The Sports Ethics Show: Blown Calls and Technology

Seth Bordner of The University of Alabama talks with Shawn E. Klein on The Sports Ethics Show about the problem of officiating mistakes in sport and how technology can and should be used to prevent and correct these mistakes.

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The Sports Ethics Show: College Basketball and Freshmen Ineligibility

With March Madness around the corner, our attention turns to college basketball. But with players going to the NBA sooner and with athlete compensation looming, many fans are concerned about the future of the college game. The rule for most of the 20th century was that college freshmen were not eligible to play varsity sports. This changed in the 1970s but the idea has recently been making a bit of comeback. Is it a panacea for the problems plaguing the NCAA or is just window dressing that fails to address the real problems. Professor Chad Carlson of Hope College joins The Sports Ethics Show to discuss this and other NCAA issues.

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Jackie Robinson West Little League Eligibility Violations

I was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article on the Jackie Robinson West Little League eligibility violations. These violations led Little League International to strip the team of its 2014 US Championship. JRW was the hit of the summer with their great run in the Little League World Series. The team’s wins are being vacated for having “knowingly violated Little League International Rules and Regulations by placing players on their team who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries.” (Little League International)

“Sports, boundaries and eligibility: a persistent issue” by Philip Hersh

Update: an earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Mo’ne Davis played for Jackie Robinson West.

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Filed under baseball, rule-violations, Youth Sports

Deadline Today: Sports Studies: The State of the Art

DEADLINE TODAY

“Sports Studies: The State of the Art”
4th Annual Rockford University Sports Studies Symposium
Date: April 24, 2015
Rockford University
5050 E. State. St.
Rockford, IL 61108

Along with its general popularity, sport as an object of academic study has been steadily growing for decades across disciplinary boundaries. As such, this year’s Sports Studies Symposium seeks to explore the state of the study of sport.

We invite papers that examine the current state of the study of sport; for example:

  • High-level descriptions of the current methodologies in a specific discipline as it relates to sport;
  • Analyses of the main active questions on which a specific discipline focuses when looking at sport;
  • Discussions of cross-disciplinary research or approaches to the study of sport.
  • Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list; a myriad of approaches are welcome and encouraged.

We invite and encourage contributors from any discipline.

Each presenter should plan on 20 minutes for his or her presentation. There will also be time for Q&A.

Abstract Submission:
Abstract should be 300-500 words. Send via email (as PDF) to sklein_at_rockford_dot_edu.

Deadline: 2/9/2015
Notification of Acceptance: No earlier than 2/16/2015

If you have any questions, please contact Shawn Klein: sklein_at_rockford_dot_edu or Michael Perry: mperry_at_rockford_dot_edu.

PDF: Call for Abstracts

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IAPS at Central APA: Additional Commentator Needed!

The IAPS session for the Central APA meeting in St. Louis, Missouri is scheduled for Thursday, February 19 at 5:30.

Aaron Harper of West Liberty University is presenting: “‘You’re the Best Around’: Reconsidering Athletic Excellence in Seasons and Playoffs”. Craig Carley of Phoenix College is scheduled to provide comments.

Craig, however, might not be able to attend for personal reasons. I am looking for anyone who would be willing to comment as either a replacement or in addition to Craig.

Maybe you are already attending the APA and would like something else to do? Maybe this topic interests you and this is a quick way to jump into the discussion?

Please contact me ASAP sklein@rockford.edu if you are interested and I will send you the paper (you can also check out Aaron and I discussing some of the ideas from the paper in my Sports Ethics podcast with Aaron on the Value of Playoffs and Championships).

