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Anger Management and Why Not to Break Walls

By Yong-yi Zhu

COLUMNIST

What do you do when you get angry at someone? You might stay away, try to confront them, or you might want to vent through cath-artic actions.

The one thing that most people don’t do is throw a chair at someone. Being verbally abusive is one thing, but turning to physical violence takes the issue to an entirely different level.

However, Frank Francisco of the Texas Rangers threw a chair at a spectator after a loss to the Oakland A’s Monday night at the Coliseum in Oakland. The chair that Francisco threw bounced off of one fan and hit another squarely on the temple. Francisco was arrested and later released on bail. The woman who was hit wants to press charges for the attack.

How would one describe such an act? Rage? Pugnacity? Just plain dumb? Francisco was obviously reacting to the fans’ catcalls about him, but I’m sure there were a lot of emotions going through Francisco’s head when he threw the chair and now he’s regretting what he’s done. But why can athletes never seem to control their anger and let it out in some healthier manner?

Kevin Brown is another example. After being taken out of a game for pitching poorly, Brown punched the clubhouse wall at Yankee Stadium with his left hand, destroying it and his chances of helping his team in the next couple of weeks. But at least what Brown did wasn’t criminal.

A much worse incident came last year when Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks drilled Steve Moore, a Colorado Avalanche, from behind during a hockey game. Sure, he was trying to retaliate for an earlier hit, but he never thought about the consequences his attack might bring. He never imagined that Moore could be so severely injured he could not return to hockey, nor did he think about what could happen to his career after committing such a crime. Bertuzzi will be tried in court for assault charges in January.

A second example where fan involvement caused players to get out of hand was the incident between Karim Garcia, Jeff Nelson and a groundskeeper at Fenway Park. Towards the end of game three of the American League championship game between the Yankees and Red Sox last year, there was a scuffle between the three involved which led to arrests and pressed charges.

Athletes are supposed to be role models to all fans of sports. No matter what Charles Barkley has said in commercials, athletes are in the public eye and therefore, should behave properly. However, they think that because they receive such high salaries and are paid constant attention by the public, they are exempt from the law. They use steroids. They shrug off criminal charges.

True, there are situations where hitting and violence is permitted. I would hate to watch a football game where tackling was forbidden. But those are special, regulated situations. When a player crosses the line and acts inappropriately, as Francisco did Monday night, he should be processed the same way as if he were just out on the street and not in the protective confines of a ballpark.

It should not take a Frank Francisco or a Todd Bertuzzi to make major league sports realize that there should be more security and regulation of players. In this day and age, it is only appropriate to assume the worst and pray for the best. They surely do not want the youth of America watching scuffles and brawls. If players become violent, they should be sent over to the WWF. Let’s see how they like it when they’re the ones subjected to a large sweaty guy’s chair tosses.