Ethics Quiz: Should A High School Football Team Be Punished For THINKING About Being Unethical?

Beware of unethical thoughts!!

Talk about strict!

Officials at Omaha, Nebraska’s Creighton Prep were horrified to learn learned that about fifty members of the school’s football team had planned an ethically offensive scavenger hunt that included “a group photo with a topless chick,” “a pic with a fat chick,” “steal a yarmulke from a Jewish synagogue” and “get into a yelling fight with a stranger in public,”along with more harmless challenges.

In fact, the players, divided into groups, lost their nerve. Administrators learned that the players vetoed the most objectionable activities in favor of those that were harmless and silly.

“I’m disappointed in their plan because their plan is inconsistent with the mission of their school,” said Rev. Thomas Merkel, president of the all-boys Catholic school. “I’m proud of the fact that they didn’t follow through on their plan.” Not too proud, though:  the students involved received in-school suspensions and were barred from extracurricular activities, including football practice. None of the students were expelled.

The hunt came to the school’s attention when one of the scavenger teams lost its list, which was subsequently found by a student who turned it in to the brass. The administrators determined that the plan “promoted hazing, exploitation of women, theft and other conduct unbecoming of a Creighton Prep student.”
None of which, apparently, the students actually did.

Your Ethics Quiz Question: Is it fair and appropriate to punish the football team members for including offensive tasks on the list, even if none of them were actually performed?

I know this is a Catholic prep school, but come on: the boys made the right decision, didn’t they? It seems to me that they are being punished for having unfulfilled unethical thoughts, despite the fact that they ultimately rejected them. Was making out a list including unethical acts unethical? Was it unethical to consider doing any of them?

Nonsense. It would have been unethical to do them, which they did not. The school administrators should pat themselves on the back for properly installing their charges’ ethics alarms, and shake each of the boys’ hands for coming to the right decision.

Punishing the boys is unethical; what the boys did was not.

10 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Should A High School Football Team Be Punished For THINKING About Being Unethical?

  1. Hey, I’ve been disagreeing with you quite a lot lately. So this time I’ll say: I agree. Talking to the players to access where they’re at might make sense, but punishing them for (eventually) coming to the right decision is actually counter-productive.

  2. Youre not Catholic are you? If you were you would understand that just the thought of commiting these acts is seen as wrong by the Catholic Church. Its called a sin of intention. George Carlin covers it perfectly in an old routine.
    “You could wake up one morning and say to yourself, ‘I think I’m going to go down to 27th street today and commit myself a mortal sin!’ Save the bus-fare, man! You did it!”

    George Carlin

    • Except that schools can’t ethically punish thought. Let the boys say 22 Hail Marys and whatever other magic chants they require—there’s no justification for punishing teenage boys for “impure thoughts.” Show me a teenage boy with no impure thoughts, and I’ll show you a dead kid.

  3. A number of the “tasks” were performed. In fact, a woman called a local TV station to report that they’d taken her picture to check off the “picture of a fat chick” task. There are reports of a number of additional offensive tasks being performed by the C.P. Students. Makes one wonder where the spokesperson got his “no tasks were actually performed” information. Are the Students or Administrators now lying to cover-up? If its the Students, they sure haven’t learned “their lesson”. If the Administrators…what kind of education are they getting at that school?

    • You’ll have to give me an example of a task that actually would justify punishment. Taking a picture with a fat girl obviously doesn’t qualify. What is the offense in taking a picture with a fat girl, if the fat girl isn’t mocked or harmed in any way? Is it because she is described as “fat”? Is it a violation of the school’s rules to describe fat people? Is the word “fat” banned? Is it presumed that taking a picture of a fat girl is somehow demeaning, but taking a picture of a “nice girl,” “short girl”, “athletic girl,” “busty girl,” “sexy girl,” hot girls” isn’t? Or is? What’s the offense?

      • Like I said. You must not be Catholic. The Catholic Church has never needed a reason to punish you. They have always held their followers to a weird standard.

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