Tag Archives: football

Watching the Super Bowl Last Year Was Unethical. This Year It Is Indefensible.

superbowl-50

Next year, it will be close to criminal.

The American public can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to supporting, financing and enabling the cynical exercise in human carnage for cash that is known as professional football. Since the last Super Bowl was played, “Concussion” visited the movie theaters, putting in dramatic form the undeniable facts exposed in the documentary “League of Denial.” Both “Concussion’s” director and its star, Will Smith, have stated in interviews that they don’t think they can enjoy watching football any more.Reaching this conclusion should not require the experience of making a movie  about the facts of the deadly concussion epidemic that the NFL blithely promotes, nor months of bringing to life a script describing how players have been misled and lied to in order to keep them sacrificing their bodies, minds and future to the greedy maw of a billion dollar. It should only require logic, humanity, decency, and bit of sacrifice.

In just the last several days, the casualty list of NFL stars found to have damaged their brains has lengthened significantly.

Former Oakland Raiders star quarterback Ken Stabler’s brain was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, the concussion-triggered brain disease. A day after that announcement, the late Colts star quarterback Earl Morrall’s brain was found to be similarly damaged.  Stories were published around the same time about former Minnesota Viking linebacker Fred McNeil, who died in November and was also suffering from CTE. He had become a lawyer after his playing days, but began losing his memory and ability to concentrate. He had violent mood swings, and by his mid 40s, had lost his career, his job, his family, and his home. Former NY Giants star and famous broadcaster Frank Gifford died last year: he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy too.

On September 8, former Giants safety Tyler Sash was found dead at age 27 of an accidental overdose of pain medications at his Iowa home.  The results of an autopsy announced at the end of January showed that Sash already had advanced CTE. So did the brain of a 25-year-old former college football player whose brain was discussed in a February article in “Neurology Today.” From the case study:

The case, reported in the January 4 online issue of JAMA Neurology, involved a young man whose cognitive, mood, and behavioral symptoms progressively worsened following a history of 10 concussions incurred while playing football from age 6 till his junior year in college.

The patient completed a neurocognitive battery of tests prior to his death (due to an unrelated cardiac infection) at age 25. Although those tests revealed multiple deficits, and his symptoms steadily worsened for three years after he stopped playing, a consensus panel of clinicians blinded to his pathology report was unable to reach a primary diagnosis of CTE.

“Although CTE was considered,” the report stated, “the lack of delay in symptom onset, his young age, and his family history of depression reasoned against CTE as the primary diagnosis. Consensus members thought that neuropsychological performance, while impaired, did not discriminate postconcussive syndrome or major depression from CTE.”

That pathology report, however, was conclusive for a diagnosis of CTE, based on mild ventricular dilation, hippocampal atrophy, and pathological lesions of hyperphosphorylated tau consisting of neurofibrillary tangles, neurites, and astrocytes around small blood vessels found at the sulcal depths of the frontal and temporal lobes.

It’s not just the NFL that is crippling young men. It’s college football too. Continue reading

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Ethics Quiz: The Anti-Washington Redskins Activist’s Bob Marley Costume

The Native American in the middle is dressed as a famous Jamaican. Would it have been offensive if he dressed as Sitting Bull?

The Native American in the middle is dressed as a famous Jamaican. Would it have been offensive if he dressed as Sitting Bull?

Terry Rambler, chief of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, has  been at the forefront of the effort to force The Washington Redskins, a privately owned NFL sports franchise, to change its name and logo of long-standing because both are allegedly racist. [ As I have made clear many times, the team’s name is not racist, as neither its origins nor current use suggest or imply racist intent, purpose or impact, and the team’s owner has a First Amendment right to call his team whatever he wants. The decades long political correctness stunt has gained more traction under the Obama administration, because the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats do not respect the Constitution or follow it when it gets in the way of its agenda. (See: drones, Obamacare, immigration, NSA domestic spying, harassment of reporters, IRS partisan activities, recess appointments, Libya bombing, selective prosecution,  putting government pressure on the Redskins to change its name, etc )

But I digress.

This year, Rambler’s Halloween costume was Jamaican musician Bob Marley, complete with dreadlocks, wig, and rasta beanie. He also wore appropriate make-up to look like Marley.

Here is what the chief looks like most days:

Terry

Here he is on Halloween as the Reggae icon…

Halloween Marley

The costume is making  Rambler the target of criticism from both sides of the controversy: Redskins defenders who view his make-up as “blackface” and thus hypocritical, and his own Team Political Correctness, which sees Rambler as engaging in the same kind of insensitive conduct they claim the Washington Redskins embody.

To make things worse for Rambler, there was another recent Bob Marley controversy in  Gaston County, (North Carolina), where a sheriff’s captain  apologized  for wearing dark make-up as part of her own Marley Halloween costume after her in-costume photo appeared online.

And thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was the Native American activist’s Bob Marley make-up unethical or hypocritical?

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Race, Rights

Why Don’t People Understand What’s Unethical About Nepotism?

