Sure, we Americans like to think that our football players are pretty rough and tumble, and that our hockey players are more or less off the hook.
But compare our fans with soccer fans around the world? Please. There is no comparison. (Look, this is America, and we’re gonna call it soccer, not fooball, OK? Makes for fewer parentheticals.)
Anyway, things aren’t quite as bad as they were in the wild 80s, when you couldn’t open a newspaper anywhere in the world without reading about the latest soccer riot, but it could just be a lull. There have been incidents of violence breaking out at soccer games since at least the 1300s, when Edward II had to ban the sport after a melee broke out when a rival village threw pig bladders or something.
Yes, acts of poor sportsmanship at soccer games have even included pig bladders.
Most things folks are arrested for at games involve violence, but unsurprisingly the next-largest offense has to do with public drunkenness. Since cops started cracking down on the worst offenders again in the past few years, however, more incidents of people throwing “missiles” have occurred. Probably because it’s harder to find the person who threw a rock than who punched another person in the face.