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SPORT ETHICS Ethics is the study of morals or character; a study of the principles of human duty or the study of all moral qualities that distinguish an individual relative to others.

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definitions
Ethics is the study of morals or character; a study of the principles of human duty or the study of all moral qualities that distinguish an individual relative to others.

Moral pertains to an individual’s motives, intentions, and actions as right or wrong, virtuous or vicious, or good or bad.

Values are anything having relative worth.

Moral values are the relative worth that is placed on some virtuous behavior.

Principles are universal rules of conduct that identify what kinds of actions, intentions, and motives are valued.

DEFINITIONS
a plan for fair play
A PLAN FOR FAIR PLAY
  • Moral Reasoning is the systematic process of evaluating personal values and developing a consistent and impartial set of moral principles by which to live.
  • Moral Knowing is the cognitive phase of learning about moral issues and how to resolve them.
  • Moral Valuing is the basis of what we believe about ourselves, society, and theories around us.
  • Moral Acting is how we act based on what we know and value.
kohlberg s stages of moral development
KOHLBERG’S STAGES OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT
  • Stage One focuses on obedient actions performed to avoid punishment.
  • Stage Two emphasizes following rules for self-interest.
  • Stage Three suggests that people react to the expectations of parents, peers, and authority figures to gain their approval.
  • Stage Four assumes that people act in conformity to the social system and social order.
  • Stage Five expects people to fulfill the social contract and show genuine interest in the welfare of others.
  • Stage Six states that universal ethical principles and the individual conscience serve as the basis for all actions.
ethical values and rules
Values

Justice (treating others with fairness)

Honesty (being trustworthy)

Responsibility (fulfilling duty)

Beneficence (fair play or doing good)

Rules

Do not violate the rules of the game

Do not use performance-enhancing drugs

Do not cheat while playing the game

Do not lie to opponents or to officials

Do not play an injured athlete

Do not be athletically disqualified by being academically deficient

Do not intentionally harm another player

Do not let others harm opposing players

ETHICAL VALUES AND RULES
societal attitudes toward ethical conduct
SOCIETAL ATTITUDES TOWARD ETHICAL CONDUCT
  • Absolutism—there is an absolute moral code that should be applied without partiality in every situation
  • Relativism—this belief advocates that what is right or wrong is determined based on the situation (situation ethics)
ethical theories
ETHICAL THEORIES
  • Consequential (utilitarian) theory states that the ultimate standard of what is morally right is dependent on the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.
  • Non-consequential (Kantian) theory holds that there is an inherent rightness apart from all consequences.
questions about ethical conduct
QUESTIONS ABOUT ETHICAL CONDUCT
  • Do not break societal laws or traditions (inappropriate actions)
    • Is it legal?
    • Will I be violating an established policy?
  • Do not harm another person physically or emotionally (harmful consequences)
    • Is it fair to all concerned?
    • In doing this, will I be honest and responsible in my relationships with others?
  • Do not violate my personal values
    • Will it make me feel proud of myself?
    • Would I feel good if my action was known to my family and others?
rationalizations for unethical behaviors
RATIONALIZATIONS FOR UNETHICAL BEHAVIORS
  • There is no rule against it.
  • Everyone else does it.
  • This action is not unethical because no one will ever know about it.
  • Circumstances require acting in this way.
types and purposes of rules
TYPES AND PURPOSES OF RULES
  • Constitutive rules guide play within a specific game. These rules place limits on players’ actions. These rules give structure to sport, helping make the contest fair for all.
  • Proscriptive rules expressly forbid specific actions. They have been established to prohibit players from intentionally trying to harm an opponent.
  • Sportsmanship rules refer to the quality inherent in playing a game in which one is honor bound to follow the spirit and letter of the rules.
categorical imperatives
CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVES
  • True sports persons play to the best of their abilities within the letter and spirit of the rules.
  • Seeking to win is acceptable only if the letter and spirit of the rules are followed.
  • An opponent is not the enemy but a worthy athlete deserving to be treated exactly as everyone would wish to be treated.
categorical imperatives12
CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVES
  • Retribution is never acceptable regardless of the unfairness or violence of the initial action.
  • Games are not played to intimidate; the ideal purpose is a mutual quest for excellence through challenge.
  • Sportsmanship requires modesty humility in victory, praise for the winners, and self-respect in defeat.
you be the judge is this conduct ethical
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

A lineman or a defensive back is beaten by the opposing lineman or wide receiver, resulting in a big play for the offense. On a subsequent play, the lineman or defensive back “takes out” his opponent with vicious blind side hit to the knees meant to cause injury, even though neither player is involved with action near the ball. Is this hit ethical? If not, how should this intimidation be punished? How should the lineman or defensive back be educated about ethical conduct?

you be the judge is this conduct ethical14
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

