One of the great problems of society today is, without a doubt, the complete lack of values ​​in practically every area.


This problem is also reflected in sports, both in the stands and on the playing fields.  We can see this lack of respect between the athletes themselves, or between the athletes and the referees or judges and also between the spectators and both the athletes and the referees.  Sometimes these instances are so serious that is inconceivable that they incur no sanction. One such example was seen in the match between Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruña at Deportivo´s Riazor Stadium. During that match, Fernando Torres -a player from the visiting team – fell suddenly to the ground after suffering a terrible blow to the head that made everyone fear for his life for a few minutes. While the players and medical services were doing their best to help the athlete, some of the local fans – the group known as Riazor Blues – began to chant «if he dies, such is life,»  while on the pitch the life of the player was in danger.


Such actions, unfortunately, are not isolated events in sport. Referees from all over Spain suffer verbal aggression every weekend – and unfortunately sometimes physical aggression too. It is an awful thing to see certain coaches tell their players – when they are just children starting out, at a critical time in their development- things like » show them your mettle and kill that one», «do whatever it takes» or «break his leg if you have to but don´t let him get away or it will be you who´ll end up on the bench!»


Is this really the education we want to give our children? Is it really so important to win a game or a competition that it justifies teaching children that attacking an opponent is appropriate if doing so allows you to win? Is it so important for you, dear parents, that you cheer your children from the stands to win the match or the competition by insulting or disrespecting the players, coaches and referees in front of your offspring and their friends? How do you intend to instil in your child respect for his coach, his teachers and even respect for you if every weekend you are seen acting this way?


One of the things that made me fall in love with athletics, my sport, was the respect that everyone in the stands showed towards their fellow sportsmen, opponents and judges. All athletes clearly differentiate the moment of the competition, that moment where our teammates become our opponents. But when the competition is over, the vast majority of athletes rejoice in the success of their teammates.


Let us encourage respect and good manners in all areas of sport and in all sports. Let us all rid sport of disrespectful and violent behaviour.

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