Paying NCAA athletes

According to USA today, annual revenue for the NCAA in the year 2014 topped 1 billion dollars with a surplus of about $80 million- up from $59 million the year before. The players receive money from this revenue stream through the means of scholarship money- but is it enough? The NCAA have explicit rules preventing players from accepting bribes or incentives to play for a certain NCAA, such as in football. Payment to the players has been viewed as a moral issue guiding the NCAA’s policies-; punishments such as suspensions have been given out to players and player management due to violations.

Football is a collision sport and can be viewed as high risk to the participants involved. Contractarianism is the theory of the parties involved consenting to the activity and therefor rendering it moral. In NCAA football, players, fans, universities and the governing bodies are the parties involved that agree that players compete on the field in exchange for an athletic scholarship. The players also subject themselves to injury when they compete- but do they fully understand the risks and should they be compensated further for these risks? With the massive amount of money that the NCAA generates, should more proportionate compensation be paid to the athletes?

Financial compensation

Players aren’t being paid a sufficient amount of money for risking their body on the football field. Contractarianism would suggest that the parties have consented to the risk of injury, but do the players fully understand the extent of the risk? A recent lawsuit against the NCAA cites head trauma as the main reason for further financial compensation for the players in mainly hockey, football and lacrosse. Did those athletes full understand the risks involved in their respective sport? They did not- and the NCAA is profiting off of spectacle that the athletes themselves produce playing. The athletes should be paid more for their injury risks on the field in Football and proportionate to how much the NCAA profits from the athletic spectacle- which is a substantial amount.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a report by the National College Players Association (advocacy group for college athletes in the United States) suggesting that the average full scholarship ride lacks $3,222 a year due to other fees such as utility fees and even parking charges. The scholarship can only pay for so much of the player’s needs. A more progressive approach to funding NCAA football athletes should be considered. The new amount of funding could help players afford the necessities and prevent them from any potential NCAA violations such as bribes to play for a certain NCAA team.

NCAA violations

Over the last 5 years there have been numerous bribe scandals and NCAA rule violations in regards to recruitment and team management conduct. Jacory Harris, former quarterback of the Miami Hurricanes (NCAA football,) was cited a violation due to a tally of “improper meals” and entertainment and nightclub charges. Football teams and players, across the NCAA, have been cited with the same violations and have been dealt with by remedial suspensions. If the players are already breaking rules set by the NCAA, shouldn’t the NCAA have heavier punishments or should the players be paid appropriately- since the players will just risk the penalty? The punishments for the expense violations is not effective. Pay the players a sufficient and even modest salary to avoid rule violations; the appropriate compensation will prevent the incentive by the players to go around NCAA regulation.

 

Against Paying NCAA football players

Amateurism in sports can be defined as not accepting money for their performance and activity while governed by a regulatory body. In the context of academia, the players participate for the exchange of an education, whether subsidized or fully paid for in the NCAA. Academic integrity might be the first casualty of paying players because the athletes will be bias towards getting an education based on the amount of money that an institution may offer. Higher pay may dictate the enrollment of student athletes rather than the academic focus itself. Larger schools with more capital will have a large advantage over small schools. For example, a highly talented running back may choose to play for Miami because of higher pay roll than a division III School that has an optimal academic environment. Perhaps a player may choose a school based on money but it is not the only factor. Academia, history, potential playing time etc. could all be the important criterion for players, rather than the money.

Utilitarianism, the theory of more benefits than added costs, would suggest the money would provide more necessities to the current players rather than the costs of an overall NCAA recruiting system of money (money that can create recruitment bias towards an NCAA team/school.)

 

Pay the players- it’s in the NCAA’s best interest

The raising of financial compensation of NCAA football athletes to a salary while still including the scholarship both have a contractarian and utilitarianism argument to support this. While recruitment bias towards larger schools may cause moral issues with paying the players to playing, a NCAA salary cap could be put into play to both prevent ridiculous salaries and to sustain the player’s well-being. Well-being can be defined in this case as the risk factor involved with these athletes and the amount of expenditures the players have when they go to college.

It is important for the NCAA to regulate their league appropriately but move beyond the traditional ways of only providing strictly scholarship funds. The players cannot sustain themselves at this minimal funding level while the NCAA makes millions off of the spectacle that is college football in the United States. NCAA football athletes have to deal with not only injury risk but the living expenses associated with college and academia. While there are reasons not to pay the athletes, there is a farther greater problem and a greater variety of issues regarding the insufficient compensation paid to the athletes from the NCAA. Pay the players adequately for the services they provide on the field.

Links and sources:

Click to access 192637.pdf

http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/antibull32&div=15&g_sent=1&collection=journals

http://nlcatp.org/5-critical-pros-and-cons-of-paying-college-athletes/

http://greengarageblog.org/12-primary-pros-and-cons-of-paying-college-athletes

Click to access 192637.pdf

Click to access 192637.pdf

Click to access 192637.pdf

Click to access 192637.pdf

Should Pete Rose Be Reinstated?

Most sports fans are familiar with Pete Rose’s story by now but if you aren’t here’s a quick background. Rose played the majority of his baseball career for the Cincinnati Reds and retired as the all time MLB hits leader, a record that he still holds today. Rose would eventually return to manage the Reds where he got into trouble; in 1989 he was caught placing bets on his team win games, (reportedly not only as a manager but in his playing days as well) which comes with a lifetime ban from the sport. To this day Rose is still banned which means that although he may be the greatest hitter of all time he will never receive the highest honour of being inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose has filed an appeal for reinstatement on four separate occasions, being turned down all four times. Rob Manfred took over as MLB commissioner to start the 2015 season so with a new man charge Rose once again filed an appeal for reinstatement. Manfred has now promised a deliberation by the end of this year, “On Thursday, September 24th, Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Pete Rose and his representatives at Major League Baseball’s New York office regarding Mr. Rose’s application for reinstatement. Commissioner Manfred informed Mr. Rose that he will make a decision on his application by the end of the calendar year. Both parties have agreed to refrain from further comment.”-Statement released by Major League Baseball

 

Does he deserve to be reinstated?

