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Entries in Mythbusters: Sport (1)

Thursday
Jul222010

300,000 abused? By Barbara Kay (Canada)

“A bad statistic,” says sociologist Joel Best, “is harder to kill than a vampire.” Bad statistics come from bad intellectual faith. And in no field does bad intellectual faith run more rampant than that of domestic violence. In an up-to-date example of the phenomenon, we find the “World Soccer Abuse Nightmare” out of England, in which the British Home Office carelessly endorsed a bogus study put forward by England’s Association of Chief Police Officers, purporting to find that a full 30 per cent increase in domestic violence (DV) during the World Cup. A subsequent investigation by reliable scholars found the so-called study to be riddled with errors and corrupt methodology.  The World Cup stats fiasco recalls the 1993 Super Bowl hoax, when it was “reported” that DV escalated by 40 per cent during the game, a falsity that tore through the media like wildfire, to the point that the Super Bowl was hyped by NBC as the “abuse bowl.” Only a single Washington Post reporter tracked the figure to its source in a casual remark at a press conference by an irresponsible feminist activist. It was completely bogus, but the pernicious rumour circulates every year, despite 17 years of statistical tracking that reveals the same constant message: There is no substantiation whatsoever to any sports-DV linkage.