefinite leave because he made racist remarks with reference to free agent Luol Deng. This was during a conference call with the team owners where Ferry pointed out that Deng had some African in him (Greenberg, 2014). He also sent a racially charged email to team executives. Therefore, even after many years of fighting against racism in the United States, racism still exists in the American society. This is true because it is also present in other systems in the society including the criminal justice system. On the other hand, Adrian Peterson was indicted in a child abuse case. It was alleged that he disciplined his son with a switch leading to cuts and bruises on his son’s body (Greenberg, 2014).

Sports are marked by competition. Everyone wants to be the best and try to use all strategies to be the best. One of the strategies used in cheating which entails doping, using of steroids, use of growth hormones and other methods. According to sport owners, administrators, athletes and coaches, if an athlete is not cheating then they are not trying hard to win (Lumpkin, 2008). For example, a boxer was found to have tried plaster around his fingers to increase the intensity of his blows. In 2009, Florida State University received several sanctions as a consequence of a cheating scandal. In the society, a competition is a part of everyday life. In learning institutions, students want to be the best and that is why they cheat (Jones, 2011). Cheating is also present in the society. For instance, in 2009, former Senator Tom Daschle did not pay more than $128,000 in income taxes. In 2005, Bernie Ebbers, the CEO of WorldCom was convicted of securities and accounting fraud. It is not a clean society in the same way sports are not clean (Johnson, 2005).

Regardless of the many advantages that come with hosting an international sporting event, host nations must prepare themselves to face challenges and difficulties. These difficulties and challenges are real issues which are faced by the society. Sports only help to bring them to light by reflecting what the society really is. The Olympic Games has been faced by numerous challenges which are been marked by societal issues in the host countries (BBC, 2014). In the 1976 Olympic Games that took place in Montreal, the games suffered because of financial problems. In the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, the sporting event was marked by a drug scandal (BBC, 2014).

Race related issues in society have been highlighted in sports in different sporting events. In the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, apartheid was reflected in the event. In 1936 Olympic Games which was held in Berlin, Nazism was illuminated by the event. In 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, race issues marked by the African Americans yearning for power were the center stage for the sporting event. This was the time in history when the racism was high in the United States. The African Americans suffered from racial discrimination which impeded them from enjoying their rights. This sporting event brought this to light (BBC, 2014).

Sports also reflect the political climate and relations between countries. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games was held in Moscow, Russia. During the time, the United States was not in good relations with the Soviet Union due to power struggles between the two. Consequently, the United States led a boycott of the sporting event as a way of protesting against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan (U.S Department of State, 2009). Due to the action of the United States, 65 countries refused to take part in the sporting event. This is not the only event when sports reflected the poor relations between countries. In the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa boycotted the games as a way of protesting the attendance of New Zealand. This was because New Zealand had sent its rugby team to hold a match against a team form apartheid South Africa (U.S Department of State, 2009). Therefore, sports reflect political goals and deliver political messages.


In most the cases, when sport personalities engage in contrary activities like domestic violence, they make the headlines. They are judged, hated one and called all sorts of names. Conversely,, they are just a reflection of the society. Sport does not create the society but reflects it.


BBC. (2014). Physical Education: Social and Cultural Factors Affecting Participation. BBC. Retrieved from

Greenberg, C. (2014, Sep 12). Sports Are Supposed To Be An Escape, But This Week They Reflected Society At Its Worst. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Hyde, M. (2011, Oct 5). Idiotic sports stars are merely a reflection of our septic society. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Jarvie, G. (2006). Sport, Culture and Society: An Introduction. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Johnson, C. (2005). Ebbers Gets 25-Year Sentence For Role in WorldCom Fraud. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Jones, D. (2011). Academic Dishonesty: Are More Student Cheating. Business Communication Quaterly, 74(2), 141-150.

Lumpkin, A. (2008, Fall). Sport as a Reflection of Society. Phi Kappa Phi Forum. Retrieved from

U.S Department of State. (2009, Jan 20). The Olympic Boycott, 1980. Retrieved from U.S Department of State:

United States Sports Academy. (2015, Mar 16). Ratios of Certified Athletic Trainers’ to Athletic Teams and Number of Athletes in South Carolina Collegiate Settings. The Sport Journal. Retrieved from

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