Ethics Mystery: What Was So Wrong With Curt Schilling’s Muslim Tweet?


ESPN pulled former baseball pitching star Curt Schilling from its Little League broadcast team yesterday after becoming aware of his tweet above, saying in a statement:

“Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration.”

Schilling then tweeted this apology: “I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.” This appears to be a #1 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale...“An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.” 

If I had delivered it, however, it might have been a #7: “A forced or compelled version of 1-4, in which the individual (or organization) apologizing may not sincerely believe that an apology is appropriate, but chooses to show the victim or victims of the act inspiring it that the individual responsible is humbling himself and being forced to admit wrongdoing by the society, the culture, legal authority, or an organization or group that the individual’s actions reflect upon or represent.”

What was it exactly that Schilling’s tweet showed, implied, suggested or stated that was” completely unacceptable,  in no way represent ESPN’s  perspective, and that justified his employer’s action? Curt Schilling is an inquisitive, politically active and opinionated man, and has always annoyed sportswriters because 1) he’s openly conservative 2) he’s a devout Christian, and isn’t shy about talking about it, 3) he can write and speak coherently and was capable, while playing, of challenging their criticism, and 4) he’s a lot smarter than most of them. I am assuming in this inquiry that nothing in Schilling’s contract or agreement with ESPN restricted his right to express non-sports opinions on his own time.

Here are some possibilities: Continue reading

Ethic Quiz: Is Eva Kor An Ethics Hero, Or An Ethics Dunce?

Kissed by a murderous Nazi. Yum.

Kissed by a murderous Nazi. Yum.

81-year-old Holocaust survivor Eva Kor recounted her memories of being one of Dr. Josef Mengele’s human guinea pigs  in a letter to Oskar Groening, a former member of the SS at Auschwitz-Birkenau who is on trial in Germany for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder:

In May 1944, when we were taken to Auschwitz, my name was Eva Mozes. My family and I were part of the Hungarian transport. My family included my father Alexander Mozes, 44 years old; my mother Jaffa Mozes, 38 years old; my older sister Edit, 14 years old; my middle sister Aliz, 12 years old; and my twin sister, Miriam, 10 years old. Within thirty minutes after arriving on the selection platform, Miriam and I were ripped apart from our family forever. Only she and I survived, because we were used in experiments conducted by .

Within half an hour we became part of a group of twin girls aged two to sixteen: thirteen sets of little girls and one mother. We were taken to a processing center where they cut our hair short and took our clothes away. That evening they returned them with a red cross at the backs. Then they lined us up for tattooing. When my turn came, I decided to cause them as much trouble as a ten year-old could. Two Nazis and two women prisoners restrained me with all their force. They began by heating a needle. When the needle got hot, they dipped it into ink and burned into my left arm, dot by dot, the capital letter A-7063. Miriam became A-7064…

For the next two weeks I only have one clear memory: I was crawling on the floor because I could no longer walk. I was crawling to reach a faucet with water because they did not even give us water anymore.

In 1984, Kor founded CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors), in an effort to locate other surviving Mengele twins; and in 1995 she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terra Haute, Indiana. She calls herself a “forgiveness advocate,” teaching children:

1. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. I did not know how to survive Auschwitz, but I was determined to do it. Here I am 70 years later because I never gave up.

2. Treat people with respect and fairness to eliminate prejudice from your life.

3. Forgive your worst enemy and forgive anybody who [h]as ever hurt you. I forgave the Nazis and I forgave everybody who hurt me.

Kor is one of the Holocaust survivors testifying at Groening’s trial. On its first day, Groening told the court that  “it is beyond question that I am morally complicit. This moral guilt I acknowledge here, before the victims, with regret and humility.”  Kor told him, “I appreciate the fact that you are willing to come here and face us.” She offered the defendant her hand, and he took it, brought her into a near embrace, and kissed her on the cheek. 

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz as this week ends is…

Is Eva Kor an Ethics Hero, or an Ethics Dunce?

Continue reading

The Clinton Foundation’s Latest Donor Policy Prompts This New Ethics Alarms Policy: Hillary and Bill Clinton Are Henceforth Ineligible For Future “Ethics Dunce” Awards, Since They Both Understand Ethics Very Well— They’re Unethical Because They ChooseTo Be


“Making life easy for the Clinton family, and ethics be damned”

I apologize for taking such a long time to figure this out. Upon reflection, it’s been obvious for a long time. I wonder if the Clintons’ fans and supporters understand that their heroes have no respect for ethics? Perhaps they don’t care.