This is a challenging ethical question since on one hand Rose knew better than to bet on baseball. After an infamous betting scandal in 1919 where eight players from the Chicago Black Sox took money from gamblers in return for intentionally losing games everyone knew that participating in betting on the sport while playing came with a lifetime ban. In addition to this previous incident it is clearly outlined in the MLB rulebook as well:

Rule 21 MISCONDUCT, (d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES, Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

Pete Rose has become the poster boy for the severity that the MLB views gambling on baseball if you’re involved with the sport. His lifetime ban being upheld sends a message to current players that gambling will not be tolerated. Many people associated with Major League Baseball agree that Rose deserves to continue serving his lifetime suspension including former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who when asked about the topic said, “You have got to be out. He has got to be suspended for life…If you are stupid enough to go out and bet on your own team and bet on baseball, there has got to be something wrong. If my brother did it I’d say the same thing.” –Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame Manager.

Pete Rose Hit #4192

 Now looking at the other side of the spectrum, everyone agrees that Rose deserved to be punished for his actions, however is the severity really necessary? As a society we have been historically forgiving, we’ve forgiven many criminals who have committed terrible crimes but haven’t found it within ourselves to forgive a man for betting on baseball. Bobby Valentine former New York Mets manager spoke with Sports Illustrated recently and said,

There’s a big sign on the wall, we all know that,” Valentine says. “Gambling is not allowed. And I think it’s a societal situation now, he served his 25 years, you know, murder’s not allowed either, but second-degree murder, you can get out of jail after 25 years.”-Bobby Valentine, former manager.

Even taking a look inside Major League Baseball we find a plethora of situations where players and managers have been pardoned for seemingly inexcusable acts. Mark McGwire was found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs and he now works in the sport. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz were all suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs and they’re all back playing the game and being celebrated as great athletes. Leo Desrocher, the manager who used a buzzer and telescope system to tip his batters on what the next pitch would, which allowed his New York Giants to win the 1951 National League pennant, is in the Hall of Fame.

This being said I feel strongly that as each of these men before him have been forgiven for their mistakes, Rose should be giventhe same courtesy by Major League Baseball. Although Pete Rose may not have been ethical in his actions it would also be unethical of us as a society not to forgive him. He has paid his dues so now lets give him the credit he deserves as an all time great baseball player and put him in the Hall of Fame.

 

Works Cited:

Woo, Jeremy. “Sports News, Scores and Highlights from Sports Illustrated.”SI.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Sports News | Fox News.” Fox News. FOX News Network, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Weinberg, Rick. “Pete Rose Banned From Baseball.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 09 Apr. 2004. Web. 23 Nov. 2015

Additional Material:

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13114874/notebook-obtained-lines-shows-pete-rose-bet-baseball-player-1986

http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/6-things-to-know-about-the-pete-rose-ban.html/?a=viewall

http://www.biography.com/people/pete-rose-39483

Can Sports Officials Change The Way The Game Is Played?

Every single game or sport in existence has some sort of referee or official to delegate the rules of the game and to make sure no one is cheating. However, officials can cause a lot of controversy in sports and can sometimes change the entire way a game is played. Many people have problems with the way certain sports are officiated or with certain calls an official will make. Officials can generate a lot of violence or aggression from players, fans coaches etc, of a team is a call is not made in their favour. Officials are also human like all the players on the field and therefore cannot see certain things or may have different ideas about what is right or wrong concerning the game play or players actions.dysonbatflip

When playing a game a player has to accept that there will be certain rules to follow that are delegated by an official. Officials can make a lot of mistakes, they are only human! However, this can affect the way a game is played or a game outcome, or whether an athlete wins a race or not. For example, I am a varsity athlete myself playing a variety of sports growing up, however focusing on field hockey in university. During one of our games this year a goal was rewarded against the rules after the ball hit a players foot and went in. In the game field hockey, if the ball hits your foot it then automatically must go to the other team, therefore the goal would have been called off and my team would have got the ball. However, the official did not see the ball hit the players foot, therefore the goal was rewarded and my team lost an important game 1-0. These kind of things matter, especially in games that really count and could have decided a team’s fate in the season. Another example from a professional sport is a basketball game between the Celtics and the Lakers. A ball is hit out of bounds, but it is hard to tell which team hit it out. On the video replay it is evident that the Celtics player hit the ball out, however the official still gives the Celtics the ball and keeps the call them same. Is that ethically right to do so even with video replay evidence?

americanfootball

Doping in sports has always been considered something bad and those who do are called cheaters. It is thought that one is not playing the game if they are cheating because they have an unfair advantage over everyone else involved. However, people always have problems with officials and how their performance affects the game play. What if officials started doping instead of athletes? They could take performance enhancing drugs that could improve their eyesight, their reaction times and their memory on game rules. They could also become fitter and depending on the sport be able to get up and down the field or ice or whatever playing surface quicker to chance more mistakes and/or rule breaking without missing anything. Is this ethically okay, because technically these officials are not playing the game they are officiating it, therefore it would not be cheating to dope. However, this is an interesting subject because some official sport organizations such as Fifa believe that officials are considered “part of the game” and therefore should also be drug tested just like the players. For example Michel D’Hooghe, the chairman of Fifa’s medical committee, added: “The referee is an athlete on the field so I think he should be subjected to the same rules” (Referees set for performance-enhancing drug tests, says Fifa, the guardian.com). So really it depends on the game that is being played, however I believe having referees who are more aware would definitely change the game for the better.

Officials all make mistakes, sometimes causing a lot of violence or aggression from fans, players, coaches etc. Is it ethically okay to be mad at an official who makes a mistake when they are only human? People make mistakes all the time daily, some big and some small. However it seems when an official makes even a small mistake people can get very violent and upset. Many sports are meant to be played violently, for example football and rugby, however it when coaches or players get mad at officials the game can become dangerous.

