Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/9/17: The AP Invents A New Misleading Phrase, Deaf Signer Ethics, No Innocent Until Proven Guilty In The NFL, And More…

GOOD MORNING!

1 This is the monthly brief warm-up, as I have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at an obscenely early hour and teach the peculiarities of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct to about 300 lawyers newly admitted to the bar. And those rules are peculiar, notably Rule 5.4, which allows District lawyers to form multidisciplinary firms, with accountants, economists, professional marketers and other non-legal professionals as partners. Such firms mirror entities in Europe that take international business away from U.S. firms, but are regarded as unethical in every other U.S. jurisdiction, and condemned by the American Bar Association.

2. Yesterday I watched Florida Governor Rick Scott give his pre-hurricane warnings, or tried to, since standing next to him was a signer for the deaf, gesticulating and making more elaborate faces than the late Robin Williams in the throes of a fit. I have mentioned this in the context of theatrical performances: as a small minority, the deaf should not be enabled by political correctness to undermine the best interests of the majority. What Scott was saying was important, and could have been adequately communicated to the deaf citizens present by the signer standing off camera. TV viewers could and should have been able to watch a text crawl following Scott’s speech, or closed captioning. Public speaking involves verbal and visual communications, and having a vivid distraction like a professional signer—many of whom feel it is their duty to add broad facial expressions to their translations—is unfair to both the speaker and his or her audience. This is one more example of a sympathetic minority bullying the majority to establish its power.

3. Ezekial Elliott is a major NFL star, and the league has an interests in not having its major stars cheered while it appears that they beat up women. (The NFL’s problem with domestic abuse is long and damning, going back to fabled running back (and later movie star) Jim Brown, who was a habitual offender. But federal judge Amos Mazzant granted a request by the NFL Players Association yesterday for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of the six-game suspension of the Dallas Cowboys running back.  The NFL should be able to discipline its player, but when the discipline involves losing millions of dollars, fairness and due process becomes an issue. In Elliott’s case, prosecutors decided that they couldn’t indict him, because the evidence wasn’t strong enough to make a conviction of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt likely. Should that decision limit the ability of the NFL to keep likely abusers off the field? (How many are aware that the most famous sports exile of all, the 1919 “Black Sox” star Shoeless Joe  Jackson, occurred after a jury acquitted him of throwing the World Series?) Good question. I would say no, as employers have to protect their business and have a right to do so, but there is no doubt that the potential for injustice is strong.

The comparison is being made now with Tom Brady’s suspension for cheating after various investigations and court challenges found the evidence against him was less than definitive. Cheating that affects what occurs on the field is more serious in the context of a professional sport than off-field misconduct, however, even when the off-field misconduct is criminal in nature. There is another troubling comparison as well: how does this situation match up to the investigation and punishment of alleged sexual assault by students on college campuses?

More on this soon…

4. The Associated Press called illegal immigrants “Undocumented citizens” yesterday. As many are pointing out, such terminology is Orwellian. Whatever illegal immigrants are, they are not citizens. Here’s the smoking gun:

We cannot trust the news media. It actively seeks to deceive us for its own political ends.

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/9/17: The AP Invents A New Misleading Phrase, Deaf Signer Ethics, No Innocent Until Proven Guilty In The NFL, And More…

  1. Rick M.

    Liberals are now progressives and used cars are now pre-owned. Let’s build a list! Undocumented citizens is a nice start.

  2. I was assuming that the AP story was sloppy writing, with the language cribbed from the Sun-Times, but the Sun-Times story that seems to be the source used “undocumented immigrants.”

    The AP has issued a clarification and correction, stating, “The Associated Press incorrectly described the students who could be affected. They are living in the country illegally, not undocumented citizens.”

    https://www.apnews.com/14392ccadac64851a2c23bcbaeea4c39/Mayor:-Chicago-students-welcome-as-Trump-ending-DACA-program

    • I just want to add that change from “The Chicago Sun-Times reports that school officials say about a third of the school’s students are undocumented citizens” to “The Chicago Sun-Times reports that school officials say about a third of the school’s students are living in the country illegally” is striking, because it becomes unavoidably clear that Rahm Emanuel is taking educational resources away from the 2/3 of students who are there by right.

  3. valkygrrl

    2) You really didn’t like Deaf West’s staging of Spring Awakening did you?

  4. Wayne

    If I read this correctly, school officials at Solorio Academy High School used the term “Undocumented Citizens” not AP. Perhaps the term could be better used to describe a foreign or US national who somehow lost his passport or visa and was found by INS trying to get into them US without one. Obviously that wasn’t the intent of school officials at Solorlo Academy High School unfortunately.

  5. dragin_dragon

    Zeke Elliot’s situation does not “match up to the investigation and punishment of alleged sexual assault by students on college campuses?” at all, since the NFL is a not-for-profit regulating a group of for-profits, to one of which Elliot is contractually bound. Most colleges and universities see themselves as mini-governments, separate from and independent of the larger jurisdictions in which they find themselves. They have their own police departments, presumably with at least a few commissioned police officers on it, and firmly believe that a committee of academics from many fields are qualified to investigate crimes against the state.

    I assume that Elliot’s contract, like Brady’s, contains a clause that, in English, states that the NFL can discipline him for any reason or no reason, which, in exchange for multiple millions of dollars, he willingly signed. No college student signs such a document, thus they are NOT agreeing to be extra-legally punished for non-existent crimes without due process, by kangaroo courts, by-passing the ACTUAL legal establishment.

    My guess is that Elliot’s case will go along much like Brady’s, eventually being decided by SCOTUS and that he will eventually be forced to serve the 6 game suspension. Jones will back him, and God knows he has the money.

  6. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    “Undocumented citizens.” That really is Orwellian, and should scare the crap out of all of us. Also, the numbers are astonishing: they admit that 1/3 of Chicago school students are illegal immigrants? And your economist from the NYT says this is good for the economy? What possesses the mayor of any city to expend money on that number of illegals whose families presumably make no contribution whatsoever to the city’s budget?

    And if this economic impact is of no importance to Chicagoans, they sure can’t complain when the Federal dollars stop rolling in.

    I really think people are losing their minds,,,

  7. The NFL should be able to discipline its player, but when the discipline involves losing millions of dollars, fairness and due process becomes an issue.

    Only if specified in the terms of the contract, or if this is a result of some policy.

    I would agree it would be unethical for the NFL to suspend, let alone fire, players on the basis of mere rumors of domestic violence. But no constitutional rights are implicated merely because the state or Congress refused to do such a thing.

    But if the state or Congress had conditioned the receipt of so much as one penny of public funds on the adoption of such a policy, the Constitution’s due process guarantees are implicated.

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