Latest "Sports Ethics" Posts
Trent Richardson, like many professional sports figures, was never effectively trained in how to handle success. Like many athletes he learned his sport with the fine art of practice and muscle memory, but who teaches athletes ethical and financial muscle memory?
Reared in a loving home, but poor by many standards, Richardson knew that if his time came he’d take care of those who were there for him. So when he signed a four-year $20.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, Richardson made good on his mental promise.
He bоught a ѕix-bеdrооm house in Cleveland fоr $825,000 аnd rеntеd hiѕ mоm a house there, too. He hаd a сhаnсе tо mаkе ѕurе his mоm never hаd tо work аgаin. In like manner he bought hiѕ grаndmоthеr a house in Pensacola fоr $350,000. Mission accomplished!
The Ryan Lochte Story can be viewed as a sports story to be sure, but it is really about choices, consequences and the crash of a company. The Olympic career of Ryan Lochte was going to be over and done with in any case, this was to be his last competition. He could have stood on the podium, had his moment in the sun and then started the next chapter in his life.
There is a disturbing trend not only in sports, but with major event tickets – and the question of who owns the tickets you buy and who controls them. While you obviously believe that if you buy a ticket to a major sporting or entertainment event that you own that ticket, if you try to sell the ticket for any reason, the result might be a huge loss – or no sale at all. This is a sports ethics question.
If a current New York State probe expands from sports to other events – as those conducting the investigation believe, it could find that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in losses have already been taken from customers.
There is an irony to the case of Bob Lobel. The former Boston sportscaster has been barred from the Woodland Golf Club and playing the sport he loves. He was an iconic sports figure in the Boston area, and I am sure that many people in his golf club once wanted to be in his close group of friends and associates. Now, he is forced to sit on the sidelines.
He suffers from a lousy disease known as spinal stenosis which is slowly crippling him. He must get around the course on a golf cart. The club has determined that the cart damages its greens. In an article by Melinda Cartensen (November 23, 2015) for FoxNews entitled: “Disabled Boston sportscaster files discrimination lawsuit against golf club,” an ethically interesting case featuring Bob Lobel is starting to evolve.
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.