Is it really fair play when officials can decide the way the game is played and could be biased against a certain team? Research has found that home advantage really is a thing and sometimes when officials support a certain team they are biased towards making calls against the other team. According to freaknomics.com “The social atmosphere in the stadium leads referees into favouritism although being impartial is optimal for them to maximize their re-appointment probability” (Dubner, Stephan, freaknomics.com). This is an interesting point because is it really fair play or ethical that a crowd manipulates a referee to think a certain way?

Therefore, yes it is believed that officials can manipulate and change the way a game is played and there are many ethical dilemmas and concerns associated around the entire topic, all very interesting to look into. The most interesting I believe is whether or not it is okay for officials to dope and whether that is ethical or not towards the game as a whole. Many officials get a bad rap because everyone makes mistakes and sometimes mistakes can be made at the wrong times. Thus, I believe that officials should get get cut some slack because it is such a crazy and stressful job when you could decide whether a team wins or loses.


Additional information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7dOWwm3IUQ

http://www.rugbyquebec.com/uploads/AARQ/documents/Qualities_of_a_Referee.pdf


Works Cited

“Practical Ethics.” Practical Ethics. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

“Referees Set for Performance-enhancing Drug Tests, Says Fifa.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 24 May 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Dubner, Stephan. ““Football Freakonomics”: How Advantageous Is Home-Field Advantage? And Why?” Freakonomics RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

#250742611

Can Sports Officials Change The Way The Game Is Played?

Every single game or sport in existence has some sort of referee or official to delegate the rules of the game and to make sure no one is cheating. However, officials can cause a lot of controversy in sports and can sometimes change the entire way a game is played. Many people have problems with the way certain sports are officiated or with certain calls an official will make. Officials can generate a lot of violence or aggression from players, fans coaches etc, of a team is a call is not made in their favour. Officials are also human like all the players on the field and therefore cannot see certain things or may have different ideas about what is right or wrong concerning the game play or players actions.dysonbatflip

When playing a game a player has to accept that there will be certain rules to follow that are delegated by an official. Officials can make a lot of mistakes, they are only human! However, this can affect the way a game is played or a game outcome, or whether an athlete wins a race or not. For example, I am a varsity athlete myself playing a variety of sports growing up, however focusing on field hockey in university. During one of our games this year a goal was rewarded against the rules after the ball hit a players foot and went in. In the game field hockey, if the ball hits your foot it then automatically must go to the other team, therefore the goal would have been called off and my team would have got the ball. However, the official did not see the ball hit the players foot, therefore the goal was rewarded and my team lost an important game 1-0. These kind of things matter, especially in games that really count and could have decided a team’s fate in the season. Another example from a professional sport is a basketball game between the Celtics and the Lakers. A ball is hit out of bounds, but it is hard to tell which team hit it out. On the video replay it is evident that the Celtics player hit the ball out, however the official still gives the Celtics the ball and keeps the call them same. Is that ethically right to do so even with video replay evidence?

americanfootball

Doping in sports has always been considered something bad and those who do are called cheaters. It is thought that one is not playing the game if they are cheating because they have an unfair advantage over everyone else involved. However, people always have problems with officials and how their performance affects the game play. What if officials started doping instead of athletes? They could take performance enhancing drugs that could improve their eyesight, their reaction times and their memory on game rules. They could also become fitter and depending on the sport be able to get up and down the field or ice or whatever playing surface quicker to chance more mistakes and/or rule breaking without missing anything. Is this ethically okay, because technically these officials are not playing the game they are officiating it, therefore it would not be cheating to dope. However, this is an interesting subject because some official sport organizations such as Fifa believe that officials are considered “part of the game” and therefore should also be drug tested just like the players. For example Michel D’Hooghe, the chairman of Fifa’s medical committee, added: “The referee is an athlete on the field so I think he should be subjected to the same rules” (Referees set for performance-enhancing drug tests, says Fifa, the guardian.com). So really it depends on the game that is being played, however I believe having referees who are more aware would definitely change the game for the better.

Officials all make mistakes, sometimes causing a lot of violence or aggression from fans, players, coaches etc. Is it ethically okay to be mad at an official who makes a mistake when they are only human? People make mistakes all the time daily, some big and some small. However it seems when an official makes even a small mistake people can get very violent and upset. Many sports are meant to be played violently, for example football and rugby, however it when coaches or players get mad at officials the game can become dangerous.

Is it really fair play when officials can decide the way the game is played and could be biased against a certain team? Research has found that home advantage really is a thing and sometimes when officials support a certain team they are biased towards making calls against the other team. According to freaknomics.com “The social atmosphere in the stadium leads referees into favouritism although being impartial is optimal for them to maximize their re-appointment probability” (Dubner, Stephan, freaknomics.com). This is an interesting point because is it really fair play or ethical that a crowd manipulates a referee to think a certain way?

Therefore, yes it is believed that officials can manipulate and change the way a game is played and there are many ethical dilemmas and concerns associated around the entire topic, all very interesting to look into. The most interesting I believe is whether or not it is okay for officials to dope and whether that is ethical or not towards the game as a whole. Many officials get a bad rap because everyone makes mistakes and sometimes mistakes can be made at the wrong times. Thus, I believe that officials should get get cut some slack because it is such a crazy and stressful job when you could decide whether a team wins or loses.


Additional information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7dOWwm3IUQ

http://www.rugbyquebec.com/uploads/AARQ/documents/Qualities_of_a_Referee.pdf


Works Cited

“Practical Ethics.” Practical Ethics. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

“Referees Set for Performance-enhancing Drug Tests, Says Fifa.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 24 May 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Dubner, Stephan. ““Football Freakonomics”: How Advantageous Is Home-Field Advantage? And Why?” Freakonomics RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

#250742611

Could we be hurting our children by protecting them too much?

imgres.jpgimgres.jpg

In this day and age there is a never ending flow of things that we need to protect our children from.  There has been a push in recent years to make play safer for children, and it begs the question, is this in the best interest of our children?

