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Ethical Issues in Sports

Info: 2534 words (10 pages) Essay
Published: 8th Feb 2020 in Sports

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Reading the sports news can be depressing and make you wonder about what is really going on in the head of some of these multi-million-dollar athletes. In the past couple years, there have been reports of substance abuse, racism, sexism, assault and sexual assault scandals, Domestic Violence, Financial crimes, and more questions about concussions and CTE, especially outside of football, and more Illegal wrongdoings in International sports, murder, and more.

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Professional and amateur competitive sports make a huge difference on a lot of people’s lives, it influences the values of millions of sports owners, players, and fans. There is a saying that states that “sports are a business and not a game”. With the sport industry is growing at an incredible rate of speed, and it is encompassing more and more people you are bound to run into ethical problems,

In our society, there is a great concern about the moral and ethical conduct of those athletes in the limelight. Not only do we see rule violations within professional sports, but crimes and ethical issues have risen in intercollegiate athletics as well. This has led to increased pressure on administrators to encourage positive ethical behavior within the Colleges and Universities. This has also sprung collegiate administrators into action by developing a code of conduct to be installed and implemented amongst all players and coaching staff involved with the NCAA.

Ethical problems are defined as situations that organizations or businesses that must choose between situations and alternatives that can be viewed as either right or wrong. It can be understood as difficult issues requiring a moral solution.

Five areas considered to be the biggest ethical areas in sports today will be discussed. The top five, based on social responsibility and media reporting of these topics, are found throughout the sports world today. These areas include NCAA rules violations, domestic violence, substance abuse, diversity (players and coaches), and player safety.  First discuss will be the ever-changing world of College Sports.

Intercollegiate Sports

College athletics, just like any other business or organization, is certainly not without its share of ethical issues. With millions of athletes competing at the college level you are bound to run into different ethical and moral problems. Here are some examples of ethical issues within intercollegiate athletics, these have all debuted in the news lately; 1. whether college student-athletes should be paid; Each Division 1 school generates hundreds of millions of dollars each year. This is a hot-topic, as star student athletes who make millions for the university, do not get to benefit from any of these finances. 2. Athletes are not allowed to be solicited by professional sports agents, those who do end up forfeiting their amateur status, as this is against NCAA rules. 3. Gender equity in the form of money being spent on men’s athletics versus women. Also, how many different sports are offered to females as equivalent to males.4. Some universities have diversity issues, especially in Head Coaching candidates and the way they conduct their search and hiring process. 5. This number goes to the ethical and improprieties associated with coaches and administrators. This unethical behavior is diminishing the public image of coaching, administrating, and the overall reputation of college sports today.

My professional recommendation to alleviate a lot of these ethical and moral problems is to put more emphasis and money into the compliance and rules enforcement division of the university’s athletic program. All NCAA schools have compliance departments and they are used to make sure student athletes and coaches follow all NCAA rules. They would also be there to brief students and answer questions along the way to keep these infractions from happening.

Substance Abuse in Sports

 Winning and being in first place drive some athletes and coaches to do whatever it takes to be on top. One of these areas is in the medical field in the form of substance abuse and performance enhancing drugs. This are falls into two categories; Substance abuse, by the form of illegal drugs or Alcohol, or the abuse of performance enhancing drugs, used to enhance performance and give athletes a edge in competing.

 Today, a lot of athletes use Marijuana to take the edge off, relieve pain, or reduce stress after performance. Alcohol is used in the same manner. However, abuse and addiction to these substances can cause many problems for different people. Most professional sports ban these substances and use urinalysis for testing. There are numerous penalties, fines and suspensions involving substance abuse.

 The other area that involves sports is the win at all costs attitudes some of these athletes have. When this attitude gets to be to much, some athletes turn to performance enhancing drugs to keep them on top or to get a edge on their opponent. Performance enhancing drugs are illegal and athletes are tested on their use of these as well. They include steroids as well as stimulants and all doping products that put more oxygen in your blood!

 My solution to this ethical nightmare would be to do more testing. I would increase my testing staff and develop harsher penalties to deter performance enhancing drug intake. These penalties will include heavy fines and large suspensions. This severe form of cheating deserves no place in the sports world. Testing would be done randomly but more athletes would be able to be tested with a increased staff.



Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is big in the news today. In the past, when an athlete was accused or convicted of domestic violence, it was usually swept under the rug, but not in todays society. Our society is filled with equality and rights for all. This well deserving and rightful trend has sports owners and administrators taking swift and lethal action towards any athlete accused of domestic violence. There have been quite a few players who have been accused and given the death penalty right off the bat. Death penalty meaning they have been cut and no other team will sign them, Possibly never again. The question asked is should that kill their careers? Athletes are members of this society just like us, we make mistakes, so do they. However, most of them haven’t received second chances. Should this be the case?

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My belief is that athletes, in a majority of these cases, should be valued a second chance to redeem themselves and their careers. I don’t believe in taking away someone’s livelihood without a second chance or making their wrongful behavior right. My recommendation would be more preventive education teaching and counseling for new athletes. This would be mandatory for all athletes new into college and professional sports. I believe mandatory counseling will be the key for athletes who are convicted and given a second chance. I don’t believe in one strike and your done. Athletes cannot master perfection in the sporting arena so what makes us think they can be perfect off the field.


Diversity is all over both the college and professional sports in the form of athletes and players. They are from many different countries and consist of many different races. However, the issue of diversity in sports lies in Ownership and the leadership positions in sports. These positions include Head coaches, general managers, head office personnel, and administrators. The lack of minority in these positions has caused a great deal of controversy in college and professional sports. It is extremely unethical to have a high percentage of minorities as athletes but not leadership positions. These players know the sport better than anybody but are not offered the same opportunity as whites. Sports often teach you about teamwork and relying on one another to accomplish a goal, this cannot happen successfully without minorities be offered positions in leadership. To be diverse as an organization or a sports team is to maximize strengths of all members and encompass everything our country is founded on.

 My recommendation would be to adapt what the NFL has done and that would be to implement the Rooney rule in all sports leagues. The Rooney Rule is that when hiring personnel in leadership positions, you must have a minority candidate as one of the people in consideration for the job. This will eliminate any kind of discrimination claim or any failed opportunity to do what is right. A diverse team from the top down is an unbeatable force.

Player Safety

 With the Concussion epidemic on the rise today, player safety is probably the number one area of concern in all sports today. There have been numerous accidental deaths, Life threatening injuries and paralysis in sports lately. Most of these accidents and injuries could be avoided if there was prior education and a larger emphasis on safety in sports today.  Medical trainers and mandatory education of sports injuries have changed the sporting world as we know it. Medical developments and research have found that there are several long-term side effects to sports injuries. The biggest point of discussion and preventive medicine is on concussions. CTE is the long-term result of multiple concussions and head injuries. This topic has led to multiple deaths later after athletes have stopped playing. This has brought the focus back onto owners and Athletic Directors to bring forth an environment of putting safety first. Numerous lawsuits have led to Sports mangers to reconsider what they do and how they will operate going forward. Leagues have changed the rules of certain sports to combat different ways that athletes play in order to avoid injuries. This has come with heavy protest from players who get heavy fines or suspensions for different rules violations. Its going to be a while before players have totally adapted to the new ways that they call the sport.

 My recommendation going forward will be to keep the emphasis heavy on player safety, even if it means to change the rules to accommodate players in certain aspects of the game. Sports is entertainment and we shouldn’t be losing life or developing serious injuries because of a game. Consistent training needs to be a steady part of every league official and coach. If we teach the right way the players will play the right way.


 These ethical and moral problems in sport can easily be avoided. Most of these issues are unimaginable to the American public. The public thinks that these athletes are millionaires and that they are only playing sports for a living, so they shouldn’t have any problems. However, it’s quite the contrary. Domestic Violence is a product of our society no matter how much money we make or how popular we become. It is an epidemic that we could put a stop to. Prevention and education is almost the simple key in all of these ethical issues. Diversity is a topic that can be avoided as well. Education and training on the management level is a must to emphasize how diversity can be the ultimate strength is business opportunities throughout all of sports. The racial divide must be conquered, especially by sports leagues that are made up of players who are minorities. Substance abuse is going to continue to be a problem in our society and in sports. This is especially true when business owners put an emphasis on winning more than anything. Else. When top dollar goes to the athlete with the best performance, there will be a need for certain athletes to find an edge, whether its legal or not. Performance enhancing drugs might be the key that some athletes use to get to the top. Collegiate sports will continue to change in the coming years. This will be solely based on how much money they bring in. The dollars are stacking up and unfortunately money is the reason that drives a lot of the rule changes in sports today. Where this is most evident is player safety. This topic of ethical behavior changes people’s lives and not just the outcome of certain sporting events. This will most certainly be the hot topic in Ethical sports issues going forward. Safety is the key in all ethical issues. If we as sports managers put that first, we will succeed in all of these areas.



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