SC Law Blog

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Game of Football and The Game of Life: Battery

The Carolina Gamecocks did it again! In the heated state rivalry, South Carolina beat Clemson for the 4th year in a row!

These two teams have been playing each other since the 1800s! For many years, one team was clearly the better team in the state of South Carolina. But, this year, both South Carolina and Clemson were ranked in the top 15 best football teams in the nation! Being one of the oldest rivalries in college football, emotions run high when South Carolina and Clemson play one another.

You can imagine that high emotions can result in offensive contact. It is quite possible you have seen physical fights on the football field.  In the game of football, physical contact is expected and allowed but even in a football game where physical contact is the norm, physical contact can exceed the scope of permissible physical contact. Perhaps you remember the infamous stomp by Detroit Lions player Suh on Green Bay Packers player Smith. The physical contact by Suh against Smith is an example of a battery. Generally speaking, a battery is defined as the unlawful touching of another, done with the intention of bringing about such harmful or offensive contact which is not legally consented to by the other and is not otherwise privileged.

A battery need not result in actual physical harm to be considered a battery. The key element of a battery is harmful or offensive contact to the person of another. Battery is both a tort and a crime and it is usually pursued criminally where serious harm is caused. In a tort action, the plaintiff may receive a damage award for the battery caused by the defendant. In a criminal action, the defendant may be fined and/or imprisoned for his battery against the plaintiff.

When fights occur in football games, typically battery charges are not pursued but instead the football league fines or suspends players for their actions. But, outside of college football leagues as well as national football leagues, similar situations occur and battery charges are pursued. Suppose you were playing football with your friends, your team quarterback throws a deep pass and you score a touchdown.  One of the opposing team members is unhappy about the score, so after the play, he punches you in your face. Your opposing team member has just committed a battery against you. You have a cause of action against him in tort and perhaps in criminal law as well.

In the game of football and in the game of life, emotions run high and often that emotional charge can result in physical violence. Daniel Selwa is experienced at handling battery cases, if you are on either end of a battery incident, you have rights.  Contact Daniel Selwa today.  

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