Many parents worry about their children playing outside the home.  In order to protect them from getting hurt they simply don’t allow them to go out and play and instead keep them at home.  Children are less active today then ever before, spending more time sitting down at home in front of screens.  Research has shown that the current generation of children spend the majority of their day sitting, which is associated with all kinds of negative health effects.   It seems as though some parents attempts at safety my harm children more then actually help them.

There is obvious value to play.  It is more then just fun.  It is a fundamental part of childhood that fosters children’s physical and emotional and social development.  Many argue that children have a right to play, and that it is the responsibility of society to ensure all children get to play.

Some wonder however whether or not there is a place for dangerous play in a child’s life.  Could taking risks and doing things that are dangerous, without being stopped by adults be a good thing for children?  One philosopher has argued that there is in fact important value in risky play for children. When raising children, we need to prepare them for adulthood, part of which is learning how to make safe choices.  So, allowing children to make risky choices and learn the consequences of those choices at an early age, is important as it can prepare them for later life.

This philosopher proposes an interesting thought experiment to illustrate his argument.  Suppose we had an army of Danger Averting Devices (DADs), whose job was to ensure no child ever got hurt while they played.  DADs would effectively eliminate all risk to a child’s safety and life.  Although at first this may seem to be a good thing, it is troubling because kids would not learn how to self regulate.  With DADs as an integral part of childhood, kids may start finding joy in things like jumping of tall buildings, or seeing how close they can get to being hit by a car.  Without any natural limits, children will grow up lacking the ability to think critically about potentially dangerous situations in their daily lives.

This does not mean that we should allow children to do whatever they’d like too.  For example, it would be irresponsible to let 3 year olds play unsupervised by a busy road, but letting children do age appropriate things is important.

So why does this matter?

The way children play today does not look the same as it did 50 years ago. Play has changed over time.  On the school yard, the rules and regulations have been established to protect children as much as possible.  Gone are the days of tackle football, baseball bats, and sliding on ice in the winter.  These activities have been banned because of the inherent risk for injury that goes along with them.  The lengths we are willing go to protect our kids from harm is astounding.  Some Toronto schools have even banned cartwheels on the grass surface, and believe it or not, an American school banned all tag games.  All of these restrictions placed on what kids are allowed to do has taken the fun out of play, and children are opting to spend their time doing other things.  Research has shown that the decline of play in children has lead to increased depression and anxiety, and decreased critical thinking skills and creativity.

imgres.jpg imgres.jpg

It seems reasonable to me that if we stop worrying so much about our children getting hurt, and start worrying about ensuring our kids are getting outside and playing, then overall they would be better off.  This means that children may go out and do things that end in scrapped knees, bruised elbows, or maybe even broken bones, but worse things could happen.  After all, we live in a country with great health care and the reality is, kids heal.  We are privileged enough to live in relatively peaceful neighbourhoods with safe places for our kids to play.   It does not seem right to take away the values of risky play simply to avoid a few superficial injuries.

The question that follows of course, is what is too dangerous for our kids, and where should we draw the line?  Some philosophers believe that we should only be concerned with risks that will have long term effects on children.  They think any injury that will have little to no effect on a child’s adult life should not be a primary concern.  For example, we should concern ourselves with head injuries because research has shown that head injuries at an early age can have lasting effects over the course of one’s lifetime.  For obvious reasons, it also makes sense to avoid risks that lead to death.

Our focus needs to shift to setting age appropriate limitations on what kinds of play it are acceptable for children to engage in.  This requires balancing the value of risky and dangerous play, with the value of protecting our children’s well being.

At the end of the day, it is important that we encourage kids to be kids and allow them to freely explore the world they life in.  Think back to the days of your parents or maybe even your grandparents.  Far less emphasis was placed on playing safe, and they learned valuable lessons from occasionally getting into trouble and getting hurt.

-Michael Pierce

References:

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 2007, 34, 176-193  “Children and Dangerous Sport and Recreation” John Russel, http://journals.humankinetics.com/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/11154.pdf

Children’s Right to Play: An Examination of the Importance of Play in the Lives of Children Worldwide. Working Papers in Early Childhood Development, No. 57, http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED52253

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/23/sitting-is-bad-for-children-too/?_r=0

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/09/18/schools-ban-on-cartwheels-leaves-a-few-heads-spinning.html

More on the value of play:

The Decline of play, By Peter Gray: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg-GEzM7iTk

http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

Click to access dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

Click to access dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

 

 

Are NFL Players Untouchable?

Since 2005 there has been twelve players in the national football league(NFL) arrested for domestic violence or related charges that are still playing in the NFL! Professional football players have found a way to commit violent crimes and still get to play the sport they love, making ridiculous amounts of money while only suffering a small suspension.

I grew up loving football but I am quickly loosing my love for the game. I feel as though when I watch football I am supporting abuse because of how easily the league shrugs it off. Nine out of the thirty-two teams have at least one athlete that has been arrested for violent crimes. Those are the ones who got caught! That means that almost one-third of the league condones such behaviour.

The NFL has one of the most broadcasted charity events that lasts an entire month caring for women with breast cancer. The players on all of the team’s wear pink all of October to spread awareness for breast cancer. Why is it that a league that appears to care so much about women has little to say about domestic abuse? It appears as though the NFL really does care about women when you look at all of the men wearing pink but could it also be that the only reason the NFL has the charity event it to attract women viewers.

sports

The NFL gave Tom Brady a four game suspension because he was suspected of deflating footballs before the games yet there was no suspension given to Ray McDonald while he was being charged with domestic violence. The NFL is willing to suspend a player for possibly deflating balls but not for possibly being charged with abuse. The message the league is sending is that the game is worth more than a person’s safety.

