Category Archives: Sports

Ethics Dunces: Fox Sports And Major League Baseball

The ex players are (R to L), Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, banned Pete Rose, rapidly being forgotten Raul Ibanez, and the nearly universally detested Alex Rodriguez.

The ex players are (R to L), Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, banned Pete Rose, rapidly fading from memory Raul Ibanez, and the nearly universally detested Alex Rodriguez.

Among the commentators at the desk in the pre- and post game show for FS1 (that’s Fox Sports One) as it carries the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Dodgers, are Pete Rose, and Alex Rodriquez.

Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader, is banned from baseball for gambling on the game while a manager. This has been taboo since the 1919 World Series was fixed by gamblers. (Donald Trump has never accepted that the Cincinnati Reds won). Rose lied about whether he bet on baseball for over a decade, then he lied about whether he bet on his own team a little longer. In the meantime, he served prison time for tax evasion.

Alex Rodriquez eventually was suspended from baseball for more than a season for using banned performance enhancing drugs, years after he tested positive for steroid use and told the public sincerely that it was “one mistake” and he’d never do it again. He is also a serial liar. Eventually the increasingly cynical and ethically-addled younger sportswriters may vote him into the Hall of Fame, but he is second only to Barry Bonds as the worst of the worst. Currently, he is regarded as flunking the Hall’s character and sportsmanship requirement. Duh. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Sports

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Martina Navratilova

"Hey, Kershaw! Martina wants to know why you're afraid to give us your position on fracking!"

“Hey, Kershaw! Martina wants to know why you’re afraid to give us your position on fracking!”

“So many athletes are afraid to use their platform to do the right thing and speak what they feel, and that’s very depressing.”

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova to approving New York Times sports reporter Juliet Macur, as the former tennis great prepared for her keynote speech at a human rights event at the Department of State.

Wrong, Martina. There is no “platform.” You earned credibility and influence regarding social and political issues by intelligently and boldly standing up for your own rights and privileges, on issues that affected you directly and about which you had an important perspective and a legitimate reason to speak out. Female athletes. Discrimination. Gay rights. Feminism. You had credentials and authority in all of those areas, and using your status as a sports star to spark intelligent debate was responsible and fair.

Once you had established your credibility, analytical abilities and skill at articulating issues while taking informed positions on them, then you had earned added legitimacy separate from your athletic prowess and stardom. You’re a smart person: smart people’s informed opinions should be listened to and considered no matter what the topic. Many other athletes have expanded their legitimate authority and influence this way. Muhammad Ali. Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Ted Williams. Billy Jean King. Bill Bradley.

Athletic stardom, however, confers no more assumed expertise regarding issues unrelated to sports than being a paper-hanger or a busboy. The difference is that famous athletes, like famous singers and actors, are admired and idolized by many people, especially among the young, who are incapable of resisting the siren influence of their heroes. There is nothing good about this, and everything wrong about it. Tom Brady supports Donald Trump, and the only reasonable reaction to that is to conclude that Tim Brady is a moron. However, that’s not how blank-slate sports fans react to his endorsement. For too many of them, the sequence is pure cognitive dissonance: Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Leadership, Sports, U.S. Society

Nick Kyrgios, Pro Tennis Fick

Or, perhaps, Nick Kyrgios is the pro tennis Donald Trump?

A fick is someone who is openly unethical and defiant about it. Leroy Fick gave the condition his name when he laughed about collecting public assistance checks in Michigan after winning millions in the state lottery. There have been many ficks past and present: one of them is running for President. Nick Kyrgios is pro tennis’s fick, and the sport is proving itself an ethics dunce of Republican Party proportions by not  banning him from competition until he shapes up.

The gifted 21-year-old, who has already been fined many times for ugly behavior during matches including insulting spectators and officials, sank to new depths this week at a tournament in Shanghai.  Kyrgios blatantly tanked his match against Mischa Zverev, declining to make an effort to win on many points. Among his displays of contempt for the match was  hitting a lob serve  and walking off the court before Zverev  could  return it.  He lost a 48 minute straight-set decision, 6-3, 6-1.

“Nick, you can’t play like that, okay?” The chair umpire said when Kyrgios threw away a point . “It’s just not professional.”