The lightbulb went off for me when it was revealed that the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has changed its policy on soliciting and accepting contributions from foreign governments and has now received millions from foreign governments including Qatar, a prominent backer of Hamas.

Playing stupid (and protecting the Clinton’s flanks the best they can, as is their nature), the Washington Post and other media outlets have written that this raises “ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency.” No, it doesn’t raise any ethical questions at all. This is unethical. It’s blatantly unethical. The Clintons know it’s unethical, but because they are themselves unethical, they are doing it anyway. What’s the question?

At the National Journal, that Passenger Pigeon of journalists, Ron Fournier, correctly calls the decision “sleazy and stupid.” I’m not so sure about stupid, if the only objective is to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is reasonable that Bill and Hillary have concluded that anyone who still supports them care as little about ethics as they doe. Besides, ethics schmethics, LOOK AT ALL THIS MONEY, BILL!

From the Washington Post: Continue reading

Pop Quiz: The Bottom Of The Slippery Slope

Merkel out

What’s missing from the photo above that ran in the ultra-orthodox Jewish newspaper HaMevaser, or The Announcer?

No, the answer isn’t “any Americans,” though that would be correct too.

Why, it’s all the women! German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Paris Mayor Ann Hidalgo and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini were all photoshopped out of the Israeli newspaper.

When you have to have to alter the facts to fit your ideology and world view, this is supposed to trigger an ethics alarm that alerts you to the unpleasant truth that the problem is with you and your biases, conclusions and beliefs, not the facts.

Making people disappear from photos is the most grotesque of such self-indicting strategies, but there are many less spectacular but equally unethical examples, and right at home, right now.  Can you name some?

I’ll get you started with my personal “favorite”:

Hands up

And to answer your question: I’ll stop harping on this one when I stop hearing Ferguson and Mike Brown routinely mentioned as examples of excessive police force and racism.


Spark and Pointer: Rick Jones


Comment of the Day: “Ethics Hero Emeritus: Henri Salmide, 1919-2010”

Henri Salmide

Henri Salmide, Hero: Unknown in the US, and only barely recognized in Germany or France. Greatly appreciated on Ethics Alarms, however.

German visitor Reinhard Gross sent me a useful clarification on the 2010 Ethics Alarms tribute to Henri Salmide, who as a German soldier in World War II saved the French port of Bordeaux by defying orders to blow it up and blowing up his German superiors instead. You can read the post on Salmide, an Ethics Hero Emeritus, here, and his New York Times obituary here. It’s an inspiring story, and if you are not familiar with Salmide, you should be.

Salmide lived the rest of his life as a French citizen in Bordeaux, and until late in life was seldom noted for his heroic act in France, so strong was the bias against him as a former German soldier. I asked Reinhard what the attitude in Germany was toward Salmide, and his Comment of the Day was the response. It also provides some insight on the the long and painful process the German culture must work through, as the German people come to terms with the dark Nazi period, when their society and its values were so horribly warped, with such tragic consequences for Germany and the world.

Here is Reinhold Gross’s Comment of the Day on the post Ethics Hero Emeritus: Henri Salmide, 1919-2010…and I thank him for reminding me of Henri Salmide’s courageous and ethical act: Continue reading

The Strange, Seldom Told Story of Ethics Hero Emeritus, Albert Göring (1895-1966)

Good brother, Bad brother.

Good brother, Bad brother.

The German and Israeli news media have recounted the exploits of Albert Göring recently , because he is under posthumous consideration for the highest honorary title conferred by the State of Israel, the “Righteous Among the Nations.” These are the heroes of the Holocaust, the brave individuals who risked their lives to foil Hitler’s Ultimate Solution. Since it was created in 1953, the title has been awarded to 24,356 people from 47 countries.

Göring is a strong candidate to join their ranks, for he saved many Jews from extermination during World War II. Honoring him would not be a difficult decision, except for one thing: he was the younger brother of one of Hitler’s vilest henchman, the architect of the death camps and master of the Gestapo, Hermann Göring.

Albert became disillusioned with the Nazis early in their rise to power and moved to Austria, where he frequently spoke out against Hitler and the Third Reich. He would have ended up in prison when the Germans took over Austria, but brother Hermann Goering, Hitler’s designated successor, believed that blood was thicker than genocide: he kept Albert out of the hands of the Gestapo, even though he knew his little brother was an enemy of the state.

