Archive for March 2015

How Dare You Wear That Varsity Letter?

Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley will never make it to the Final Four. Not this year and not any year. He is both autistic and has Down syndrome. He plays on the special needs basketball team for Wichita East High School. He lives in a world most of us cannot imagine, but I am willing to guess that when he is on the basketball court, he does not feel like “special needs,” but special. If you have ever played a sport – any sport – for any level of athletics, from elementary school […]

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Ronda Rousey: What do we want from her?

Ronda Rousey

I have known several serious martial artists in my life. While it is always a bad idea to generalize, the men and women who are serious about their art, are among the finest athletes and people I have met. Now I need to make a distinction. By using the term martial artist, I am not referring to some clown who gets liquored up in a dive on a Saturday night and takes on the world with a bar stool and a pool cue or a guy who watches Bruce Lee […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: Darren Sharper’s Legacy

Darren Sharper

Why does a man (or woman) kill a legacy? What are the decisions that lead a person to wipe out everything they played for, everything they stood for and destroy it? While we are asking these questions, why would any sports fan or sports writer suggest that when we consider a player for the HOF that his or her off the field behavior should not be taken into account? Darren Sharper had a 14 year run with the NFL. The Super Bowl winning, All-Pro safety with the New Orleans Saints, […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: Not Like You Care

Bernard Pierce

“Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I’m getting cut tomorrow, not like you care.” – Bernard Pierce, RB Baltimore Ravens This is where the diehard fans invariably stop following me. It is when I talk about bad choices leading to bad consequences, where I dare to suggest that drunk drivers are wrong, and that professional athletes had better be damn careful before they do something stupid. “Chuck, what are you some kind of wimp/good-two-shoes/Mr. Perfect? All the guy did was have a few […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: Chris Borland and the Ethical Truth

Chris Borland

“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health. From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.” – Chris Borland Chris Borland, 24 years old, has made the decision to walk away from professional football. He is worried about head trauma and where the head injuries might lead him. He is not retiring because he can’t play the game; in his rookie season the LB had 108 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. He is not retiring because of bullying or […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: Pass Laws to Protect Officials!


A 36 year-old man was sentenced anywhere from 8 to 15 years in prison for the second-degree murder of 44-year-old John Bieniewicz, a referee in a Detroit soccer game. The murderer was not a professional soccer player and John Bieniewicz was not a professional referee. Bieniewicz was one of thousands of referees, umpires and other officials who trudge off every day to most any kind of amateur or high school sport you can imagine. I really don’t care what was going on in the player’s mind when his actions led […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: What’s the use of Title IX (If it leads to this)?

Girls Hockey

Title IX, if I am not mistaken, is now more than 40 years old. Time does pass quickly, and it was legislation that was needed decades before. However, I wonder if all the underlying attitudes have really changed – or if sometimes, coaches and officials are still more inclined to pat women and girls on the head instead of letting them play. For this blog, I draw upon a thought provoking article by Cam Smith for USA Today (March 10, 2015) entitled: “Disconnect emerges in Connecticut girls hockey title game […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: No Explanation Necessary

University of Oklahoma

Up until a day or two ago, Jean Delance was a top recruit for the University of Oklahoma football team. Rumor has it that he may be on his way to Alabama. Was this a sudden change of heart? No, not really. He was raised to know right and wrong and acted accordingly. This is an ethical young man, who was brought up ethically, reacting to a bunch of idiots at a fraternity. The fraternity was Sigma Alpha Epsilon and they decided to make a video for who-knows-what reason, with an inane […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: Syracuse University Blames NCAA for What?

Jim Boeheim

The dust is settling on the Syracuse basketball scandal. There’s a lot of posturing and finger-pointing as Jim Boeheim has gone from the bench to the hot seat. To all of the Syracuse fans out there; from the 90-year old alumni to the 1-year old whose great-grandpa just gave him a T-shirt, let me start with one strong point of agreement: Boeheim is a great coach. He wins games and he gets the most out of the talent of his players. I get that part of it and part of […]

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Sports Ethics Minute: Dump the name!

Lancaster High School

Imagine, just for a minute; a Sports Ethics minute, that your child went to a high school where about 15 percent of the students were from the same racial, ethnic or religious group. In fact, you and your child are also members of that group. Not so far-fetched. OK, we all got that image? Let us further imagine there is a negative name, character, trait or a behavior associated with your group; you know, a stereotype. You don’t like the name or character (or both) and it offends you and every other […]

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