A very famous case relating to the NFL players and domestic abuse is the the case of Ray Rice. Ray was caught on camera abusing a woman and he was suspended indefinitely from the league. This suspension made a statement that the league was no longer dealing lightly with domestic abuse but just two short months later the suspension was over turned and Ray Rice was back to playing football!

link to video of Ray Rice abusing his Fiancée

Football players continue to believe they are untouchable because of the lack of discipline. Domestic abuse is not the only form of abuse that has been caught in the NFL. Michael Vick was a star quarter back and was caught dog fighting. Vick and his associates trained over fifty bull dogs and called it the “Bad Newz Kennels”. They staged dog fights, killed dogs and gambled over who would win. In 2007 Michael and his associates executed eight dogs for not preforming. The executions involved drowning, hanging and slamming the dogs to the ground. Vick was suspended infinitely from the NFL. After two years out of the league, on July 27, 2009 Michael Vick was back in the NFL. How is it that a man that displayed that amount of violence, hosting dog fights for over six years is allowed to play in the NFL just two years after being suspended?

The NFL needs to make adjustments if they want me and viewers like me to continue to watch a support the NFL. Players do these acts of violence and then give a public apology and everything is swept under the rug and the players are back on the field a few games later. We advertise these athletes as roll models for children, its who they want to grow up to be. How is it ethically okay to allow children to look up to and aspire to be men that abuse woman and get away with it.

If a President of a company was arrested for domestically abusing his wife, he would be fired before he was even charged. Why is It that we treat professional athletes like kids, who just need a time out every now and then. I think it is time that we start treating athletes not only as adults but to a higher standard then the average person because of how much influence they have on those around them. When someone hears about a domestic abuse case in the NFL no one bats an eye because it is constantly happening but if people heard that a CEO of a fortune 500 company had been abusing his wife, people would be outraged. The only difference between the CEO and the football player is that the football player hits people for a living and its good at it. A football player could probably do ten times the damage an average business man can do to another human being yet it’s the business man will most likely face ten times the consequences.

link to video of Desmond Hague abusing a small dog
http://globalnews.ca/news/1528859/centerplate-ceo-des-hague-resigns-over-dog-abuse-video/

Desmond Hague the former CEO of Centerplate stepped down after getting caught abusing a small dog. Desmond lost the company he loves because he was caught on camera abusing a dog one time. Michael Vick on the other hand abused and killed dogs for six years and is still doing what he loves with very little consequences. The difference between Vick and Hague is that Hague got caught making one mistake while Vick got caught with six years of them. Desmond Hague’s career is ruined for abusing one dog while Michael Vicks career only had a two-year suspension for abusing and killing numerous amounts of dogs.

The NFL’s main goal needs to be finding a way to separate an athlete from the game and life at home. The athletes need to learn that hitting can’t solve all of their problems. The NFL is going to have a find a way to monitor their athletes and make sure they are communicating in a safe way with those around them. The Penalties must become more severe for these acts of violence.

Additional reading:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/nfl-sponsors-pulling-back-but-not-out-over-domestic-violence-scandal-1.2771730

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/nfl-controversy/still-playing-12-nfl-players-have-domestic-violence-arrests-n204831

http://aldf.org/resources/laws-cases/animal-fighting-case-study-michael-vick/

Resources:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/nfl-sponsors-pulling-back-but-not-out-over-domestic-violence-scandal-1.2771730

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/nfl-controversy/still-playing-12-nfl-players-have-domestic-violence-arrests-n204831

http://aldf.org/resources/laws-cases/animal-fighting-case-study-michael-vick/

http://globalnews.ca/news/1528859/centerplate-ceo-des-hague-resigns-over-dog-abuse-video/

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/the-nfls-pink-october-does-not-raise-money-for-cancer-research

Girls Gone Wild!! An explanation for increased violence among female athletes

The increased violence in sports has become a heated discussion among players, commissioners, and fans alike, but the rise of violence in women’s sport is being framed as an even larger problem—why is that? The problem lies not only in how we define violence, but in how we regard female athletes.

One of the issues in the discussion of violence arises when we try to define violence itself. People have different definitions of what constitutes violence. The words assertive, aggressive, and violent are thrown around interchangeably, but when discussing violence in sport, they each have a specific meaning. Let’s use Jim Parry’s definitions in this discussion:

  • Assertion is the use of necessary force to defend or protect one’s self
  • Aggression is a proactive means of attaining a goal without the use of violence
  • Violence has to do with the intent to hurt

Both assertion and aggression are deemed acceptable by sports fans and athletes alike—they are both encouraged as “part of the game.”

When examining violence in sport, let’s reference Michael D. Smith’s 4 types of violence in sports:

  1. Brutal body contact: physical practices that are common to sports and are accepted by the athletes as part of the action and risk involved in participating – e.g. collisions, hits, tackles, blocks, body checks
  2. Borderline violence: physical practices that violate the rules of the game but are accepted by players, coaches, referees, and fans – e.g. strategic elbowing/kneeing in soccer and basketball, fighting in hockey
  3. Quasi-criminal violence: physical practices that violate formal rules and informal norms accepted by players and may result in a fine or short-term suspension – e.g. cheap shots, late hits
  4. Criminal violence: physical practices outside the formal rules of sport and the laws of society – e.g. assault that occurs after the game ends

Brutal body contact, borderline violence, and quasi-criminal violence are expected at the professional level of sports—for men. Violence in sport is viewed as an appropriate to strategy to maintain excitement and drama. Violent acts can even be deemed heroic. When women show aggressive or violent behaviour it is often deemed over the top, unnecessary, or a loss of self control. Though violence and aggression are acceptable methods for men to establish dominance and strength, women are not taught to practice violence and aggression, and they are frowned upon when they do. For example, a video of defender Elizabeth Lambert during a soccer game at the University of New Mexico in 2009 went viral after Lambert was spotted pushing, shoving, and finally, pulling her opponent down by the ponytail.

