Tuck: When Is Fighting In Sports Okay?

I’ve always found it to be very strange that fighting in hockey not only is okay, it’s expected and encouraged.  In baseball, it’s punished, but it’s normal after someone is hit by a pitch to charge the mound and empty the dugouts.  In football, a little pushing and shoving after the play is usually okay, but more than that and it’s a big problem.  And in basketball, it seems that looking funny at someone will get you in trouble, let alone if you push, throw a punch, or leave the bench.

How can we have four very public, very popular, professional sports in America with four very distinct different feelings about fighting?

Correct me if I am wrong, but growing up, we are taught not to fight, and to display good sportsmanship, right?  I know that sounds sorta pie in the sky to expect that out of pro athletes, but how can striving for that be a bad thing?

The NBA has done everything in it’s power to eliminate fighting.  Just think of the way we view the Pacers-Pistons fight or the Knicks-Heat, or the less talked about Nuggets-Knicks one.  Those are black eyes for the league and the players involved.  But fights in baseball and hockey are okay and happen all the time?  Really, why is that?

I know hockey is a tough-guy sport.  But so is football.  I don’t see NFL players dropping “gloves” and ripping off their helmets and going at it while everyone else sits back and watches like it’s no big deal, do you?

Why does baseball allow batters to charge the mound?  Why do they stand for the dugouts and bullpens emptying out onto the field?  Yes, I know they punish and suspend players, but let’s be real, the standards they’ve established are not deterrents to stop it.  Furthermore, there is no real outcry from those within the sport, those covering the sport, or fans of the sport to see that all this fighting is put to a halt.

That, I don’t understand.  And never will understand.