Unless you just returned from a trip to the most remote part of the Amazon Basin, you have probably heard about the recent incident where an Oklahoma State basketball player, Marcus Smart, who dove out of bounds during a basketball game. It was there (in out of bounds territory) that a Texas Tech fan, and major Texas Tech “Homer” by the name of Jeff Orr, called Marcus a “Piece of Crap.” This prompted Marcus to give Orr a decent shove and his reward for shoving the fan was a three game suspension. I might add (and there’s a reason) that Marcus is a phenomenal player; while I’m at it, I might add as well that Texas Tech has banned Orr from attending another game this season. About Orr, I could care less.
Latest "Sports Ethics" Posts
Amid the cheering, hype and clever commercials of the recent Super Bowl, is a slow developing and highly inconvenient situation that provides sober counter-balance to the celebration.
The case is quite complex, and I will be over-simplistic here, but the Judge rejected the settlement on the basis that the award would prove to be woefully inadequate to handle the claims. She also commented on the lack of proof the NFL had given out that there was enough money to properly diagnose and to satisfy the medical needs of the patients.
In an article by Doug Farrar for Sports Illustrated (January 14, 2014), it was stated:
I was not at all surprised when I recently read in USA Today (January 17, 2014) that Lance Armstrong pushed his golf handicap down to a 9 and that he recently shot a 74 on some course, somewhere.
I will take him at his word, which may or may not be a good thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a miniature golf course complete with windmills and a hole with a big clown who had a gaping mouth. The image forces me to loop back around to Lance Armstrong.
Lance is on (what public relations experts call) the rehabilitation trail. The “trail” is intended to clean up an image. When we heard that Lance shot a 74, we were supposed to nudge each other in the ribs and say:
As you know, every so often I like to award what I call my “Ethical Good Guy” Award; this blog wants to recognize Tracy Barnes and by extension, her sister Lanny.
Haven’t heard of them? It is understandable. The Biathlon, the grueling Olympic event that combines cross country skiing and shooting, probably gets 1 percent of the notice of, let’s say, figure skating or ski jumping. This year, my hope is that the sport is covered by the networks.
In an Associated Press article dated January 14, 2014, “Biathlete gives up Sochi spot for twin,” we see the stories of two sisters intersecting in a magical way.
There is probably no more incendiary ethical mixture than religion and Division I sports. The mixture is doubly inflammable when the Division I team is team plays for a state funded university. The issue is defined in an article for Fox News by Todd Starnes (January 16, 2014) entitled: “UConn rebukes coach, says Jesus doesn’t belong in football.” Hence the discussion about the ethics of religion in sports.
As I sit at my table and start to write this post, I am not thinking about Dennis Rodman, basketball diplomacy or Kenneth Bae at all, but of a man I shall call “Mike,” who had an upper, mid-level marketing management position with an international consumer product company based in New York City.
As I am blessed to speak to many groups around the country, I am often privileged to hear many stories of outstanding, unselfish acts and of unethical miscues and failures. I heard the following story second-hand, so please forgive me if it is not repeated with absolute accuracy but it is illustrative for the purposes of this discussion.
It is time for me to test your high-tech and computer history by asking you to remember a Longmont, Colorado-based company called MiniScribe. The company was founded in 1980 and was developing (for that time) innovative hard drives. Though the company started to falter in the mid-1980s, Wall Street turn-around specialists were brought in to work their magic. The late 1980s and early 1990s were magical times for the high-tech industry – and in some cases, they were highly unethical times filled with fraud and deceit.
In 1989, MiniScribe raised the stakes of fraud to an entirely new level. MiniScribe, being unable to get Wall Street to loan their shaky company any more money for manufacturing their hard disk drives, decided on an interesting game of bait and switch.
This Thanksgiving, I want to present James-Michael Johnson with my ethical good guy award. Even if you don’t get to read this post until next July, please remember James-Michael Johnson, because he is what Thanksgiving should be about.
Mr. Johnson is a linebacker who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is in his second year as a professional football player. While he is not a superstar, I will assume that as a professional football player, he makes a decent enough living. However, as a man trying to keep his job, I am sure he also has many worries. The NFL is not a forgiving place. In a sport where one injury or even one promising rookie waiting to take your job can knock you out of the game, existence is always somewhat tentative.
Have you heard of Trail of Tears or the Indian Removal Act of 1830? Perhaps I should ask, “Did any history teacher in either your high school or college ever bother to even teach those topics to you?”
In my case, they did not. I am willing to guess that many of you never heard these tragic incidents either. American history is not always pretty, and it is not always imagery of cherry pie and fireworks on July 4th.
The Trail of Tears refers to the dislocation of America’s Native Peoples; the starvation and disease they endured while being forcibly moved from their land, and the loss of culture and connection the survivors feel to even this day.
From time to time, I like to make an award that I call my “Ethical Good Guy Award.” This blog is not one of them; there is no award coming to Carl Pelini. However, I think there will be redemption.
On November 1, 2013, AP writer Tim Reynolds reported on the fall of Carl Pellini, football coach for Florida Atlantic University, who was seen using both marijuana and cocaine by his assistant coach. The assistant coach, Matt Edwards, signed a notarized affidavit that was required by FAU for internal investigative purposes. A second individual also associated with the university, who had received a text from Pellini admitting to “occasional drug use,” also signed a statement.
There is, of course, no tolerance for the use of illegal drugs. According to the article: