Adubato, B. (2012). Fanning the flames: Televised, professional football games and domestic violence. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 72,

Images of athletes as criminal suspects seldom shock society; newspapers run “police blotters” in their sports sections. “Doping” presents a serious problem among Olympians, professional team players, and even cyclists of the Tour de France. Sports fans across Europe, Asia, and South America have wreaked deadly havoc on each other after soccer matches. With all of these obvious associations, criminology still lags behind psychology in the inclusion of the study of sports within its purview. Throughout the rest of the world, much of the sports/crime focus is on the fans—so-called “hooliganism.” This dissertation attempts to address a sports/crime issue in the United States, while largely availing itself of these European hooligan studies. The issue at-hand is whether televised, professional, American football games affect domestic violence. The purpose of this study is to not only examine possible correlation between these two events in one geographical area (namely Philadelphia), but further, to possibly influence sports/crime study in the field of American criminology. A good deal of research into “hooliganism” attributes the behavior to the concept of BIRGing or “Basking in Reflected Glory.” This concept provides much insight into the “highly-identified” sports fan. It is these highly-identified sports fans that this dissertation presumably examined. Most specifically, does the highly-identified sports fan feel a strong bond with his favorite football players and imitate their behavior? Do televised football games bring about copycat, violent behavior? Using the copycat framework, this dissertation research looked at domestic violence arrests in the city of Philadelphia on the days that Eagles games were played, for an eight-hour period, beginning with kick-off time. These relationships were tested using comparison of means tests—both the Levene test and the Mann-Whitney tests. As predicted, there was no difference between the mean average of holidays and football gamedays, This hypothesis was specifically designed to compare football game days to those days highly-connected to alcohol consumption. Also as predicted, there was no statistically significant difference between home games and away games, taking away the possible bias that fans were at the game and then became violent, as opposed to watching the game on television. The mean average of domestic violence arrests on football was statistically significantly different from both comparison Sundays and other sports’ gamedays. This study could be expanded to include more years and/or replicated in another city. This study addresses the media hype and misconceptions surrounding football and domestic violence and challenges criminology to expand its field to include sports and crime. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)