Category Archives: Ethics Heroes

Ethics Hero: American League Batting Champion Jose Altuve

Altuve

There was another baseball Ethics Hero who emerged on the last day of the regular season yesterday. File it under “Sportsmanship.”

Houston Astros secondbaseman  Jose Altuve (at less than 5′ 5″, the shortest athlete in a major professional sport) began the day hitting .340, three points ahead of the Tigers’ Victor Martinez, who was at .337. Even with all the new stats and metrics showing that batting average alone is not the best measure of a baseball player’s offensive value, a league batting championship remains the most prestigious of individual titles, putting a player in the record books with the likes of Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, George Brett, Ichiro Suzuki and Tony Gwynn. It’s still a big deal. If Altuve didn’t play in Houston’s meaningless last game, Martinez would have to go 3-for-3 to pass him, giving the DH a narrow .3407 average compared with Altuve’s .3399. By playing, Altuve would risk lowering his average, providing Martinez with a better chance of passing him.

Many players in the past have sat out their final game or games to “back in” to the batting championship, rather than give the fans a chance to watch a head to head battle injecting some much-needed drama to the expiring season. ESPN blogger David Schoenfield recounts some of those episodes here.

Altuve, however, gave Martinez his shot. He played the whole game, had two hits in his four at-bats, and won the American League batting title the right way—on the field, not on the bench.  (Martinez was hitless in three at bats.)

The conduct, simple as it was, embodied fairness, integrity, courage, respect for an opponent, and most of all, respect for the game.

Sportsmanship lives.

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Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, History, Sports

Ethics Hero: Minnesota Twins Pitcher Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

This is the final day of the regular baseball season, and an appropriate time to salute a major league player who placed principle over cash….even if I disagree with him

Phil Hughes was a bargain pick-up during the off-season for the Twins, a failed pitching phenom for the Yankees widely viewed to be on a fast slope to oblivion. He surprised everyone with a wonderful season for the otherwise woeful Minnesota team this season, potentially setting the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio record, and began his final start of the campaign needing to throw eight and a third innings to reach 210 and trigger a $500,000 bonus in his contract.He would have made it, too, pitching eight dominant innings against the Diamondbacks and allowing just one run.  Then there was a downpour, with Hughes needing one more out to get the  extra $500,000.

After more than an hour’s rain delay, the game was resumed, but as is the practice in baseball, Hughes did not return to pitch: too long a delay, his arm too cold, too much risk of injury, especially after throwing so many pitches.  Hughes accepted the bad luck without complaint or rancor, saying that “some things aren’t meant to be.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Sports

Ethics Hero: Derek Jeter

Jeter Farewell

Once upon a time, there were three young shortstops.

They arrived in the majors nearly at the same time, completely different in style and skills, but each carrying the promise of greatness. Nomar Garciaparra, with the Red Sox, was the flashy and charismatic one. Alex Rodriquez was the youngest, and held the most potential. Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees, was a finished player from the moment he stepped on a major league field: poised, purposeful, and a winner.

While once it seemed certain that all three would meet at the Hall of Fame, it was not to be. Garciaparra won two batting titles, but his aggressive moves and spidery form made him injury prone. His reign as an elite shortstop ended prematurely, and so did his career. Rodriquez, as he matured, went from The Kid to A-Rod to A-Fraud, his reputation and life scarred by controversies, illegal steroids, lies and the habits of a sociopath. He sat out this season, at a time in his career when he had been expected (and paid) to be chasing the all-time home run record, with a humiliating suspension. He is the most unpopular player in baseball, and one of the most reviled of all time.

So then there was one shortstop, Jeter, and his life on and off the baseball field has been extraordinary enough to make up for the disappointments left us by his former shortstop colleagues. Last night, at the age of 40, he played his final home game at the position for the Yankees. His career statistics show no batting or home run titles, it is true, but shine brilliantly nonetheless: a .309 lifetime average, 3461 hits (3000 makes a player a lock for the Hall of Fame even if he doesn’t play the most difficult position on the field, as Jeter has ), just short of 2000 runs scored (10th all-time), twelve All-Star games, five Golden Gloves (as the American League’s best fielding shortstop), five Silver Sluggers (as the best hitter at his position), and most of all, seven World Series, five of them on World Champions.

Apart from the stats, awards and titles, Jeter was just as exemplary. He played in an era when it is impossible to hide as a celebrity: if you are a jerk, everyone will know it. He wasn’t a jerk. He was, in fact, the personification of the perfect sports hero. Jeter has been a leader and teacher by example to his team mates and his admirers, though his one-time friend, Rodriguez, would not absorb the lessons. He has had no personal drama, no tawdry sexual episodes, no bastard children. He was never arrested or suspected of using drugs, performance-enhancing or recreational. There were no DUI charges or petulant interviews. Derek Jeter never had to ask “Do you know who I am?” because he never acted as if he was special, because he made himself special by never acting that way, and because everyone did know who he was. In every way imaginable, from his public comportment to his ability to rise to the occasion under the pressure of a national audience, a rich contract and the hopes of millions, Derek Jeter has embodied the ideal of the athletic hero. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Leadership, Sports, U.S. Society

Indocrinating Our Students With Apathy, Cowardice and Selfishness: No Wonder We Won’t Help The Ukraine…

THIS, however, is perfectly acceptable, because it's perfectly ineffective.

THIS, however, is perfectly acceptable, because it’s perfectly ineffective.

