Once bitten: Suárez could prove a sporting role model for all the wrong reasons - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 22 April 2013

The behaviour of professional footballers has come under the spotlight once again after the actions of Liverpool striker Luis Suárez this weekend.


Once bitten: Suárez could prove a sporting role model for all the wrong reasons

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 22 April 2013


Darren Evans

The behaviour of professional footballers has come under the spotlight once again after the actions of Liverpool striker Luis Suárez this weekend.

Video footage showed the Uruguayan international apparently biting the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during the clubs’ 2-2 draw on Sunday.

The incident was not picked up at the time by match officials, but Suárez was later fined by his club and forced to apologise; he has even been offered anger management counselling by the Professional Footballers’ Association.

It is not the first time that biting has proved a problem in football: in 2010, when he was playing for the Dutch team Ajax, Suárez bit an opponent’s shoulder, while in 2006 Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe did the same to the arm of an opponent.

This latest incident will no doubt cause PE and games teachers to despair, knowing that some of their students may be tempted to emulate the behaviour of their footballing idols.

Only last week a survey for the MCC and the Cricket Foundation charity found that children increasingly cheat and fight their way to victory in school sports, blaming their teachers, teammates and coaches. Behaviour expert professor Ken Reid, the former deputy vice-chancellor of Swansea Metropolitan University, said that children are increasingly copying what they see in professional sport.

Professor Reid, who referees youth football and rugby matches in his spare time, said: “I have seen a significant change in the way children behave in recent years, especially during football matches. There has been an increase in diving and unsportsmanlike behaviour and it’s absolutely influenced by the actions of their favourite footballers, because like it or not they are role models.”

Professor Reid said that the Football Association and individual clubs should work harder to discourage such behaviour.

Indeed, the Suárez incident has stirred up much debate on the TES forums. One contributor, curlygirly, says: “Biting seems to be becoming more common. One of the parents at school has been permanently scarred after being bitten by another adult during a fight.

“They had to have a bit sewn back on. How can we teach children not to bite, if parents and role models are doing it?”




Questions:

  • What is 'sportsmanship'? If you were to write a code of sportsmanship, what might you include?
  • Do you agree that cheating is on the increase in school sports?
  • Do you believe that professional athletes have a responsibility to also be good role models?
  • How do reports like this one affect your opinion of footballers such as Suárez and Defoe?

Resources for you


Are footballers good sporting role models?

  • A PowerPoint lesson that questions whether footballers are good role models. Examples are given to balance the argument along with video links.

Role models

  • Ask pupils to think about role models, good characteristics and what we should aspire to with this lesson on role models and superheroes.

What is meant by anti-social behaviour?

  • Get pupils to examine what we mean by anti-social behaviour with this helpful lesson guide.

Tom Bennett's Top 10 behaviour tips

  • Check out TES behaviour guru Tom Bennett's behaviour tips for use in and around the classroom.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


Parents who show their children regular love and affection can smack them occasionally to no ill effect, new research has found.

President Barack Obama faced a major setback in his quest to reform gun control laws in the US this week when politicians blocked a measure designed to restrict sales.

The funeral of Baroness Thatcher took place today, with thousands of people gathering in central London for the event and much of the UK capital brought to a standstill.

A huge earthquake which struck south-east Iran near the border with Pakistan, has flattened homes and offices.



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