Usually we know the rules of the game, we watch a referee judging and athletes competing. But from times to times we spot the moment when the things are going wrong: when athletes are cheating, a judge doesn’t catch wrongdoing, when faking a foul or injury takes place, opponents intimidating the other team, or a team playing tough by breaking game’s rules. All these issues are related to ethics in sports. And ethics in spots is becoming more crucial because nowadays the world of sports faces a bunch of ethical problems.I am talking about this topic because I saw and I witnessed these ethnical problems in sports during my volunteering and work at many sport events, and I want other people also know about them.
When we talk about ethics, we’re talking about a system of values that we use to make daily decisions: what we value and how we use those values in our dealings with the world. Ethics don’t just guide individuals; they also inform the missions and actions of larger organizations. In sports, ethics permeate competitive environments. Young children are taught to play fairly and adhere to rules. In adulthood, the violation of ethical guidelines can have legal implications.
To understand the role ethics plays in sport and competition, it is important to make a distinction between gamesmanship and sportsmanship.
Gamesmanship is built on the principle that winning is everything. Athletes and coaches are encouraged to bend the rules wherever possible in order to gain a competitive advantage over an opponent, and to pay less attention to the safety and welfare of the competition. Some examples of gamesmanship are:
Winning is everything
It's only cheating if you get caught
It is the referee's job to catch wrongdoing, and the athletes and coaches have no responsibility to follow the rules
The ends always justify the means
Some examples of gamesmanship are:
Faking a foul or injury
Attempting to get a head start in a race
Tampering with equipment
Covert personal fouls, such as grabbing a player underwater during a water polo match
Inflicting pain on an opponent with the intention of knocking him or her out of the game (like the Saint's bounty scandal)
The use of performance-enhancing drugs
Taunting or intimidating an opponent
A coach lying about an athlete's grades in order to keep him or her eligible to play
All of these examples place greater emphasis on the outcome of the game than on the manner in which it is played. Ethics in sport requires four key virtues: fairness, integrity, responsibility, and respect.
All athletes and coaches must follow established rules and guidelines of their respective sport. Teams that seek an unfair competitive advantage over their opponent create an uneven playing field which violates the integrity of the sport. Athletes and coaches are not discriminated against or excluded from participating in a sport based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Referees must apply the rules equally to both teams and cannot show bias or personal interest in the outcome.
Similar to fairness, in that any athlete who seeks to gain an advantage over his or her opponent by means of a skill that the game itself was not designed to test demonstrates a lack of personal integrity and violates the integrity of the game. For example, when a player fakes being injured or fouled in soccer, he or she is not acting in a sportsmanlike manner because the game of soccer is not designed to measure an athlete's ability to flop. Faking is a way of intentionally deceiving an official into making a bad call, which only hurts the credibility of the officiating and ultimately undermines the integrity of the game.
To be sportsmanlike requires players and coaches to take responsibility for their performance, as well as their actions on the field. This includes their emotions. Many times athletes and coaches will make excuses as to why they lost the game. The most popular excuse is to blame the officiating. The honorable thing to do instead is to focus only on the aspects of the game that you can control, i.e. your performance, and to question yourself about where you could have done better. Responsibility requires that players and coaches be up to date on the rules and regulations governing their sport. Responsibility demands that players and coaches conduct themselves in an honorable way off the field, as well as on it.
All athletes should show respect for teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials. All coaches should show respect for their players, opponents, and officials. All fans, especially parents, should show respect for other fans, as well as both teams and officials.
The sportsmanship model is built on the idea that sport both demonstrates and encourages character development, which then influences the moral character of the broader community. How we each compete in sports can have an effect on our personal moral and ethical behavior outside of the competition. One thing is clear: Ethics are essential to good sportsmanship. Under a sportsmanship model, healthy competition is seen as a means of cultivating personal honor, virtue, and character. It contributes to a community of respect and trust between competitors and in society. The goal in sportsmanship is not simply to win, but to pursue victory with honor by giving one's best effort.
In the last few years, countless ethical issues have arisen in the world of sports. Some of the most pressing ethical issues facing the industry include:
Diversity. From drafting athletes to hiring coaches and front and back office personnel, it’s increasingly important to be aware of inequality in employment in the field, particularly regarding race, ethnicity and gender.
Salaries. From the college level to the professional level, the sport industry has been called out for not paying certain athletes equitable salaries (particularly female athletes) and not paying college athletes salaries in addition to college scholarships.
Athlete’s behavior. Necessity in developing policies for ethical athlete behavior, addressing such issues as how to handle drug use or athlete altercations during, and outside of, game play.
Such issues as cheating in professional sports, ethical coaching, parents behavior, protection of athletes’ health and safety (especially in youth sports and women), where athletes must be protected from sexual abuse and from all forms of harassment and bullying, as well as trainer’s abuse; the unintentional use of performance-enhancing drugs that resulted in punishment; star - athletes who commit crimes outside of sports and should be treated and viewed in the sports world, and the use of ethnic groups in logos and team names.
As new challenges arise and the field of sports develops and becomes more complex, those working in sport industries will need to be equipped to address new ethical questions and do something about the lack of a strong ethic in sports before it is too late. All of us should be aware of those ethical problems, because we all somehow belong to this world of sports as well.