Latest "Sports Ethics" Posts
As a North Carolinian anyone in the state would have agreed – UNC-Chapel Hill was the bastion of outstanding education and sports in the state. Of course, Duke fans would have clearly placed their program ahead of Chapel Hill, but for state funded institutions Chapel Hill ranked at the top. Until…
Deborah Crowder has now, and for years to come, tarnished the name of UNC-Chapel Hill both academically and in their sports franchise. Crowder was a longtime clerical employee at the Department of African and Afro-American Studies who provided athletes fake classes for high grades for 16 years.
It is nearly impossible to turn on a television program, especially one devoted to sports and to not see an advertisement for Draft Kings vs FanDuel, the two organizations who have been promoting online fantasy gambling.
What is fantasy gambling? At its simplest, most basic explanation, it allows a gambler the ability to make up a fictitious team of players from many existing teams and to bet that the team will outperform every other team in the same sport during a given period. The gambler is given a fantasy budget with which to acquire players. When the fantasy team is assembled, the gambler competes against other gamblers in a large pool.
I suppose this could be a professional basketball story, but it is really a life story. It is an inspiring, second chances story. It is also a work in progress, and maybe that is the point. We are all works in progress.
In an article appearing online for CNBC by writer Fred Imbert entitled, “Ex-NBA center Vin Baker now working at Starbucks: Report,” we read about a man who was once a giant (there’s no pun intended) on the basketball court who took a very hard fall. Vin Baker was an NBA all-star with the former NBA team Seattle Supersonics.
According to the piece:
“Baker battled alcoholism toward the end of his 13-year career, and a series of financial troubles led to him losing nearly $100 million in earnings.”
Decisions made quickly have almost immediate consequences in this day and age. This is a Sports Ethics minute highlighting a teachable moment in Little League Softball and what happens when ethics are thrown to the wind.
While I’m not a mind reader, I can almost hear the commentary in my head. The coaches for West region team from Snohomish, Washington (Little League team) fresh off a tough win against Central Iowa are saying to themselves – “Wow. Hope we don’t have to play them again! Hey, if we throw the game we won’t have to play Central Iowa again in the semi-finals.”
Whenever I hear the name “Phil Mickelson,” the knee-jerk reaction I always have is “Good Guy/Lucky Guy.” He is an amazing golfer; a consistently great golfer who always manages to finish in the money. He has been excelling in the professional circuit since the early 1990s; he seems to have a beautiful family life and he is an endorsement machine. If you don’t care one whit about golf, chances are you may have seen one of his many television or magazine advertisements.
In fact, in 2011 alone he earned more than $62 million dollars; $53 million of it came from endorsements.
It is a charmed life to be sure, however Phil Mickelson has a little problem. He plays it loose with his money. In a story for NBC Golf by Nick Menta (June 29, 2015) entitled: “Report: Mickelson tied to illegal gambling case,” we learn:
So close but yet so far. Different perspectives and worlds apart separate the parental roles comparing Audrey Dimitrew whose family is suing the Chesapeake Regional Volleyball Association vs the mother, Toya Graham, in Baltimore who pulled her son from getting involved in inner city riots. Ethically I can’t seem to shake the stark difference between Toya Graham and Audrey Dimitrew, both taking action for their child, yet both setting starkly different examples.
For a point of reference, Fairfax, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland are about 60 miles from one another (as the car drives). As someone who speaks on ethics nationwide, I am always curious about ethical parallels and how people handle the challenges in their lives in different ways – and what it says about our society. This tale occurs in an hour’s distance.
Chelsea vs. Saint Germain: The setting for today’s blog is the Paris Metro and the event that seemingly precipitated the following incident was the aftermath of a football match between a French team, Saint Germain vs the English club, Chelsea. However, this isn’t a sports story. It is a story about ugliness and intolerance.
Chelsea vs. St. Germain.
In the train station, a black man was physically stopped from getting on the Paris Metro. It was not gentle kidding; he was physically pushed not once, but at least three times. As the man was shoved off the train, the crowd shouted racist chants.
The Lance Armstrong news saga ceased to become a “sports story” more than 10 years ago, when in 2005 the allegations of blood doping came fully into light. It became much larger.
Lance Armstrong, “The Truth Hurts”.
I could put Lance Armstrong’s career into a 50:50 mixture of cycling to “spin.” By spin, I am not referring to the exercise we do in our gyms on stationary bikes. I am referring to the public relations dance that the guilty often do when they try to cover their tracks with denial, contrition, obfuscation and innuendo. The spin part includes songs such as “Well, everyone does it!” or “It was legal to do it back then.”
“The actions of the adults have led to this outcome.”
–Little League Baseball announcing decision to strip the Jackie Robinson West team of their national title.
It was a feel good, “Field of Dreams” story. The inner-city Jackie Robinson West team won the Little League national title over richer, more organized suburban teams from all over America. When they won, it was indeed a reiteration of the American Dream. You would have had to have a heart made of stone to not cheer for them.
Most of these kids are from humble means. Their victory took them all the way to the White House to meet the president. It doesn’t get any more special than that. However the victory was short-lived. Complaints were filed and “whistles were blown.”
A few months back, there was turmoil in a Bills vs. Broncos game because two seasoned referees gave each other a knuckle bump immediately after a touchdown.
Were they biased? Did they sway the game? Is it possible that they are actually Peyton Manning fans?
Question after question needed to be answered for the fans and the announcers that were outraged.
The truth……the refs were just proud of each other for the good job they had done on making a good call.
There was nothing at all dishonest. No unethical behavior. Just a microscope on every move in every game.
Now, press forward to the last two weeks, the Superbowl, and Deflategate.