In his first at-bat after his grand-slam home run, Mike is prepared for the expected brush-back pitch. He is not ready for the inside fast ball aimed straight at his head. He attempts to bail out of the batter’s box but is hit by the pitch on the arm. He jumps up and charges the mound, bat in hand, as both benches clear. The ensuing brawl results in the ejection of several players from the game. Why is the brush back pitch seemingly an acceptable form of gamesmanship in baseball? Does a ball thrown at a batter’s head justify his charging the mound? Why are teammates expected to join in the fray? Should these behaviors be changed?

you be the judge is this conduct ethical15
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

The shoving match underneath the basket has escalated without any fouls being called. Finally, Chris has had enough. The next time Pat pushes off to clear the lane, Chris grabs the jersey and refuses to give ground. Pat retaliates by hitting Chris. Before the referees can break up the scuffle, both players have landed punches. Who is violating constitutive, proscriptive, or sportsmanship rules in this situation? Is the absence of a whistle calling a foul on Chris, Pat, or both tantamount to condoning their intimidation of each other? If you were the coach, how would you attempt to change Chris’ or Pat’s behavior?

you be the judge is this conduct ethical16
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

During a recreation league softball game, you as the field supervisor learn that one of the teams is playing an individual who is not eligible to play on this team. That team is in last place in the league standings. What action, if any, do you take? Would your response differ if this team was in first place?

you be the judge is this conduct ethical17
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

Your soccer team of 9- and 10-year-olds is in the last game of the season. If your team wins, it will capture the league championship. Your best player twists an ankle just as the first half ends. The player is in pain, but there is seemingly no fracture and only slight swelling. Do you allow that player to participate in the second half? Should the player be forced to play?

you be the judge is this conduct ethical18
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

During a basketball game, player #44 (team A) and player #12 (Team B) both attempt to control a loose ball, but it goes out of bounds. As the official, you blow your whistle and award the ball to team A. Player #44 acknowledges touching the ball last. Do you change your call as the official? If you were the player who last touched the ball, would you acknowledge causing the ball to go out of bounds?

you be the judge is this conduct ethical19
YOU BE THE JUDGE: IS THIS CONDUCT ETHICAL?

As a collegiate football player you are told by the coach to take anabolic steroids to help build muscle bulk. Do you take the drugs? Is this cheating or gaining a competitive edge?

some athletes
SOME ATHLETES
  • Specialize in only one sport at an early age
  • Over-train
  • Taunt their opponents
  • Cheat to win
  • Engage in violent behaviors
  • Abuse drugs
  • Behave unethically
  • Drop out or burn out
coaches should not
Be preoccupied with winning

Use conditioning or coaching techniques that are developmentally inappropriate

Permit cheating and unsportsmanlike conduct

Play only those who are highly skilled

Require specialization in one sport

Expect athletes to practice excessively

Play young athletes while they are injured

Expect athletes to train year round

Punish or deride young athletes for anything less than highly-skilled performances

Condon use of performance-enhancing drugs

COACHES SHOULD NOT
parents should not
PARENTS SHOULD NOT
  • Be preoccupied with winning
  • Punish, deride, or abuse their children when they do not win
  • Expect athletes to specialize in one sport
  • Push their children into competitive sports based on a professional sports model
  • Live vicariously through their children’s athletic accomplishments
  • Believe that their children’s performances in sports are reflections of their parenting abilities
  • Assume that their child will become a sports star leading to a collegiate grant-in-aid and professional career in sports
ethics and sportsmanship
ETHICS AND SPORTSMANSHIP
  • “Ethics is a matter of being good (character) and doing right (action).”
  • “Sportsmanship is a matter of being good (character) and doing right (action) in sports.”
  • “The majority of acts that we consider bad in sports and call ‘unsportsmanlike’ are bad precisely because they are unfair, dishonest, disrespectful, or against the rules.”

Gough, 1997, Character is everything: Promoting ethical excellence in sports, pp. 21-22