Ooooh, that should scare him! How about, “Do that again, young man, and you’ll forfeit the match and your prize money. And that will be for starters. Understand?”

When a fan criticized him from the stands, he shouted back,  “You wanna come here and play?Sit down and shut up and watch.” Required answer: “Sure. I’ll play.  couldn’t do any worse than you, and at least I’d do my best.” After the match, Kyrgios was asked by a reporter if  his conduct wasn’t disrespectful to paying fans.

“I don’t owe them anything,” he said. “If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch. Just leave.”

Fick. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Sports

The NFL Has No Problem With A Player On The Field Pronouncing the Entire Nation Racist, But Won’t Tolerate A Player Pretending To Shoot A Bow And Arrow. Please Explain.


The explanation is simple. The National Football League has no values, just assorted and unrelated reactions dictated by money, expediency, fear of activist groups, and stupidity.

This was the most recent example:

Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was flagged after his  fourth-quarter interception Sunday  in a win over the Browns. He pretended to shoot an arrow from a mimed bow–veteran MLB relief pitcher Fernando Rodney has done this after every save his entire career–and was penalized for the unsportsmanlike foul of ” shooting a bow and arrow,” as announced by the ref. Fox analyst Mike Pereira explained to the TV audience that “Shooting a bow and arrow is just like simulating shooting guns. It’s a foul and it’s not allowed.”

The NFL refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to commemorate the Dallas officers shot in a Black Lives Matter fueled massacre of police. Then it announced its support of the ridiculous Colin Kaepernick’s grandstanding protest of the National Anthem because, he says, “the United States systematically oppresses African-Americans.”  Next, it submits the name of Darren Sharper—one of those oppressed African Americans, by the way— as a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is serving 20 years in prison for drugging and raping women. Now it deems a bow-and-arrow gesture as so offensive to the sport that it requires a major game penalty.

Meanwhile, the league still officially denies that the concussions it routinely inflicts on its players are the cause of their brain damage when they cease to be able to function and slide into depression and dementia in middle age.

Those who continue to support the NFL knowing all of this (you put money in the league’s coffers by just watching the games) are allowing their own values and their children’s to be compromised and corrupted in exchange for a few visceral thrills.



Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Race, Sports

Ethics Quiz Of The Day: Backing Into A Batting Championship

Milwaukee Brewers v Colorado Rockies

On the final day of the 2016 regular season yesterday, Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu had a one point lead on Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy for the National League batting championship, .348 to.347. Murphy was nursing a pulled muscle, and hadn’t played for several games as the NL East winning Nationals rested him so he could be healthy for the play-offs. Murphy wasn’t going to be in the final game either, which meant that the only way LeMahieu could lose his lead was by making outs. Thus, with the consent of his manager, Walt Weiss, the player sat out the last game to protect his average. Realizing that the Rocky player was attempting to “back in” to the batting title, regarded in baseball ethics as dishonorable, or, in technical terms, “the conduct of a weenie,”  Nats  manager Dusty Baker sent Murphy limping up to the plate to pinch-hit for Jose Lobaton in the fifth inning. A hit by Murphy would have given him the lead, and required LeMahieu to bat in the Rockies game to pass him. Murphy, however, flied out.

Your End of Baseball’s Regular Season Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Was it fair, sportsmanlike and ethical for LeMahieu to win the batting title by not playing?

Continue reading


Filed under Character, History, Quizzes, Sports

The Wrenching Problem Of David Ortiz, The Human Slippery Slope


Ethics conflicts force us to choose when multiple ethical principles and values point to diametrically opposed resolutions.  Often, a solution can be found where the unethical aspects of the resolution can be mitigated, but not this one. It is a tale of an ethics conflict without a satisfactory resolution.

I didn’t want to write this post. I considered waiting five years to write it, when the issue will be unavoidable and a decision mandatory. Toda, however, is the day on which all of Boston, New England, and most of baseball will be honoring Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who will be playing his finale regular season game after a 20 years career.  His 2016 season is quite possibly the best year any professional baseball player has had as his final one; it is definitely the best season any batter has had at the age of 40 or more. Ortiz is an icon and a hero in Boston, for good reason. Ortiz was instrumental in breaking his team’s infamous 86-year long “curse” that saw it come close to winning the World Series again and again, only to fail in various dramatic or humiliating ways. He was a leader and an offensive centerpiece of three World Champion teams in 2004, 2007, and 2013. Most notably, his record as a clutch hitter, both in the regular season and the post season is unmatched. You can bring yourself up to speed on Ortiz’s career and his importance to the Red Sox, which means his importance to the city and its culture, for nowhere in America takes baseball as seriously as Beantown, here.

