Tag Archives: football

The Washington Post Editorial Board Demonstrates How Stupid Decisions Have Unprofessional Consequences

"As you can see, the logo and mascot are completely offensive. Well, you can see, but to let you see, you'd have to see it, and we won't take responsibility for letting you see it, because you shouldn't. Trust us."

“As you can see, the logo and mascot are completely offensive. Well, you can see, but to let you see, you’d have to see it, and we won’t take responsibility for letting you see it, because you shouldn’t. Trust us.”

Last August, the showboating Washington Post editors announced that they would no longer use the name of the city’s NFL team when writing about the city’s NFL team. It’s offensive you know. Well, to some. Well, to a theoretical some, those who want to make an ideological and philosophical point while forcing political correctness down the throats for the vast, vast majority of sports fans to whom “Washington Redskins” is the name of a well-loved (if lousy) football team, and nothing more or less, and no statement negative or positive about Native Americans at all.

In this the board is emulating the school that wouldn’t let a little deaf boy sign his own name, “Hunter,’ because the sign language designation was a hand-and-fingers approximation of a pistol, and pistols are offensive to even more people than politically incorrect team names are. This is really, really crazy stuff, even more for a newspaper than a school, in which it was just cruel. Newspapers are supposed to convey information clearly and unambiguously. Making symbolic stands requiring the self-censorship of words is a breach of professional duty and trust. The editors’ duty is to their readers, not to a theoretical Native American who reads a the footballs scores and has the vapors when he reads “Redskins.” (I still doubt that there are such people.)

Over the weekend the Post produced an embarrassing editorial that fulfilled all my dire predictions about the new policy: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Sports

Ethics Hero: San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland,

concussions NFL

It is indeed strange to call someone an ethics hero for taking reasonable steps to save his own life. In the case of Chris Borland, however, it is appropriate.

Borland, one of the NFL’s top rookies in 2014, announced that he is retiring after just one season he does not want to risk the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.

Borland, 24, said  he made his decision after consulting with  concussion researchers, and current and former teammates, as well as researching  the relationship between football and neurodegenerative disease.

“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland told ESPN.  “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.” Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Hero, Ethics Heroes, Health and Medicine, Sports

Some Final, Hard Words Before Kick-off

cteliving

I made this comment to the main post on the Super Bowl, and decided that the point is important enough to elaborate on a bit and post here.

I’ve  become depressed talking to people on Facebook and elsewhere about the post. They don’t even pretend to have a real argument. Some fall back on the same rationalizations I explored in the post: one guy on Facebook’s rejoinder consisted of writing, “why worry about this when Congress and the White House are full of liars.” And people “liked” that response, which makes no sense at all.  The rest of the determined Super Bowl fans say, “Yeah, you’re right, but I like football and don’t want to think about it.”  That just is not a rational, ethical response to learning that your support is perpetuating a corrupt system that is exploiting and hurting people. It isn’t.

The NFL is not on the same scale of evil as slavery (yeah, I know, but we need the slaves to keep our lifestyle, so I don’t want to think about it) or the Holocaust (Yeah, but I don’t know any Jews, and the country’s doing well, so I don’t want to think about it) or a daughter-molesting husband (Yeah, but he’s a good provider, and I love him, so I don’t want to think about it). Sure, this is a game, but the process of self-delusion, corruption and passive acceptance of evil is exactly the same. Tell me how it isn’t.

And you know, it takes a lot less sacrifice to stop making it profitable for the NFL to lie and pay young men unto dementia and suicide than it did to reject slavery in the South, or Nazism in Germany, or even for an abused wife to report her husband for raping their daughter…because it is just a game. You can live a very happy life, a full life, a fun life, without the NFL being part of it. It’s corrupting American society and you. Don’t you they see that?

I guess slavery and the Holocaust didn’t have cool commercials, so that’s something…

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Filed under Character, Family, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, History, Race

Watching The Super Bowl Is Unethical. You Know That, Right?