After the video surfaced, there were many mixed reactions from spectators. Some were shocked and horrified by Lambert’s actions, and others saw it no differently than what male athletes do on the field. It was agreed that the hair pulling was unacceptable, but what made Lambert’s actions most shocking was the fact that she is a female. Though women are being afforded more opportunities to play sports, they are still being held to the higher standards than men. In addition to being athletes, they must also be women. Women’s bodies are not yet equal to men’s and clear markers of femininity are still called for.

Iris Young presents a unique perspective on the way women are taught to use their bodies. Her example is a comparison of two young children, a boy and a girl, learning to throw a ball. Boys are taught to throw the ball with all their might, engaging as much of their body as they need. Girls, on the other hand, are taught in a similar way, but with an emphasis on fragility and self-consciousness. Because females are objectified in almost all aspects life, they are prone to viewing themselves as objects, rather than agents. This emphasis on femininity teaches girls to be conscious of how they look performing a task, rather than on the task itself. When women view themselves like everyone else does, as objects, they begin to hold themselves to different standards. Because women are assumed fragile and overly conscious of their actions, when female athletes show the slightest bit of aggressiveness during a game, they are immediately scrutinized for being too violent.

This perfectly illustrates how young girls feel the need to express their femininity in a venue where that shouldn’t matter.

How can the perception of female athletes change in order to allow them to play aggressively without being accused of being overly violent? What would you suggest?

 

For further reading:

The Issue with Fighting in Hockey

The one aspect that hockey is renowned for is the acceptance of fighting. No other team sport (other than lacrosse) allows fighting to take place. In other sports like baseball, football and basketball, the players who engage in fighting are ejected from the game and face some type of consequence from the league. This punishment can be in the form of a fine, suspension or a combination of both. Either way these sports do not have a tolerance for fighting. However, in hockey, it is still a big part of the game and can even be encouraged for players to do so. The issue with fighting is that it can have a negative impact on the player’s health later in life.

Enforcers, the players who were looked upon to fight on a regular basis, are expected game in and game out to be the agitator. To get under the other teams skin, and to be the one who sticks up and fights for their teammates so that the star players don’t have too. If a team heavily relies on these players to do this, then there is the potential for them to be in many fights during the course of a season. Fights in hockey may add to the excitement for the sport from a fans perspective, but a lot of these players, who fight regularly, have been shown to have serious health risks from it. These players can suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). According to neuroscientist Dr. Charles Tator, CTE is a “specific type of brain degeneration that occurs after repetitive trauma like multiple concussions”. Throughout their careers these players are suffering many concussions and many blows to the head that can trigger CTE. A former enforcer in the NHL, Mike Peluso, who has joined the concussion lawsuit against the NHL, said in an article for the Globe and Mail that “I suffered at least 10 concussions from fighting. Probably many more”. Suffering numerous head injuries can have serious consequences after their hockey careers are over. Former players can suffer from serious depression, among other symptoms as a result of this. Former NHL enforcers who have suffered from CTE and depression, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard, have passed away at an early age from suicide or overdose. Wade Belak was also said to have suffered from depression and passed had committed suicide. He was only 35 years old. These are not the only cases as many other players are suffering from this as well.

According to neurosurgeon Robert Cantu, CTE is the result of a high concentration of protein that builds up in the brain where it should not. The highest concentration of protein occurs in the medial temporal lobe. The functions associated with this part of the brain are:

  • Memory
  • Impulse control
  • Addiction
  • Emotions
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

When this part of the brain is damaged by CTE, they will experience problems with these functions.

Colton Orr, George Parros

Montreal Canadians forward, George Parros, was knocked unconscious after hitting his head on the ice during a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colton Orr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of ex-NHL enforcers who were well known around the NHL. These players have suffered from CTE and/ or depression and have passed away as a result of it

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2015/09/22/list-of-nhl-enforcers-who-have-passes-away-gets-longer.html

 

During their time in the NHL, they were expected to fight whenever necessary. The consequence of this was trainers and coaches forcing players back from injury before they were fully healed. Peluso mentions this and says that during a workout he had experienced a grand mal seizure; “I sat out for just two weeks before the team doctors again pushed me back onto the ice. I was never seen by a neurologist”.

In his paper, Dazed and Confused, Brad Partridge discusses “how player health and safety are not always the priority for some coaches”. He further goes on to say how team doctors often feel pressure from coaches to make a rushed decision to clear a player from injury despite the risks to their health. This is evident that this occurs in the NHL (and other sports as well) with concussions. The coaches and doctors may not always prioritize the player’s health due to the mentality of “winning comes first” in professional sports. As a result a player can be rushed back from injury before they are 100%. If they view themselves as part of the team, then the doctors may feel responsible for the result of a game based on their decision to allow a player to play or not. This pressure can further lead to players being prematurely cleared to play. In addition to this, coaches and doctors can feel added pressure from the owners due to the control they have over their jobs. This may result in them putting their jobs before the player’s health. This was evident with Mike Peluso, as he was rushed back to play even though he suffered from a serious seizure. His safety and welfare was not the priority.

Is it right to put the sport before a player’s health? Or at very least without informing the players of the possible health risks associated with playing? Peluso mentions that “we did whatever the league told us to do… foolishly believed they had our best interests at heart. The league failed to take care of us”. Additionally, Peluso wished that the players were sat down, and were informed about the effects it would have on their brains and how it could impact them years after they retired. It doesn’t seem fair for the players to give everything to the NHL and to the game, and in return, when it mattered most, for the NHL to not put their health first.

Throughout an NHL career, a regular fighter can receive countless punches to the head. The outcome of this can be devastating to their long- term health. Players who suffer from CTE will have to fight depression and other symptoms of this injury for the rest of their lives. A sad outcome of this is players have committed suicide to escape depression. No sport should be prioritized before a player’s health. As a result, I believe fighting in hockey should be banned as a player’s health should be the main priority.

