Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Ethics in Sport

Category Ethics, Reputation
Words 1027 (4 pages)

As George Orwell said, “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. ” In other words, sport isn’t just about game play anymore. The athletes we see in serious sport, the people who have acclaimed money and fame, usually expect better treatment from everyone else, they’re spoiled and therefore behave poorly on the basis they believe they can get away with it.

This is why it is not only appropriate, but essential for sporting clubs to punish athletes for off field indiscretions, that is, behaviour that displays a lack of good judgement. Sporting clubs should show no lenience towards athletes who choose to put their sporting careers at risk by behaving in childish ways. Their contracts should result in termination, suspension or they should be fined, depending on the circumstance. Athletes who display idiotic behaviour create a financial loss for their club as well as creating a negative image for them too.

And, by being in the public eye, they are setting a bad example for their fans, especially the children who look up to them. Media coverage of off field indiscretions can create a negative image of the club that has employed the athlete involved. The Rugby league’s image problem is at a very bad state and is known to have so many scandals that even a Wikipedia page has been made for their record of off field indiscretions. On Sunday 17th April, 2011 there was a 60 Minutes report that highlighted the battle between AFL and Rugby league for junior participation.

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The parents that were interviewed admitted that the relatively clean-cut image of the AFL held greater appeal for them, and normally led to them persuading their kids not to choose Rugby league. Rugby players are continuously stained with a poor reputation because of the reckless actions of a very small minority. An athlete represents the club they belong to. So, when one member of the team is involved with off field indiscretions they are ruining it for the respectable players, in ways such as losing hard earned sponsorships.

When an athlete displays poor behaviour they are initiating a loss of millions of dollars. Now, more than ever, sporting clubs are pressured by their athlete’s sponsors to take appropriate action for off field indiscretions . This is because when an athlete is involved with off field indiscretions their sponsors will dissociate themselves from the club. Tiger Wood’s disgusting adulterous indiscretions in 2010 received worldwide media attention, and the outcome of this negative coverage caused the loss of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals.

On another note, long-standing Sydney Roosters sponsor, Samsung, dumped their club in 2009 after a series of off-field indiscretions left them no choice but to detach their brand with rugby league before it tarnished their own reputation. This indicates that such contracts should be terminated on the basis that the athlete’s behaviour had a drastic financial effect on the game. In a competitive sporting landscape, no club is in a position to be losing sponsors, nor are they in a position to be losing fans. Athletes are role models to our children.

Unfortunately, it is almost unavoidable that children will observe athletes acting aggressively, as the media are irresponsible in over-covering and sensationalizing violent incidents in sport. Sociology professor at Oregon State and author of several published studies’ on athlete’s behaviour, Steven Ortiz, says: “Spoiled-athlete syndrome begins early in sports socialization. From the time they could be picked out of a lineup because of their exceptional athletic ability, they've been pampered and catered to by coaches, classmates, teammates, family members and partners. As they get older, this becomes a pattern.

Because they're spoiled, they feel they aren't accountable for their behaviors off the field. They're so used to people looking the other way. ” The athlete’s shouldn’t be used to people looking the way, and they simply can’t afford to while they are in the public eye, as role models. In psychology, I’ve learnt about ‘model behavior’ that is, that from a young age we imitate behavior we observe from our role models. In more detail, if they’re behavior is followed by a positive outcome we are more likely to imitate this behavior then if it were followed by a negative consequence.

Therefore, if we expose our children to inappropriate athletes that aren’t punished for their off field-discretions – and these athletes happen to be perceived as role models, are we promoting our children to develop an aggressive repertoire of behavior? Many would argue that an off field indiscretion has no impact on the game play of the athlete, and therefore they should not be terminated as punishment from the game because they are a valuable team member.

However, the decision by the AFL club, the Brisbane Lions to terminate the contract of star full-forward, Brendon Fevola demonstrates the fact that a player’s off field behaviour can be as much as a consideration as their on-field performance in regards to their employment. Brendon’s controversial antics included embarrassing drunken performances and in The Sunday Telegraph in June 2012 he was quoted saying “I grabbed a bottle of wine from her fridge and within 15 minutes it was empty.

I opened another bottle, drank it, then went for another one. ” The fact that the majority of athlete’s sign a code of conduct at the beginning of their careers which outlines what behaviour is expected from player, demonstrates that there are no exceptions and there should be no room for behaviour that doesn’t meet that expectation. It is essential for sporting clubs to punish athletes for their off field indiscretions. Any athlete who does not meet the expectation of the club should be terminated as a result.

Although it may seem harsh, this is necessary as any idiotic behavior may have a great financial loss as a consequence, and also result in tarnishing their club’s reputation. Also, these athletes are role models to the general public, particularly young children. According to online website, Ranker, the Top 10 Most Popular Athletes published in February 2010, include adulterer Tiger Woods and drug-cheat Lance Armstrong – great role models, right?

Ethics in Sport essay

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