Super2015

I was going to call this post “Ten Reasons Why Watching The Super Bowl Is Unethical,” then “TOP Ten Reasons Why Watching The Super Bowl Is Unethical.” Ethical people should only need one good reason though, and while you can rationalize it away to slave your conscience and to avoid having to renege on that RSVP to tomorrow’s Super Bowl party, it is there, undeniable, and ugly.

So you don’t even have to argue that the fact that the most successful NFL team for more than a decade is also the one repeatedly caught cheating is irrelevant because “everybody does it,” or that the large number of felons, thugs and spouse abusers the teams employ (one ex-player—why, a Patriots’ ex player, in fact!—just went on trial for murder) doesn’t matter because the players aren’t really role models, or that the fact that the NFL corrupts and warps our universities by turning them into football’s minor leagues is overstated because such scandals as the University of North Carolina conspiring to let athletes take imaginary courses aren’t really the NFL’s fault. All you have to do is accept the fact that when you support the NFL, it’s TV ratings and the companies that profit from them, you are not merely killing people, you are cheering while you do it.

Disgusting.

What the hell’s the matter with you?

Yesterday I rewatched the 2013 PBS Frontline documentary, “League of Denial.” (That’s the link to the video; the transcript is here.) It was more horrifying the second time, especially in view of how the NFL has managed to stonewall, tap-dance and delay its way through another season without seriously admitting the extent of its head injury problem. One could even argue that the Ray Rice fiasco and other scandals helped the NFL by deflecting attention away from its biggest ethical deficit. Today, CNN, which is duly promoting the Super Bowl all weekend, reported on Roger Goodell’s “state of the NFL” press conference. It didn’t mention the concussion issue at all, just spousal abuse. It’s working, Roger!

As thoroughly and irrefutable shown by the documentary and the book it was based on, football causes dementia and death. The earlier you start playing it, the worse the effects are. The NFL has systematically waged a public relations war of denial and deception, taking carefully calculated half-measures that will not address the problem, relying on America’s love of the game to allow the industry to continue making billions by paying young men to maim themselves. In hearings before Congress, U.S. representatives compared the NFL to cigarette manufacturers denying that cigarettes were addictive and that they caused health problems. The comparison is fair, but once the truth was known about tobacco, the non-smoking public quickly realized that it shouldn’t be cheering lung cancer on. Cigarette ads on TV were banned; programs that children watched were pressured to avoid showing characters smoking. But then, nobody gets a visceral rush watching human beings slowly kill themselves by puffing away: is that the difference? As long as you get a kick out of the process of athletes turning themselves into future drug addicts, depressives, neglectful fathers, abusive husbands, drooling imbeciles and suicides, it’s okay to keep watching and cheering?

Keep telling yourself that. It’s intellectually lazy and ethical abdication, and that’s all it is. Watching the Super Bowl can’t be wrong because so many people do it, right? You know, since you’re here, what’s the matter with that argument.

You can also try the argument that the players are accepting the risk, so it’s OK for you to encourage them, in fact help pay them to liquify their brains for your amusement. That would be employing three more rationalizations on the Ethics Alarms Hit Parade: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Train Wrecks, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Sports, U.S. Society

And Now, How A RIGHT Wing “Watchdog” Views The World…

PRinc_rm_photo_of_jaundiced_eye

In commenting on today’s early post about Mediaite inexplicably neglecting to mention that the “ethics watchdog”now accusing Rep. Louis Gohmert of skimming off his campaign funds is in fact part of the Media Matters left-wing hit squad, commenter Steve-O-in-NJ observed…

“As has been pointed out many, many times on this site both by yourself and others, most Americans have some shade of partisan goggles on that makes it harder to see ethical violations by those they are sympathetic to and easier to see them by those they are not. It doesn’t help that there are any number of partisan dyes (racism, sexism, patriotism) we can release to further cloud the waters we swim in with these goggles on. Eventually there’s so much dye in the water and the lenses become so tinted that everyone forgets what clear water actually looks like.”