 

By,

Sheldon Sawchyn

 

References

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/are-nhl-enforcers-addictions-depression-a-result-of-on-ice-brain-trauma-1.982100

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/when-the-game-is-over-the-enforcers-suffering-has-only-just-begun/article24120626/

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/episode-252-affordable-housing-studying-hockey-players-brains-salman-rushdie-and-ploughing-election-signs-1.3242118/why-a-leading-neuroscientist-wants-the-brains-of-hockey-players-1.3242270

Partridge, Brad. (2013). Dazed and Confused: Sports Medicine, Conflicts of Interest, and Concussion Management. 65-74. DOI: 10.1007/s11673-013-9491-2.

Participation Ribbons are the New Gold Medal.

I know it is cliché to open up with a quote but not quite as cliché as claiming that everybody is a winner. Youth soccer leagues are contemplating ridding of formal score keeping. This means that Vince Lombardi’s repertoire of inspirational quotes becomes meaningless along with the thrill of watching a spanish soccer game without hearing the announcers wail the word “GOAL!” for a sustained 30 seconds.  Leagues 12 and under  soccer teams will be affected by the lack of score keeping that will be implemented in youth soccer across Canada. These young athletes will never know what it feels like to win or lose or even a dreadful tie. As a child, keeping score and winning was the be all and end all of sport. Soccer has made up a huge part of my life, I have played since the age of 4 and can recall the first goal I scored and remember winning my first game ever. It’s the euphoria you feel when winning that makes sport enjoyable.

“Athletes always risk failure. They risk finding out something that they don’t want to know. Because athletic agon pursues the truth, it often destroys comfortable illusions about ourselves and others. On the other hand, we may discover virtues in ourselves that we never thought we had. But winning is only possible if you are able to risk losing, just as wisdom is only possible is you are able to admit ignorance” – Heather Reid

The notion of keeping score seems to coincide with what it is to be a sport. It is winning and losing that teaches children loosely about who they are, for example, how to accept defeat and how to be a humble victor. With the elimination of score keeping in soccer, children will experience a different feeling at the final whistle than say you or I ever did at the end of a gruesome, well fought 90 minutes. Win or lose you discovered an aspect of yourself that stays with your person.

Monica Mcdonald, the mother of Tessa who plays in a north Toronto soccer league feels the effects of the rule change. She fears that the young athletes will not enter a lusory attitude or a level of motivation that makes sports as intense as they should be. In retrospect, knowing that a sport did not involve a winner or loser would strip the whole appeal of a sport. Attending games is a social gathering, building a camaraderie

Some believe that when you put an overemphasis on competition, individual skill development regresses, and that’s what’s happened in our game for so long. In athletics, the main driving force is to beat the competition.  Heather Reid argues that athletic competition and Socratic philosophy both aim at virtue, at human excellence. Athletic competition is not just physical, but to compete athletically is to struggle for a kind of perfection that encompasses the whole body. I cant help but notice the fact that the use of the word competition is scattered throughout her statement and to be redundant, competition to its core requires a winner and a loser.

This rule is in talks of being implemented to reduced athlete drop-out in youth under 15 years old. Organizations fear young athletes will feel an immense stress to be a winner. The fear of being a loser is sought to be the source of drop-out. It is not the score that makes young athletes feel this way but the coaches, peers and even over enthusiastic parents that taunt other children on the feel for not being an all-star.
Sports played at a young age may be played for instrumental goods but as you grow up it has an intrinsic aspect. Intrinsic good is a something that is not means to something else. It is done for its enjoyment and how it makes the individual feel. How winning makes you ecstatic and losing makes you miserable but for some reason you want to do it all again week after week.
Competition is an innate thing is some athletes. Little league coaches  claim that they  aren’t into the philosophy of not keeping score, because it does matter and anyone who says it doesn’t matter is lying because we know that kids think it matters. The kids are keeping score and rightfully so.  Sports have a prelusory goal, in the case of soccer it is to get the ball passed the goal line and into the opponents net. Without the objective of winning, what is the new prelusory goal? Who can have more fun? This sounds facetious but these prelusory goals become so arbitrary to the sport almost defeating the true meaning of soccer.

I don’t want to live in a world where every child thinks they are a winner. Don’t get me wrong, no child deserves to feel like a loser. Psychologists need to discover an age at which children are able to accept defeat and not be traumatized by its sensation. By the age of 12, a child is intelligent enough to keep score and realize if they are winning or losing so why not keep the score public. It is not the competition in sport that cause children to become bitter with sport and drop out as this rule is set out to do. There are extraneous factors that are the reason for the dropping out of many young athletes.

If you reminisce to your elementary years, could you imagine a recess period without picking up the soccer ball and asking your pal, “hey are you going to keep score?” That question was the proverbial whistle that begun they game. Without that question there would be no recess activity and as an active young adult i attribute my level of health and activity due to my enjoyment of sports that was rooted in the idea of competition, winning or losing and marking down the score on my printed out schedule that was held to the fridge with a magnet that enclosed a picture of myself, classically standing in my timbits uniform with one foot on the ball and a smile larger than the Milky Way.

Supplementary reading:

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2013/02/ideological-battles-over-elimination-scorekeeping-youth-soccer

http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2013/02/16/ontario_youth_soccer_to_stop_keeping_score_standings.html

http://blog.sportssignup.com/blog/bid/184962/Is-Playing-a-Game-with-No-Winner-Good-for-Youth-Sports-Programs

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/no-winners-children-still-keeping-score-despite-move-to-end-sports-competition

Supplementary Video:

Professional Athletes as Role Models

DISCLAIMER: Not all as Heroic as they may appear

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 11.56.13 AM
4  MLB superstars that all cheated

Every year, there are numerous scandals involving professional athletes that prove they are not the super-humans we believe them to be. These allegations remove them from the pedestals from which they are worshipped. Yes, their lives are heavily scrutinized, but as the famous saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”. These athletes willingly accept the spotlight in exchange for fame, and therefore must act responsibly and appropriately.

