I decided to start with the Best in Ethics this year, in contrast to other years, on the theory that it would get things off to a positive start in 2014. What it did, instead, was make me realize how negative Ethics Alarms was in 2013. Either there wasn’t much positive going on in ethics, or I wasn’t seeing it. My thanks to those of you who send me nominations for Ethics Heroes (and other stories); even when I don’t write about them, they are valuable. Please keep them coming. In the meantime, I pledge to try to keep the jaundice out of my eye in 2014. Things just can’t be as dire as they seemed last year.
Here are the 2013 Ethics Alarms Awards for the Best in Ethics:
Most Important Ethical Act of the Year:
The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, paving the way for the universal legalization of gay marriage. Yes, it was a legal decision, but it was also based, as all such culturally important decisions are, on a societal recognition that what was once thought to be wrong and immoral was, in fact, not. This is ethics, an ongoing process of enlightenment and wisdom about what is right and wrong, and the U.S. Supreme Court did its part. Continue reading →
Spontaneous sportsmanship broke out in a recent international soccer match between Al Nahdha, an Omani soccer club, and Al Ittihad, a Saudi soccer club. I’ll take my encouragement from wherever I can get it these days.
Al Nahdha’s goalkeeper was about to make a clearance early in the second half of a 2-2 tie, but hesitated because his shoelace was untied, and seemed worried that his shoe would fly off. An opposing player, a Brazilian striker named Jobson, noticed the goalkeeper’s dilemma and instead of taking advantage of the soccer equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction, tied his opponent’s shoelace for him. The surprised and grateful goalkeeper slapped Jobson on the back and gave him a high-five as the crowd cheered its approval, then he kicked the ball.
A ref, however, spoiled the moment by signaling that the goalie had delayed the game by taking too long with his clearance. He awarded an indirect free kick to Al Ittihad , and Al Nahdha lined up to defend. Then, after talking the situation over, the Saudi team took what could have been its shot at a game-deciding goal.
The team just kicked the ball harmlessly past the goal, refusing the penalty (and rebuking the referee), while also making certain that its earlier good sportsmanship wasn’t rendered pointless by a gratuitous ruling.
The crowd loved it.
I bet I would have too, if I would let myself be caught dead at a soccer match.
[Disclaimer:The title on the video above is the opinion of the video poster, and does not necessarily represent the views of Ethics Alarms.]