There’s not a lot one can say about this astounding story or that needs to be said, but it still must be told because the head-exploding incident demonstrates just how completely ethically inert some alleged adults in authority can be. From there we must consider how our culture is failing if anyone could be raised in it for 22 years and do what Arlisha Boykins did.
That’s her above, taking a free throw in a basketball game. That game was being played by the Churchland High JV team, on which the players were 13-to 15-year-old girls. Arlisha was the assistant coach of that team—as I noted, she’s 22-years old—and when one of her team’s players who is 13 had to miss a game, Boykins masqueraded as her, wearing the player’s uniform and taking her place on the court for a January 21 contest.
Some of the accounts say that Boykins was trying to re-live old triumphs, but nobody knows yet what she was thinking. She’s been fired. The junior varsity head coach and the varsity head coach were both fired too. Good…good…good. Both of the other coaches knew about Boykins’ imposter act—the JV coach because she was coaching the game in which her assistant played under a false name, and the varsity coach, who apparently “encouraged the behavior” of Boykins.
There’s more carnage: in the wake of the weird scandal, the Churchland team has decided not to play the remainder of their season. (The team should have been banned from competition after that anyway.) The girl Boykins impersonated, who was not aware of the coach’s actions, is transferring to another school.
Let’s see: the egregious ethical breaches Arlisha Boykins committed included,
- Taking another individual’s identity without her knowledge or consent.
- Taking the identity of someone who was under her supervision and who trusted her.
- Deceiving the other team and the spectators.
- Making the students and children she was supposed to teach and inculcate with ethical values like good sportsmanship and honesty accomplices in her dishonest scheme.
- Abusing her position as a role model.
- Embarrassing and disgracing the team and the school.
- Putting her own desires above the interests of everyone, including al the members of both teams and every employee, student, and parent of a student in her school.
I’m sure I missed some, but that’s quite a night’s work. If she isn’t a stone cold sociopath, Arlisha imitates one as well as she imitates 13-year-old basketball players.
The school says it is investigating: I hope its investigation includes how its athletic program recruited not one but three unethical assholes and allowed them to pollute the values of the young people under their influence. (That the players’ values have been polluted is indicated by the fact that none of the team members refused to participate in the corrupted game, or blew the metaphorical whistle on the coaches until after tha game was over.)
What are the chances that the rest of the school’s administration, faculty and the culture of Churchland High is ethically solid, and the three fired coaches were just anomalies, as in ” bad apples”?
I’d say, “Not great.”
11 thoughts on “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring Because They Were Installed Upside-Down And Backwards…”
The odds are that it did not recruit “three unethical assholes”, because ‘just anomalies, as in ” bad apples”’ is a thorough misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the principle, though one that appears to be prevalent in the U.S.A. today for some reason.
No, it is far more likely that, at some point in the past, one bad apple somehow got in undetected and gave rise to the real principle working its way through: it spoiled the rest. The principle that the saying tells us is not that isolated cases can be dismissed as immaterial, but that they cannot. It is entirely possible that the perpetrator this time wasn’t even the original bad apple but was someone who that one spoiled, perhaps via a chain of yet others. It’s even plausible that she wasn’t the original but someone who had herself been damaged, given her lack of awareness that there could be a problem, what with doing it all in plain sight.
Ms. Boykins was obviously attempting to exert her height privilege.
Seriously…wow! This is spooky. Each Tuesday, we have a Bible study with another family: very close friends with a 10-year-old child. In the course of last night’s discussion, the child asked a question that seems perfectly in line with this piece. His conundrum (to his parents): “What should I do if you ask me to do something that I know is wrong? Because if I disobey you, I’m wrong in God’s eyes for disobedience. If I obey, I’m wrong in God’s eyes for the doing the wrong thing you told me to do. It’s a lose-lose!”
His mother chimed in with the correct response, which (obviously) was that obeying God’s laws and His rules takes priority over obeying parents. She quickly added that they, as parents, should still be obeyed, because they would never knowingly put him in a position like that…but if they did, he should tell them. Great answer.
And this morning, I read about this basketball game. There is a coach that asked her players to do something that was clearly wrong. And not a single player appears to have tried to stop it. The blame lies with the coaches for sure, but it doesn’t stop there. It seems that none of those teens had parents who instilled in them either 1) the ability to recognize the difference between right and wrong, or 2) the courage to stand up and refuse to participate.
This story will be topic #1 at next week’s study, because a 10-year-old boy – who last night also revealed an interest in playing basketball – needs to be strong enough to make moral and ethical choices in a society that will beat him down for doing it.
Thanks so much for posting this!
Thank you for this comment. It is always encouraging to hear about parents teaching their children ethical conduct from a Christian perspective. Would that there were many more parents like this!
Jack, I’m cursed! I tried to post a response to this piece, but WordPress rejected both attempts. If you could rescue one of them, that would be awesome.
Thanks very much in advance.
Wait. Impersonating someone without their consent is wrong? Huh. Who knew?
I wonder, though: Would the analysis change of the 13 year old agreed? Yep. No problems because the coach was just doing her team a solid so the team didn’t have to forfeit the game. I mean, it’s just good fu . . . oh, forget it. I can’t even keep this up with a straight face.
Yeah, I suspect the entire school is corrupt. Fish rots from the head and all.
Hilarious. Sounds like a teen movie plot.
I think it would take an exceptional 13 year old to blow the whistle on this masquerade.
I agree – I will bet they were mystified by it and were too confused to say or do anything about it. I wonder if the other 13 year olds even thought about the ramifications of their assistant coach donning the missing student’s jersey, masquerading as the missing player, and taking to the floor in the game. That is the problem, ¿no? The coaches thought nothing of an adult competing as a 13 year old in a junior high basketball game, probably thinking that a loss was better than a forfeiture and that no one would be wiser. I mean, it’s only one player, right? These adults abused their authority and supposed positions of respect on the team. Every last one of them should have been fired without the proverbial investigation.
Hey, at least it wasn’t a male assistant coach pretending to be a 13-year-old girl in the game… I mean, that will happen for sure, but at least we aren’t there yet.
Yeah, but that 13-year old black girl was a 46-year-old Asian man. Things are complicated now.