Settlement Corruption and Ethics Failure: The Kelley Currin-Rick Curl Saga

” Ah, what a beauty! $150,000 well spent!”

Imagine, if you will, that the late Joe Paterno didn’t take action to expose the child-molesting proclivities of his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, not because he was concerned about his cherished football program’s image, but because Sandusky paid him off with a big check. Can we all agree that this would have been even more reprehensible than what actually occurred? I assume so. Paterno would have been enriching himself with the sacrifice of young innocents to a pedophile.

Now compare that hypothetical with what we know about the developing scandal around renowned swimming coach Rick Curl, who has trained Olympian swimmers for decades. took a leave of absence from the club he founded Wednesday in the wake of accusations that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a teen swimmer and then paid her and her parents to keep quiet as part of a settlement. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Purloined Championship Team

Within hours of winning a Final Four national championship, a triumphant college coach not only jumped ship and went to another university, the coach took the entire championship squad.

Nobody went nuts about this over at ESPN, however, because the championship was in chess.

Texas Tech chess coach Susan Polgar took her entire all-star squad of seven chess grandmasters from Texas Tech to private Webster University in suburban St. Louis, home to the World Chess Hall of Fame and the U.S. national championships. Polgar is unapologetic for gutting the Texas Tech elite chess program that she built there beginning in 2007 . “The program grew rapidly, and Texas Tech wasn’t ready to grow with the speed of the program. St. Louis today is the center of chess in America. It just seemed like a perfect fit.”

I’m sure it is, but that leads to your Ethics Quiz: Is it ethical for a coach to take a school’s championship team with her when she accepts a position elsewhere? Continue reading

The Conclusion to “Texas Cheerleading Ethics: Cheer Your Rapist” (And You’re Not Going To Like It)

"Give me an R! A! P! I! S! T!---RAPIST!!!"

Back in November, Ethics Alarms reported the awful story of the Silsbee, Texas High school cheerleader, identified only as “H.S.”,who was kicked off her cheerleading squad for violating “the Cheerleader Code of Ethics” after she refused to cheer at a game for the player who, it was later determined, had sexually assaulted her. She stood silent in mute protest, and when her parents sued the school, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that H.S.’s silent protest was not protected speech under the First Amendment, meaning that she could be disciplined for violating the cheerleading conduct code.

Now the Supreme Court has turned down the case, refusing to review it, meaning not only that H.S. loses, but also that her parents have to pay court costs and legal defenses to the tune of $45,000.

This is a perfect example of the distinction between the law, justice, and ethics. Continue reading

Baseball Season Opener Special: The Little League Baseball Ethics Challenge

The Bad News Bears never had to face a problem like THIS...

The baseball season began March 31, with most teams, including my beloved Boston Red Sox, starting play on April 1. To salute this landmark, which annually signifies the date on which my mood changes from irritable to gay, I am presenting my favorite baseball related ethics post, from 2005. It is still a story with many difficult ethical dilemmas, one that explores the proper application of rules,  ethics, sportsmanship, the importance of winning, balancing the welfare of a team with the needs of the individual, and more. Here is “the Little League Baseball Ethics Challenge.”

Play Ball! Continue reading

Texas Cheerleading Ethics: Cheer Your Rapist!

In the current issue of Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts relates the tale of an ethical outrage, one that will makes your heart sink at the realization that there is so much incompetence, lack of common sense, cruelty and irresponsibility in the world…and that so much of it resides in high school administration.

A Silsbee (Texas) High School cheerleader, identified in the story only as “H.S.”,  had told police that she had been cornered in a room by three school athletes during a party, and sexually assaulted. Her screams were heard by others at the party, and charges were filed.  Roberts writes, “In a town whose population is 7,341 and whose high school football stadium seats 7,000…the alleged assault prompted two questions: How would it affect the girl? And how would it affect the team?” Continue reading