sportsmanship is looks like
SPORTSMANSHIP IS (LOOKS LIKE)
  • Playing fair
  • Following the letter and spirit of the rules
  • Respecting the judgments of officials
  • Treating opponents with respect
  • Shaking hands at the end of the game
  • Never running up the score
  • Never cheating
  • Never taunting
coach s responsibilities for sportsmanship
COACH'S RESPONSIBILITIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP
  • Always set a good example for ethical conduct for others to follow.
  • Instruct players in their sportsmanship responsibilities
  • Discipline athletes who display unsportsmanlike behaviors.
  • Treat opponents as guests.
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction among coaches and players.
  • Respect officials’ judgments and interpretations of the rules.
  • Recommend only officials who have demonstrated the highest ethical standards.
  • Shake hands with the officials and opposing coach before and after each competition.
athletes responsibilities for sportsmanship
ATHLETES' RESPONSIBILITIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP
  • Treat visiting athletes with the respect that is due them as guests and worthy opponents.
  • Shake hands with opponents and acknowledge a desire to have an enjoyable and sportsmanlike competition.
  • Exercise self-control at all times.
  • Respect officials’ judgments and interpretations of the rules. Never argue or make gestures indicating a dislike for a decision.
  • Congratulate opponents in a sincere manner following either victory or defeat.
  • Accept conscientiously the responsibility and privilege of representing the school and community.
code of ethics for athletes
CODE OF ETHICS FOR ATHLETES
  • Play fairly and play hard.
  • Play for the joy of sport and for the success of the team.
  • Demonstrate good sportsmanship throughout the game.
  • Respect officials and their decisions.
  • Conduct oneself in an exemplary way at all time.
  • Complete all school work to the best of one's ability.
  • Observe all training and team rules.
  • Treat visiting athletes as guests and be courteous to them.
  • Give opponents full credit when they win.
  • Be modest in victory.
coaches should
Make playing sports fun

Educate themselves about how to coach

Make sportsmanship a priority

Model showing respect to athletes, officials, opponents, and parents

Correct athletes’ inappropriate behaviors

Reward effort and appropriate behaviors

Put the needs of the team first, yet value each individual athlete

Be positive and enthusiastic

Keep winning in perspective

COACHES SHOULD
teaching how to reason morally
TEACHING HOW TO REASON MORALLY
  • The systematic process of evaluating personal values and developing a consistent and impartial set of moral principles by which to live
  • Moral reasoning is occurring when you decide that you will always strive to do what is right.
  • It is a privilege and responsibility to teach and reinforce moral reasoning to young athletes.
  • The longer athletes participate in sport, the lower their moral reasoning.
teaching how to reason morally30
TEACHING HOW TO REASON MORALLY
  • Males have lower levels of moral reasoning than do females.
  • Team sport athletes show lower levels of moral reasoning than do individual sport athletes.
  • The moral reasoning of interscholastic athletes is less consistent, impartial, and reflective than is that of non-athletes.
  • Only if moral values are explained, demonstrated, modeled, and reinforced will young athletes internalize these values.
ethical choices in sports
ETHICAL CHOICES IN SPORTS
  • Should children ever be cut when trying out for a sports team?
  • Should every child play in every contest in youth sports programs?
  • Should every child get an opportunity to play all positions in youth sports programs?
  • Should extrinsic awards (such as trophies, plaques, or money) be given to sports champions?
  • Should a coach have the right to require that an athlete (at any age) compete in only one sport (that is, specialize)?
ethical choices in sports32
ETHICAL CHOICES IN SPORTS
  • Should a parent require a child to compete in a sport if the child does not want to play?
  • Should sports competitions at any level be open to players of both sexes (competing against each other)?
  • Should an athlete be required to pass all school subjects in order to play on an interscholastic team?
  • Should males and females receive identical treatment in school and college sports?
  • Should an athlete ever be allowed or required to play when injured?
ethical choices in sports33
ETHICAL CHOICES IN SPORTS
  • Should a coach have the right to verbally or physically abuse an athlete?
  • Should athletes be allowed to socialize with their opponents before or after competitions?
  • Should a coach be allowed to verbally abuse officials?
  • Should an athletes be allowed to use drugs (such as amphetamines or anabolic steroids) to enhance performance?
  • Should a coach teach athletes how to circumvent sports rules to their advantage?
  • Should high school or college alumni be allowed to influence the hiring and firing of coaches?
ethical choices in sports34
ETHICAL CHOICES IN SPORTS
  • Should alumni be allowed to give money or tangible gifts to prospective college athletes during their recruitment?
  • Should college coaches who violate recruiting regulations be banned from coaching?
  • Should colleges be allowed to generate millions of dollars of revenues from their football and basketball programs, while the athletes who help generate these revenues receive only grants-in-aid?
  • Should an athlete have to be academically eligible in order to play on an intercollegiate team?
ethical choices in sports35
ETHICAL CHOICES IN SPORTS
  • Should fans be protected from the misbehavior of other fans?
  • Should a television network be allowed to dictate the date and time of a college or professional competition?
  • Should all college students be required to pay athletic fees?
  • Should fans have to pay to view the major sporting events on television?
  • Should strikes (work stoppage) by professional athletes be used to gain financial benefits from owners?
ethical choices in sports36
ETHICAL CHOICES IN SPORTS
  • Should sports gambling be legalized?
  • Should athletes be punished for breaking team rules or federal or state laws during the season?
  • Should fans be allowed to yell "Kill the ref" or shout obscenities at visiting athletes?
  • Should psychological ploys be taught and encouraged by coaches and used by athletes?
  • Should athletes ever be allowed to question an official's call?
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"To educate a person in the mind but not the morals is to educate a menace to society." –Teddy Roosevelt