Category Archives: Sports

Ethics Dunce: Liberty University

That's McCaw on the left, Starr on the right, with the Baylor women's basketball team.

That’s McCaw on the left, Starr on the right, with the Baylor women’s basketball team.

Football is a sport, but in American culture its primary impact is as an ethics corrupter. The latest revolting example of this is occurring at Lynchburg, Virginia’s Liberty University, a prominent Christian fundamentalist institution founded by Jerry Falwell, the late TV evangelist and Religious Right icon. The school  is supposedly dedicated to imbuing its students with moral values, but if it comes to choosing between the Ten Commandments and pigskin glory, guess what comes out on top?

Last week, with great fanfare, Liberty hired Ian McCaw as its new athletic director. “My vision for Liberty is to position it as a pre-eminent Christian athletic program in America,” McCaw said during a news conference.

This is his first paying assignment since May, when he left his job as the athletic director at Baylor, also a Christian university. His departure was made essential after a thorough investigation that found that those overseeing Baylor’s  football team as well as the management of  the athletic department—that is, McCaw— had been informed of multiple gang rapes and sexual assault by team members and had ignored it, as any good football-loving Christian would….especially when a star was involved.

Baylor’s summary of its confidential investigation, overseen by the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, found that athletic program administrators and football coaches learned of accusations of gang and date rape over many years and did not report them or take appropriate action. This, the report found, “reinforces the perception that rules applicable to other students are not applicable to football players.”

Ethics Alarms calls this “The King’s Pass,” or “The Star Syndrome.” It is antithetical to moral and ethical principles, and, in theory, religion.

The report concluded that the “the choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University.” Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, Sports

Ethics Quiz: The Harvard Soccer Team’s “Locker Room Talk”

harvard-soccer-team

A week ago I wrote about Donald Trump’s rebound at the polls, and noted, among the factors, this…

B. This just in, from  The Harvard Crimson: Female soccer recruits at Harvard were rated for their attractiveness by their male counterparts – and a sleazy document speculated on their favorite sexual positions. A ‘scouting report’ from 2012, has emerged, containing sexually explicit comments about women, alongside photographs of them. One soccer recruit was described as looking “like the kind of girl who likes to dominate, and likes to be dominated.” The nine-page document assigned each woman a hypothetical sexual position. This document was shared between members of the Harvard 2012 men’s soccer team, and scouting report appears to be a yearly tradition.

Wait…how can this be? When Donald Trump tried to explain away his vulgar conversation with Billy Bush as “locker room talk,” the news media sprinted to prove this was just another lie. Why, athletes in all-male settings never denigrate women or objectify them among team mates! Absolutely not!

Now we learn that Harvard has cancelled the men’s soccer season as punishment for “the widespread practice of the team’s players rating the school’s female players in sexually explicit terms,” reports the New York Times.

The university commenced an  investigation the men’s team after The Harvard Crimson reported last week, in the piece that prompted the Ethics Alarms note, that a player created a nine-page document in 2012 with numeric ratings, photos and lengthy evaluations of the freshman recruits of the Harvard women’s team based on their physical appearance. Apparently the practice had become a tradition.This was the response from the women’s team:

“Locker room talk” is not an excuse because this is not limited to athletic teams. The whole world is the locker room…. We are hopeful that the release of this report will lead to productive conversation and action on Harvard’s campus, within collegiate athletic teams across the country, and into the locker room that is our world….”

Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, language, Sports, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunce: Mediaite

feldman

Mediaite is a frequent source here. The news and opinion website actively strives for balance by maintaining a stable of ideologically diverse reporters. It also received a big boost in credibility recently by finally dumping the embarrassing Tommie Christopher, whose left-wing bias was so extreme that it bordered on parody.

However, the site grossly abandoned ethics and accountability this time.

Yesterday I cited a Mediaite story about how Twitter dolts thought they saw a KKK sign in the stands during the World Series, a mistake caused by a bad hybrid of race-obsessed derangement and utter ignorance of the National pastime. What I did not know, because Mediaite was engaged in a cover-up, was that reporter Josh Feldman had filed the original post in which HE accused Cleveland fans of promoting the Klan. As you can see above, the original Mediaite story was not about Twitter morons mistaking the cards representing three strikeouts for Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, but a “scoop” by an ignorant and irresponsible reporter who made that mistake.

After Feldman was quickly schooled  on Twitter, Mediaite cleaned up the embarrassing story, removed Feldman’s byline, and turned it into a “Boy are some people stupid!” post. Feldman restricted his apology to Twitter, writing, “Apologies for the fuckup. Need to do more reading up on sportsing things.”

No, need to show some responsibility on reportsing things, Josh. Mediaite’s handling of this botch was unethical, and seriously implicates their trustworthiness. In the revamped post, a note was added saying,

UPDATE- This post has been updated to reflect the fact that it was NOT a KKK sign, it was signifying the number of strikeouts,”

Yes, and it was also updated to remove the name of the guilty reporter. Josh Feldman should been named as the one responsible, he should have apologized to Mediaite readers , not Twitter followers, for false reporting, and Mediaite had an obligation to apologize as well for its poor oversight. Instead, the site chose to cover for its reporter.Ethics Verdict: No transparency, no accountability, and an effort to deceive readers rather than admit to incompetent and careless reporting.

How can anyone trust a website that would do that?

