Hardly a day goes by without us hearing of some kind of unethical activity in sport. Are sportspeople not taught sports ethics by their colleges and clubs?

As always with ethical matters there are degrees or unethicalness. Match fixing in football and cricket is clearly a criminal offence – an attempt to defraud. I suppose physical assaults such as hitting and biting other players are examples of a serious unethical behaviour. Drug taking is another.

Then there are several lesser unethical behaviours:

  • Pretending to be fouled – in effect lying!
  • Pretending innocence when one has fouled another.
  • Taking substances which are not drugs but which will unfairly boost performance – such as injections of red blood cells.
  • Faking blood ( by biting a capsule with coloured liquid in it) so as to be sent off and a replacement allowed on the field
  • Swearing at your opponents on the field  so as to upset them so  much they play badly
  • Attempting to deliberately injure the opposing team’s star player.

Why?     Surely those who cheat in some form or other KNOW they are doing wrong. Even if they win they will KNOW they haven’t really won – they are not the best!   We know the answer – they don’t care – it’s the money that is important!

We all know there is big money in sport now through prizes, salaries and sponsorships. Even fame is a secondary motive because the fame leads to better sponsorship opportunities and TV work, which in turn provide more cash.

It is difficult to believe that most professional sportspeople take part for the enjoyment of their sport. Just look at the strain on their faces as they play and the utter desolation when they lose. Is the fear and pain of losing caused by just knowing that you have lost a game – or is here an ulterior unethical motive causing such anguish? Clearly, there is a need to educate sportspeople in sports ethics.

Note to editors Dr. Robb is available for expert opinion, interviews and comments on ethical matters. See About Us for Bill’s credentials.

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