Day by day, moment by moment, our ethically incompetent schools inculcate the wrong values in our young, undoing centuries of American traditions and unraveling the unique character that made the United States the hope of the world.

When he witnessed another student at Chicago’s Elmwood Park High School beginning to bully a smaller, weaker colleague, high school athlete mark Rivera pulled the aggressor aside and said something in the manner of “Do that again, and you’ll have to deal with me, got it?” As a result, he was suspended.

The principal told reporters, “You can say stop it or leave him alone but if that doesn’t work, get an adult involved.”  Ah. Object without intending to do anything to back up the objection. Do nothing, and, say, go play golf. Or leave it to someone else.

Sounds familiar.

Mark Rivera is an Ethics Hero, even though, if the cultural polluters inchrage of our institutions aren’t stopped and replaced, future generations of the wan, timid, self-absorbed nation that was once the United States won’t think so.

 

 

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Heroes, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Double Standard Files (Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Folder): Why Is Hope Solo Still On The Soccer Field?

Solo abuse

I am certainly in agreement with the cultural standard that the NFL is being forced, kicking and screaming, to define, that standard being that the professional sports organizations should not give the American public the opportunity to cheer physical abusers of domestic partners and children. ( The latest in the purge here.) Professional athletes are paid heroes, and we must choose our heroes well: they can inspire, but they also corrupt. It is not too much to ask athletes being paid millions, who have their faces and names emblazoned on merchandise, their forms plastered on children’s walls and their fame and popularity used to sell shoes and breakfast cereal, to model decent behavior. In fact, it is essential. The NFL’s corporate sponsors understand this even if the violence-addicted fools who run the league itself do not. (See: Cognitive Dissonance).

Will other respectable professional sports—the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the PGA—have to follow football’s reluctant lead? I don’t see how they can avoid it. It will be interesting to see how the lesser sports, like professional bowling, and grittier, the macho sports like ultimate fighting and NASCAR handle this. It may well be that the definition of a respectable sport in this country will include whether it continues to promote stars who punch their family members and lovers in their faces and beat their illegitimate children with tree branches. To which I say, good. It’s a start.

That leaves the perplexing mystery, however, of Hope Solo.

Surely you know Hope. She is the tall, beautiful, sexy, outspoken female U.S. soccer star, one of the top goalies in the sport, who has won two Olympic gold medals and is one of the best known celebrities in the supposedly burgeoning sport the rest of the world calls football. She was on “Dancing With The Stars;” she posed nude in “ESPN Magazine’s “body issue.” She’s making sports page headlines on the field regularly, just like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Last Saturday, for example, the United States women’s soccer team beat Mexico 8-0  in Utah, with Solo passing goalie Briana Scurry for the U.S. shutout record. She is also an alleged abuser. Solo was arrested and has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in the assault of her sister and 17-year-old nephew,and is awaiting trial in November. Photos of the injuries to Solo’s sister and nephew were published in the news media (above–that’s Hope on the right). Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Race, Sports, U.S. Society

Crotch-Grabbing Ethics: A Pitcher And An Umpire Make A Dunce/Hero Pair, And Baseball Teaches The NFL About Values

Jonathan Papelbon

I don’t know about you, but I need a break, however brief, from the NBA’s political correctness self-immolation and the NFL proving that it really has no idea what’s right or wrong when its players are violent off the field. Fortunately, Major League Baseball has its own, rather less societally significant ethics scandal for this baseball fan to focus on.

Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon has been very good this year, unlike the rest of his team., but he was lousy Sunday, blowing a big lead for the last place Phillies in front of a home town crowd over the weekend. The Philly fans, as they are famous for doing, booed him lustily as he left the field, so classy Papelbon grabbed his cup and gave it a heave, as he stared down the mob. Translation: “Boo THIS!”

At this point, home plate umpire Joe West, a crummy umpire from a technical viewpoint but notable as an outspoken arbiter of the conduct of players, threw Papelbon out of the game. This was unusual, because Papelbon was almost certainly through for the day anyway. The ejection under such circumstances  didn’t mean the umpire’s usual, “You are unprofessionally challenging my authority regarding a call that does not favor your team and delaying the game, so you can’t play today any more,” but the more succinct and far more rare, “You’re really an asshole.”

Papelbon then took offense, and furiously confronted the umpire. Now Major League Baseball has suspended Papelbon for seven days, and is enjoying it, telling sports fans and the media, “See? The NFL suspends its players for a game or two when they punch women in the face and beat their kids with a log. We kick out our players for seven games just for being rude.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Professions, Sports, Workplace

Dunces, Heroes, and Fools In The Wake Of The Great Nude Actress Hack

Perez Hilton Yecch.

Perez Hilton
Yecch.

You should know by now that about a hundred actresses have had their nude photographs hacked from private accounts and posted for the world to drool over. As is often the case in such incidents, the ethical instincts, or lack thereof, of various individuals have been exposed in the wake of the event:

Ethics Dunce: Perez Hilton.

No surprise here: Hilton, a web gossip columnist and a different species of hack than the ones at issue, showed himself to have dead ethics alarms. After eagerly posting the uncensored photos  of Victoria Justice and Jennifer Lawrence on his celebrity gossip blog, Hilton was condemned far and wide on social media, so he first proved he didn’t get it by keeping up the photos but censoring the women’s naughty bits, and then taking them down entirely, explaining that “At work we often have to make quick decisions. I made a really bad one today and then made it worse. I feel awful and am truly sorry.”  Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Quotes, The Internet