___________________________

Pointer and Facts: Daily Caller

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

World Series Ethics: No, You Morons, That Wasn’t A “KKK Sign”!

kkk-world-series

The divided, confused, betrayed American public owes a debt of gratitude to the National Pastime this morning, and not for the first time. The stirring World Series win by the Chicago Cubs in Cleveland, and the joyous celebration afterwards, is exactly what this besieged and angry republic needed.

Well, that and a competent and respectable Presidential candidate to vote for, but you can’t have everything.

On social media, however, one was reminded why we have such miserable options to lead the country: ignoramuses. For during the game, multiple social justice warriors, doubtless confused because no players protested the National Anthem during the game, took to Twitter to exclaim that there was a Klu Klux Klan sign at the World Series!

Morons.

Some thoughts: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Race, Social Media, Sports

Ethics And Sports: Maybe It’s Confirmation Bias, But The TV Ratings Give Me Hope

And these days, when the goal is a more ethical society, I’ll take hope anywhere I can find it.

The big story in the NFL right now is that for the first time ever, its TV ratings are dropping. Through the first seven weeks of the season, ratings were down for every prime-time NFL show: “Sunday Night Football” by 19 percent, “Monday Night Football” by 24 percent and the Thursday night game by 18 percent. For the season as whole, ratings are off in regional games too. The NFL is doing what it always does with bad news: obfuscating and lying. It has blamed the drop on the Presidential race, as if anyone wouldn’t do anything to escape that, and the generational abandonment of network TV and even cable for the internet. Various polling results, however, show that a big factor is the league’s increasingly obvious lack of values.

The concussion issue-–finally—is hurting interest in football, especially as parents try to steer their children toward less risky sports. A recent study that researchers took pains to insist was only troubling, not conclusive, found brain chemistry changes in children who had played one season of junior football. I don’t know about anyone else, but if there is any evidence that a sport might reduce my kid to a brain-damaged invalid by the time he’s 60, that’s plenty for me to limit his recreation choices. The public is also finally reacting to the NFL’s evident cover-up of its responsibility for ex-players who have perished as a consequence of CTE, a brain disease caused by repeated head trauma. I wish this was the main reason that fans are turning off pro-football games, but at least it’s a factor. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Popular Culture, Sports

Halloween Ethics Meets Campus Ethics Meets The First Amendment, And Stupidly, Too

costume-lunching

I didn’t want to write about this, as I am having to defend too many jerks of late,but multiple readers have flagged it, and besides, there hasn’t been a good Halloween costume controversy this year. This one isn’t good, but it will have to do.

During the University of Wisconsin football home game against Nebraska, one fan in faux prison garb wore a mask of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over his face, and a mask of Obama on the back of his head, as another person wearing a mask of Republican nominee Donald Trump held the end of a noose that was looped around the Hillary/Obama individual’s neck.

Key points:

1. It was Halloween weekend. Costumes were not out of place.

2. It was a two person costume, and an incoherent one that would support multiple interpretations. Was it an attack on Trump, accusing him of being racist or wanting to harm Hillary? Was it an endorsement of Trump, arguing that Hillary should be punished? Was it intended to evoke lynching imagery? Was it saying that Hillary was the equivalent of Obama? A sign worn by Hillary/Obama, which nobody who wasn’t close up could read, concluded, “Bernie 2016.”

3. This was unequivocally political speech, whatever it was supposed to mean.

4. The University has some discretion to forbid expression and conduct at a sporting event that risk creating violence or that are objectively uncivil .

5. Anyone who uses lynching imagery in public, in any connection to a back public figure, or any African American at all, is an asshole at best. This is a public event intended to be entertaining and a family-friendly activity. Using it for political theater is obnoxious. The civil place for this costume, if anywhere, was in front of the stadium, on the sidewalk. Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, History, Race, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society

Sorry, Steve Bartman, But It’s Impossible To Leave You Alone

As the Chicago Cubs plowed their way to the World Series and a possible end to their 108 year failure to win a World Series, numerous sports writers, including some I thought were smart enough to know better, set out to prove their compassion, sensitivity and gooey caramel centers by arguing that the news media and fans should “leave Steve Bartman alone.” Bartman, for those of you who have lived in a bank vault since 2003, was the hapless young Chicago Cubs fan who unintentionally interfered with a foul ball that might have been catchable by Cubs outfielder Moises Alou in the decisive game of 2003 National League Championship Series. In a perfect display of the dangers of moral luck, Bartman’s mistake—it didn’t help that he was wearing earphones and watching the ball rather than the action on the field—began a chain of random events  that constituted a complete collapse by Chicago in that very same half-inning, sending the Miami Marlins and not the Cubs, who had seemed comfortably ahead, to the Series. Bartman, who issued a sincere and pitiful apology, was widely vilified and literally run out of town. He then became part of Cubs and baseball lore, one more chapter in the sad saga has been called “the Billy Goat Curse,” the uncanny inability of this team to win it all.

Over time, even Bartman’s tormenters came to see that holding him responsible for the team’s failure was cruel consequentialism at its worst. Alou, who had sicced the Furies on Bartman by angrily pointing at him after the incident from the field and later told everyone that with the interference, he would have caught the ball, even came out ten years later–five years!—to say that he wouldn’t have caught the ball, and Bartman wasn’t to blame. (I wrote about that epic example of barn-door locking here.) Now, NBC’s Craig Calcattera and many others are beating a new drum: nobody should write about or talk about Stave any more, because it’s so unfair. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, History, Journalism & Media, Sports