THE QUESTION: Are spectators intrigued by cruelty in sports?

August 11, 1957

HELEN HAYES
Actress
Most spectators at top sports events are attracted by competition and entertainment, but it is unfortunate that cruelty also attracts its share of men and women. I've never been able to enjoy a bullfight. Even though the skill of the matador is fascinating, I can't stand the cruelty.

CLARE BOOTHE LUCE
Former U.S. Ambassador to Italy
No, not many. I'm not. I prefer skill in sports. So do the majority of fans. What are the popular sports? Baseball, hockey, golf, soccer, tennis, horse racing and football. There's no cruelty in these sports. Cruelty in the violent sports inevitably leads to a decline of interest.

LOUIS B. MAYER
Motion picture producer
In some sports spectators are accustomed to cruelty and they like it, even the women. Boxing is one. You've heard the shouts and shrieks of the spectators when a boxer is on the verge of a knockout. When boxing fans enjoy a bitter fight in Hollywood, they throw money into the ring as a reward.

COUNT LEONARDO VITETTI
Italian Representative to the U.N.
Those sports in which there is cruelty could not be successful if spectators were not intrigued. Cruelty in ancient sports is a matter of history and human nature never changes. Pope Pius X issued a statement against bullfights, but the Queen of Spain refused to publish it.

JIM FARLEY
Former Chairman
N.Y. State Athletic Commission
No, I don't think so. The average sports fan is the first to cry out against cruelty in any sport. An athlete who indulges in cruelty is quickly condemned. Some think that boxing is cruel. I don't. It's a manly sport. If a bout is ever one-sided, it's usually quickly stopped.

THE DUCHESS OF WINDSOR
I'm not, although I did sign a petition in England to permit calf roping at the rodeo. The RSPCA barred it as being cruel. However, the society did sanction bull-dogging, which I thought was worse. In bull-dogging, many cowboys have been gouged by the bulls and the spectators seem fascinated.

RAYMOND MASSEY
Actor
I think that spectators are intrigued by violence in sports, not cruelty. But the dividing line is thin. Tempers flare and violence can quickly degenerate into cruelty. And the fans often shriek their encouragement. Football violence that becomes cruel is not unusual and it can ruin the game.

PRINCE MICHAEL GONURDORFF
Farmer
Yes. Bullfighting is the crudest sport I have ever seen. Millions of Spaniards and Mexicans exult in it. Even a bloody prizefight is not as cruel because there's a referee to see that no one is seriously hurt. Bullfighting's object is the wearing down of a bull, methodically and sadistically, for the kill.

MRS. WENDELL WILLKIE
New York City
Yes. The first fight I saw was when my husband introduced Joe Louis at a match for a Navy benefit. Every time Joe hit his opponent I hid my face. But the spectators loved it. They yelled and screamed exactly like people do at bullfights in Spain. They must like the cruelty or they wouldn't go.

DICK COWELL
Financier
How about sports like deer hunting with a bow and arrow, elephant hunting where an animal has to be shot repeatedly, big-game fishing where you watch your catch die in agony after an hour's struggle? Of course it's cruel, but it is intriguing to many of us, participants and spectators alike.

ELEVEN PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)