Nobody knows exactly how many Jews and non-Jews Albert saved from his brother’s death camps, because Albert Göring himself didn’t know how many the people he helped. Continue reading

Ethics Hero Emeritus: Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin

The first Nazi soldier Ethics Hero.

The SECOND Nazi soldier Ethics Hero!

Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin didn’t accomplish anything heroic, but boy, did he try. The last surviving member of the most famous and closest call of the many failed plots to kill Adolf Hitler, von Kleist-Schmenzin is a ringing example of how the only difference between a a deathless hero and some guy with an unspellable name that you never hear of until he dies sometimes is just luck, and moral luck at that.

von Kleist-Schmenzin was 90 when he perished at his home in Munich this week, outliving almost all of his fellow conspirators in Operation Valkyrie by just short of seven decades. After that near-miss assassination attempt failed (because the bomb-in-a-briefcase dropped near Hitler’s feet by chief conspirator Claus von Stauffenberg was inadvertently moved just enough to save Der Fuhrer’s miserable life), von Kleist-Schmenzin managed to convince Gestapo interrogators that he wasn’t part of the plot, though in truth he was originally given the assignment of planting the bomb. He ended up in prison (the fact that his father was also involved in the plot and was one of those executed guaranteed that) and later was sent back onto the battlefield, but only random chance prevented him from being remembered as the man who ended the war…in fact, it foiled him twice. Continue reading

Unethical Advertising Slogan of the Month: Reebok

You read that right: the slogan, which Rebok printed up for use by an affiliated gym in Germany and which quickly went viral on the web, is


As blatantly unethical exhortations in pursuit of commerce go, this one is pretty spectacular. Consider:

  • It is disrespectful of women.
  • It advocates betrayal, dishonesty, disloyalty, infidelity, promiscuity and cheating.
  • It designates a higher priority to narcissistic self-maintenance over love, commitment, and stable relationships.
  • It represents an athletic equipment company giving the stamp of approval to cheating.

That’s a remarkable amount of bad ethics in just eight words. A masterpiece of economical cultural poison. Bravo! Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Naming Your Kid After Hitler: 100% Legal, 100% Child Abuse”

Moon Unit Zappa: Only in America!

Site quotemaster and resident pedant Tom Fuller comes through with a rare comment of his containing no quotations whatsoever! (Tom is, among other things, a contributor and researcher for The Yale Book of Quotations.) He adds some useful perspective on the issue of naming children, in his Comment of the Day to yesterday’s post, “Naming Your Kid After Hitler: 100% Legal, 100% Child Abuse.”  I must point out that “Choo Choo” was not the 1962 Mets catcher’s real name, any more than Red Sox pitcher Dennis Boyd was really named “Oil Can.”

Here it is Tom’s comment:

“This is a good illustration of how America’s concept of free speech is such an unusual legal and cultural norm. In many countries, including Germany, a child’s name must be legally approved in advance (in Germany, by the Standesamt — office of vital statistics).

“By German law, a child’s name has to meet two conditions: (1) it must reflect the sex of the child, and (2) it must not endanger the ‘well-being of the child.’ No “Moon Unit” Zappa, no “Choo Choo” Coleman, and — especially — no “Adolf” anybody, unless the local office says “OK”.

“According to wire service reports, hundreds of Algerians wanted to name their babies “Scud” during the 1991 Iraq war, but the local officials nixed the idea.

“My point? Only that Americans are often more likely than those in other countries to regulate speech and behavior in ways other than by prior legal restraint — like ethics, which is what this odd corner of the Web is all about. Sadly, as history has shown, when ethics fails, many people turn to the law to fix things. It doesn’t always work.”

How the Lack of Ethics Cripples Democracy, Reason #2: Corporate Executive Greed


"Let's see...that's one schilling for Cratchet, 280 for me..."

The average compensation for chief executives of the 500 largest U.S. corporations is going up again.

According to Governance Metrics International, the average compensation for the CEOs, including salary, bonus and benefits plus the exercise of stock options, the vesting of stock grants and retirement benefits, was just under $12 million in 2010, up 18 percent from 2009. As Washington Post business writer Steve Pearlstein observes in his column this week, if you believe this is justified by market forces and common sense, “then you must also believe two things: First, that none of these guys would do the same job for a nickel less. Second, that the value of the chief executive went up 18 percent last year while the value of average workers in their companies changed very little.”  “And,” concludes Pearlstein, “if you believe that, you are a fool and an ideal candidate for an open seat on an S&P company board of directors.” Continue reading