Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ethics: The Other Quarterback in Deflategate

Maggie Lilac

Any professional sport is based on four key ethical elements: fairness, integrity, responsibility, and respect. Even though ethics is not one of those key points, it plays a vital role in the sports industry.

The most common ethical approach to sports is sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is very different from gamesmanship where winning is everything; ethical values are built into this approach. Unlike sportsmanship where you play for honor, gamesmanship centers around winning and the end justifying the means. In some ways gamesmanship is similar to ethics. However it would be ethical to use the sportsmanship role and the four basic elements.

The idea of a young boy playing little league or a young girl playing soccer is to not only keep them active and have fun to better themselves and ensure personal growth. The sportsmanship model is solely built on that idea. Gamesmanship teaches you that cheating is only wrong if you get caught and you win only for the sake of winning. This is not an ethical way of teaching or explaining competition and sport to young children.

People glorify professional athletes because we look at them as something we once aspired to be when we were young.  "But, for those who think ethics plays a role in sports, professional athletes are held to a higher standard. They are seen as role models responsible for setting an example for others to follow, especially young people" said Kirk O Hanson and Matt Savage from Santa Clara University. 

Ethical decision don't only factor into the way we think about how to properly address playing sports but also when decision need to be made. Rodger Goodell is the commission of the National Football League; his job entitles him to make ethical decisions everyday regarding the League and its players. He has recently been in the news for the "Deflategate" scandal in which he and the NFL lost their defense against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. We can ask ourselves many ethical question about "Deflategate" that Brady possibly could have asked himself. Start with asking questions like "Is this ethical?",  "Is this fair?", or "Can i justify my actions?". 

I believe that ethics form the base for moral behavior just like sports can. True sport is based on values and ethics. When an athlete is lacking good sportsmanship, they are lacking ethical values and are not making ethical decision.  A blogger from TrueSport said "Ethics violations and the desire to win at any cost threaten the inherent value of sport in America." I agree because when we question ourselves and ethical judgments, we are threatening the integrity of sports ethics. 

Although different teams have different codes and rules, all the ethics should be the same because our culture is the same. We can argue that even though Tom Brady won his appeal of the NFL he was never proven innocent and could there fore ethically questions himself about his reason(s) for playing the game. I believe Brady is using gamesmanship and not the valued and ethical sportsmanship. This can be said by the fact that cheating, even though ethically wrong, is said to be not wrong until you are caught stealing. This goes to show that Brady will do anything to win (winning at all costs) like an unethical gamesman. Ethics played a large role, some would say the other quarterback spot in the decision of deflategate. 

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