That’s only half the story for Ortiz. Much of his impact on the team, the town and the game has come from his remarkable personality, a unique mixture of intensity, charm, intelligence, generosity, pride and charisma. After the 2013 terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon, which shook the city as much as any event since the Boston Massacre, Ortiz made himself the symbol of Boston’s anger and defiance with an emotional speech at Fenway Park. Then he put an exclamation point on his defiance by leading the Red Sox, a last place team the year before, to another World Series title.

Performance-based arguments against electing Ortiz to baseball’s Hall of Fame are, at this point, untenable. Entering his final game, Ortiz had 541 home runs, (17th all-time), 1,768 RBI, (22nd), and 632 doubles, (10th).  He is only the third player in history to have more than 500 home runs and 600 doubles.  He ranks among the greatest post season hitters in baseball history with 17 home runs, 60 RBI and 21 doubles. His postseason average is .295 with an on base percentage of .409, a slugging percentage of .553 and a .962 OPS (the sum of the two.) Most great players did worse in the post season than during the regular season, for the obvious reason: the competition was better. Ortiz was better, which informs regarding his character and dedication.

The one lingering argument against admitting Ortiz to a ranks of Ruth, Williams, Aaron, Mays, Cobb, Hornsby, Griffey and the rest is that he has spent most of his career as a designated hitter, the American League’s 1973 invention, much reviled by National League fans and baseball traditionalists, designed to allow real batters relive fans from watching pitchers make fools of themselves at the plate. This makes him “half a player,” the argument goes. No designated hitter has ever been elected to the Hall, so that argument has prevailed so far. It was always a weak one—how did being lousy fielders like so many Hall of Fame sluggers make them greater players than one who never hurt his team at all with his glove? Now that a designated hitter has shown himself to be in the elite ranks of all the greatest batters, the argument sounds more like hysterical anti-DH bias than ever.

I should also note, before getting to the main point of this post, that I love Ortiz. I am a life-time Red Sox fan, Boston born, bred and marinated, and Big Papi is special. He is one of the most interesting and admirable sports figures of my lifetime, and what he has meant to my city and my favorite sport is beyond quantifying. Few great athletes demonstrate persuasively that they are also great and admirable human beings. Ortiz is one of them.

Nonetheless, it is crucial that David Ortiz not be elected to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible five years from now, and that he never be admitted. On the matter of assessing the fitness for baseball honors of those who defiled the game by inflating their statistics, changing the outcome of games and harming players who abided by the rules, David Ortiz is a human slippery slope. Ortiz deserves to be in the Hall based on all admission criteria, including character and sportsmanship, but his admission will open the doors wide for players who are unfit, polluting the Hall of Fame and baseball’s values forever.

It’s not worth the trade off. This is the ethics conflict: one cannot be fair and just to “Big Papi” without doing widespread harm to the sport, and I would argue, the entire culture. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Sports, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: The Boxer Who Bet Against Himself, And Lost His Bet


Three Olympic boxers received “severe reprimands” from an International Olympic Committee last week for betting on fights during last month’s Rio de Janeiro Games in violation of Olympic  anti-betting rules.

The interesting one is Ireland’s welterweight Steve Donnelly, shown above. Donnelly bet against himself in a first-round bout but still won the fight.

The IOC said the three boxers received only reprimands rather than retroactive disqualifications or bans because a disciplinary panel determined “there was no intent to manipulate any event” and the athletes have apologized.

Donnelly, an evident idiot, said that he was in fact not aware of the prohibition against betting, though he had signed the documents agreeing to the restrictions. He hadn’t read them, he said.  He claimed that he bet against himself without intending lose his match to win those bets. He reasoned that if he lost the match, winning the bets ( he made two on his opponent) would be some compensation for his defeat.

Good thinking there, Steve.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day

Is a reprimand just and sufficient punishment for an Olympic competitor who bets on himself to lose, as long as he loses the bet and not his competition?

Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Character, Quizzes, Sports