Not all athletes are academics, and some have only achieved high school diplomas. Then there are those who had the privilege to go to college, but maybe shouldn’t have been allowed to be there (Derrick Rose). Professional athletes should realize that they are constantly in the public eye, and doing something as unspeakable as assaulting your spouse (Ray Rice) or raping a 19-year-old girl (Kobe Bryant), will surely have negative repercussions.

That is not to say that all athletes are bad people. It is, however, ingrained in us as humans to remember a single bad event, and disregard the hundreds of good ones. This is known as the availability heuristic, or the mental shortcut of remembering events that are salient in our minds, and discount the other events.


Personal Experience

I write about this because I grew up an enormous sports fan. I idolized them, and wanted nothing more than be a pro. The Not-so-great role models Tiger Woods, and Barry Bonds were my heroes. Lance Armstrong, had the same type of cancer as my father, and seeing him overcome it was a source of hope and inspiration to me. If he was able to beat cancer and go back and be the best in the world, why couldn’t my dad?

Okay, so maybe we can forgive the cheaters such as Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong. As David Callahan writes in his book The Cheating Culture “to not dope on the Tour De France is akin to playing by your own rules, rather than the prevailing rules of sport.”[1] – Martin Jemison, who raced with Lance Armstrong

armstrong2

That being said, I don’t think we can forgive the athletes who physically hurt, or endanger the lives of others. Whether that be domestic abuse, or a DUI.


Research

When comparing high-risk athletes to the rest of the population, athletes seem to score higher in narrow-mindedness, and selfishness than non-athletes[2]. This meaning that they are less likely to think about the consequences of their actions, as they cannot as easily see the big picture. Self-control and self-efficacy is high in athletes during the season, and declines during the offseason, providing a valid reason for why most scandals occur when they aren’t preoccupied by their sport[3]


Case in Point

One of my favourite players in the NHL is Dustin Byfuglien He has gotten multiple DUI’s despite being the Winnipeg Jets most beloved player. In the offseason, he continues to set a horrible example for children who want to grow up just like him. Aside from community service, Dustin Byfuglien has gotten off without a scrape, partially because he is a professional athlete. There were no repercussions from the league, or his team. There seems to be a different set of laws for athletes, as they almost never seem to end up in jail. For example, Semyon Varlamov who kidnapped his children and assaulted his wife, was released without jail-time and returned to the NHL within a two weeks’ time. Could this partially be attributed to him being one of the best goalies in the NHL? It is hard to think otherwise.(READ MORE on Athletes being above the law HERE.) Athletes being above the law is a horrible example to set for children, because it teaches them they are invincible, and the crimes they commit aren’t that bad after all.

–> It is unclear whether athletes should be used as role models. It is controversial because they are representing a city and therefore should act accordingly. On the other hand, they are human and make mistakes. This is an ongoing, controversial topic that can be seen many different ways.


After researching this topic, I feel that it is not fair to group athletes together. There are some athletes, such as Cy Young winning pitcher: Clayton Kershaw of the L.A. Dodgers, who runs multiple orphanages in Africa. He has won multiple philanthropic awards, such as the Branch Rickey Award in 2013 for “individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.”  

Kershaw better.jpg

Clayton Kershaw and his wife at their orphanage

Each athlete should be looked at differently, and it is up to parents to shape their child and teach them who is an appropriate role model.


Class Concept

In Heather Reid’s paper (2005) Athletic Competition as Socratic Philosophy she argues that we must look beyond the game to find its social meaning. It is not necessarily who is the best, but rather the effect the athlete has on its spectators. When she says “athletes know that performance in sport is as much a matter of soul as sinew” it suggests that there is an all-encompassing component that goes beyond the physical aspect of sport. To be an athlete requires the whole person, meaning that they must be virtuous on and off-the-field to be successful.

Plato criticized athletes lives of vice and excess by saying they lack moderation (Republic 410cff). Reid argues that aretē, or moral excellence is the only real and lasting prize in life. People, including athletes that posses aretē; are the people that we should use as role models.


Wrap-Up & Opinion

From the point at which an athlete distinguishes himself from their classmates for their God-given talents, they are excused from assignments, and given special treatment. When they do something wrong, administration is more likely to turn a blind eye because they don’t want their star-athletes being expelled. This pampering of athletes needs to stop because it leads to athletes feeling they are untouchable, and can do no wrong. In my opinion we should hold athletes accountable, and not rely on the bad ones as role models. Instead, we should pick athletes who are good people, and do good outside of the sport. The bottom line is, anyone can be your role model, but choose them for the person they are when they take their jersey off.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think that pro athletes should be viewed as role models to children?

Please comment below and give me your opinion.

Don’t forget to share this article on Facebook, or repost on Twitter!

Note: further reading links provided as hyperlinks within the text. Here are some additional links:

NFL has 15 cases of Domestic Violence in the past two years: http://www.si.com/nfl/2014/09/11/nfl-players-arrested-domestic-violence-assault

Lance Armstrong Admits Cheating to Oprah http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/oprah-winfrey-interview-lance-armstrong-drug-allegations-loss-18167993

NFL trying to stop on domestic violence: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nfl-announce-new-domestic-violence-742868

 

 Works Cited

[1] Callahan, D. (2007). The cheating culture: Why more Americans are doing wrong to get ahead. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

[2] Kajtna, T., Tušak, M., Barić, R., & Burnik, S. (2004). Personality in high-risk sports athletes. Kineziologija, 36(1), 24-34

[3] Paulhus, D., Molin, J., & Schuchts, R. (1979). Control profiles of football players, tennis players, and nonathletes. The Journal of Social Psychology, 108(2), 199-205.