Truer words were never uttered. To prove Steve’s point from the other side of the political spectrum, I present Newsbusters, which holds a higher level of esteem from me than CREW by being transparent about its skewed perspective: the site, part of arch conservative Brent Bozell’s empire, acknowledges that it exists to show liberal bias in the news media, and Lord knows, there is plenty to show. Unfortunately, Newsbusters is addicted to the same silly routine its counterpart Media Matters employs, the “X spent this much time on this story but only this much time on this story that exposes the rank incompetence and corruption of a politician/program/party we hate” bit. The complaint has legitimacy when the news media is deliberately burying an important development and hiding facts from the public, as the mainstream media has done with the IRS scandal and attempted to do with Jonathan Gruber’s revelations, or as Fox did with results of the Congressional investigation of Benghazi. More often, however, the real complaint is “Why don’t the biased news sources adopt our biases instead of their biases?”

Today brings a classic example on Newsbusters: Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Ethics Alarms Awards Update: Let Us Not Forget “The Most Unethical University Of 2014,” and The Most Unethical Ethicist Who Helped Make It That Way

The unethical ethicist.

The unethical ethicist.

I finally completed the 6th Annual Ethics Alarms Awards for the Worst of Ethics yesterday, longer and more nauseating than its five predecessors, and also, as I realized when I awoke with a jolt at dawn this morning, more incomplete.

Somehow, I managed to omit two important and prominent awards that were in my notes but managed to elude me when I was preparing the final version. Here they are: I’ll be adding both to the official awards posts today:

Most Unethical University and Worst Academic Scandal of the Year:

The University of North Carolina and its incredible fake courses scheme that for 18 years between 1993 and 2011 allowed more than 3,100 students, 47.6 percent of them athletes, to enrolled in and receive credit for  classes that did not exist.

Least Ethical Ethicist

Prof. Jeanette M. Boxill, a philosophy professor and senior lecturer on ethics  who ran the University of North Carolina’s Parr Center for Ethics, and who somehow decided it was ethical to steer U.N.C.  into fake classes to help them maintain their eligibility with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and actively worked to cover up the scam. Among other aspect of her participation, Boxill  helped players write papers, which the official university report on the conspiracy characterized as stepping across the line of permissible conduct.

Ya think??

The Chronicle of Education article about Boxill’s participation suggests that she rationalized helping the athletes graduate as “the ethics of care,” and a colleague says that she may have “often let her heart guide her.” Her heart guided her to allow students to acquire a degree that misrepresented their academic work to the world, and to perpetuate and further corrupt the already corrupt system of college athletics? Wow. For an ethics professor, she had a remarkably ignorant and unethical heart. She has,blessedly, been fired, and is appealing the decision.

I wonder on what grounds? I don’t think even The Saint’s Excuse (Rationalization #13 on the Ethics Alarms List) applies to her conduct.

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Filed under Character, Education, Sports

The U.N.C. Scandal Accountability: No Punishment, Just “It’s OK…Just Don’t Do It Again”

Oh…and don’t get caught next time.

"BAD University! BAD! OK, that's over---keep on doing your lazy, sloppy job for obscene tuition fees...."

“BAD University! BAD! OK, that’s over—keep on doing your lazy, sloppy job for obscene tuition fees….”

Has the NCAA taken serious action against the University of North Carolina for 18 years of outrageous academic fraud? No.The organization placed the school’s football program on three years’ probation and banned it from the 2012 postseason, but that punishment was for other infractions too. Indeed, it is likely that the revelations about the fake courses credited to athletes and others resulted in no athletic sanctions at all. The NCAA’s position is that this is an academic rather than an athletic scandal. Funny, I seem to recall Penn State getting walloped with massive sanctions from the NCAA because it allowed an ex-assistant football coach to continue molesting little boys. That was a sick organizational culture scandal, and had nothing to do with the players on the field at all.

What would be a proper punishment for 18 years of allowing student athletes to play basketball and football while taking fake courses? I would say the forfeiting of  every game played in by one of those fake students, and 18 years of being banned from inter-collegiate competition. Perhaps then what laughingly calls itself an institution of higher learning might begin to take steps to ensure that its diploma is worth the paper it’s printed on. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Sports