Bing and family

I suppose it is part of the larger problem that people don’t understand what’s wrong with conflicts of interest, and thus fall into them too easily. At its core, nepotism always, always, creates a conflict of interest for the supervisor, boss or manager, or leaves a strong suspicion of one, which is just as bad, the epitome of “the appearance of impropriety.” Nepotism simultaneously destroys the organization’s members’ trust in leadership—Was he or she objective? Was love and loyalty to a child rather than merit and the best interests of the organization behind the decision? Were there objectively better candidates? Will this bias harm me? —and the hired, no matter how good or qualified the son or daughter may be. If the organization declines and heads have to roll, the suspicion will always be that favoritism protects the offspring. If the organization is successful, there will still be a widespread belief that Sonny Boy or Darling Daughter is whispering in the parents’ ear, a mole, on the side of the parent rather than subordinates. Nepotism almost always destroys any organization’s morale, trust, and cohesion.

Why is this so difficult? It is spectacularly obvious, and the only defenses that are ever offered are… Continue reading

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Did You Enjoy Your Pro Football Today? Here’s What You Were Cheering For…

brain_dissect08

From “Frontline”:

Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University have now identified the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players. The disease is widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia.

In total, the lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

Any other non-essential industry that carried this much risk of crippling injury and death for its employees would be immediately the object of public protests, activist action, new government regulation and major fines and sanctions. Because of all the money involved and because of an ongoing effort by the NFL to deflect attention from its unconscionable business (there was more uproar over Tom Brady’s suspension than there has been over the concussion scandal), players are still getting brain-injured every Sunday, Monday and Thursday while the crowds cheer, the beer flows and the networks cash in. Parents still steer their kids into playing tackle football, and the carnage continues.

Yes, pro football is an exciting game. Too bad that keeping it exciting kills people, but it does. The game isn’t worth it.

No game is.

I wonder how long it will take for that to sink in?

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Sports, Workplace

The Ethics Alarms New NFL Season Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ex-Football Fan Steve Almond

football-brain-injury-symptoms

“We know, on some level, that a good many of the players we cheer for each Sunday will be revealed as all too human when they wind up battling dementia. But… fans have a whole suitcase full of rationalizations intended to preserve our right to consume, and thus sponsor, this hyper-violent game. “The players know the risks!” we insist. “They get paid millions!” But ultimately, our most effective dodge resides in our willingness to view the game as one big movie.”

Steve Almond, author of “Against Football, in an essay today for the Washington Post titled “Hollywood’s version of the gridiron is just fantasy football
(It hypes violence for the sake of drama — then reassures us everything is okay)”

Perfect timing for this article, a reminder of what fans are really watching and cheering for during the pro football season, which began today.

No, I won’t be watching.

Her’s another chilling quote from Almond’s article: Continue reading

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Unethical Quote of the Month: NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter

You tell it like it is, Chris!

You tell it like it is, Chris!

“Y’all not all going to do the right stuff, I got to teach y’all how to get around all this stuff, too. If you going to have a crew, one of those fools got to know he’s going to jail. We’ll get him out. If you going to have a crew, make sure they understand can’t nothing happen to you. Your name can’t be in lights, under no circumstances…In case y’all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y’all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew.” 

—NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter, speaking to first year NFL players in a 2014 league-sponsored rookie symposium to help them “adapt to professional football.” His advice was then echoed by fellow Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

That the NFL’s retired role models and immortals were–Have been? Still are?—giving out such toxic and unethical “wisdom” under the league’s auspices went unnoticed until a recently retired player,the 49ers’ Chris Borland who quit after just one season because he feared brain damage, referenced Carter’s speech on ESPN. Not only did the NFL’s speakers instruct its rookies to make sure they have a designated “fall guy” if they decide to break the law, it had Carter’s speech on its website all this time.

Now it’s all about damage control, of course. ESPN, which currently employs this ethics-challenged “sportsman” as an analyst, said in a statement… Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Sports

De’Andre Johnson Ethics Quiz: Is It Ever Ethical For A Male Athlete To Punch A Woman?

Nineteen year-old De’Andre Johnson was kicked off the Florida State team after “The Tallahassee Democrat” obtained a video showing Johnson punching a young woman in the face in an altercation at a bar in June. He has also been charged with battery. Johnson’s lawyer says that woman was taunting him with racial epithets and hit him twice before he punched her.

Lawyer Jose Baez told NBC News that Johnson “tried to deescalate the situation” but the woman “kneed him in the groin area” and “took another swing before he retaliated.”  “It wasn’t until she struck him twice that he reacted,” Baez said. “But he is very regretful that he didn’t turn around and walk away immediately.” Baez added, however that his client “makes no excuses for what happened.”

The video above does not seem to support Johnson’s defense, but never mind.  After the Ray Rice episode, no football player who lays a hand on a woman in anger will be able to avoid severe punishment. All athletes, and football players particularly, are on notice that as far as hitting women goes, it is strict liability unless the men’s lives are in danger, and maybe not even then.

But hypothetically, I’m curious. Racial epithets are fighting words. If a black athlete punched a white man, even a much smaller white man, after racial abuse and a knee to the groin, there would probably be no charges filed, and not much criticism either. How different, if different at all, should the ethical judgement be if the individual engaging in the abuse is a woman? What if she shows no signs of stopping unless she is physically stopped? What if she looks like this…

Gina Davis

 

Or. say, THIS…

Katka2

Or even this…

hope-solo

Hope is over six feet tall, you’ll recall and is rumored to have a penchant for striking people off the athletic field.

Thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Is it always unethical for  any male athlete to punch any woman in a situation not involving the male’s mortal peril?

ADDENDUM…lest we forget: what if the woman is this former Olympic medal winner…

caitlyn-jenner

?

 

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Filed under Character, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Race, Sports