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Deflate Gate Media Appearances

Who knew under-inflated footballs would cause such a stir! Over the last week, I’ve had a number of media appearances related to this issue. I’m trying to get a post out soon (this coincided with the first of class so I’ve had to attend to my ‘real’ job). Here’s the list of my ‘deflate-gate’ appearances (I will update as necessary):

Reed, Phillip. “Sports Ethics Expert From Rockford University Discusses ‘Deflate gate'” FOX WQRF 39 & ABC WTVO 17. Air Date: January 30, 2015. Web: http://www.mystateline.com/fulltext-news/d/story/sports-ethics-expert-from-rockford-university-disc/25822/NciecHQbjESjevINxOKlTA

Lothian, Dan. “Sports Ethicist Sees Honest Lesson in Deflategate” Heartbeings.com January 26, 2015. Web: http://www.heartbeings.com/sports-ethicist-sees-honest-lesson-deflategate/

ESPN The Classroom, Marist College Center for Sports Communication. 1220 ESPN. January 24, 2015. Web (podcast): http://espntheclassroom.podomatic.com/entry/2015-01-24T09_33_16-08_00

Huffpost Live “The Latest on Deflate Gate” January 23, 2015. Web: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/deflate-gate/54bfe93078c90a13b500019f

CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello. January 23, 2015. Transcript: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1501/23/cnr.04.html Video Archive: http://archive.org/details/CNNW_20150123_150000_CNN_Newsroom_With_Carol_Costello#start/2040/end/2100

Maese, Rick. “Patriots, Bill Belichick walk, sometimes cross, line between competitiveness and cheating” Washington Post, January 22, 2015. Web: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/patriots-bill-belichick-walk-sometimes-cross-line-between-competitiveness-and-cheating/2015/01/22/e4152bf4-a271-11e4-91fc-7dff95a14458_story.html

Spewak, Danny. “Science Claims Deflategate Was No Accident!” WGRZ, Buffalo, NY. January 22, 2015. Web: http://www.wgrz.com/story/sports/2015/01/22/sports-science-for-the-patriots/22184649/

Alesia, Mark. “Sports ethics experts analyze Belichick, ‘DeflateGate’” Indianapolis Star, January 22, 20`5. Print (January 23, 2015) A1; A6. Web: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2015/01/22/sports-ethics-deflategate-bill-belichick-new-england-patriots-indianapolis-colts/22153199/

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The Sports Ethics Show: Pushing the Line: How far is too far?

New Sports Ethics Show Episode

How far is too far in the pursuit of victory? Great athletes push on the norms, rules, and boundaries of their games. This is part of what allows them to achieve excellence, but it also sometimes leads to crossing the line. Jack Bowen, blogger at the Santa Clara University Institute for Sports Law and Ethics blog, and Shawn Klein discuss several cases at the boundaries of the rules of sport: icing-the-kicker, non-traditional formations in the NFL, and “Deflation-gate.”

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The Sports Ethics Show: The Ethics of Fouls

New Sports Ethics Show Podcast

In the 2010 World Cup, Luis Suárez committed an infamous handball in the Uruguay and Ghana match that prevented Ghana from winning the match. This incident raised many questions about the propriety of strategic fouls. Erin Flynn of Ohio Wesleyan University joins Shawn Klein on the podcast to discuss whether the commission of intentional fouls for strategic gain is blameworthy. In the course of the conversation, they touch on the value of winning and its relationship to skillful play.

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Chris Conte and Achilles

In comments to WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte said that “I’d rather have the experience of playing and, who knows, die 10, 15 years earlier than not be able to play in the NFL and live a long life.”

This sparked an interesting discussion on ESPN’s Mike and Mike morning show about the choice of professional and elite athletes to engage in their sport. Many sports, not just football, pose health risks to players. Football, though, is most salient because of its popularity, the physical and violent nature of the game, and the greater attention on concussions. Football players are likely more aware of the dangers they face in playing their game than other athletes and so they are in a better position to make the explicit trade off that Conte is talking about. And Conte is not alone in choosing the glorious short life over the quiet long life. The Mike and Mike show highlighted several football players who seemed to concur with Conte’s view.

What was particularly interesting, though, was that both Greenberg and Golic looked at this choice from the perspective of being in their late 40s and early 50s. Golic, a former professional football player, said something to the effect that when he was in his 20s he thought like Conte, but now as father at 52 he wouldn’t want to give up the longer life. In particular, he wasn’t willing now to forsake the values achievable in his more mature years: such as seeing his children grow up, get married, and have kids of their own. The Mikes took care not to invalidate the choice made by Conte and others, but expressed a warning that they might not think the same way when they got older. The trade-off might be obvious in one direction when you are 22 years old, but it might be just as obvious the other way when you are 50.

The discussion of this trade-off and which choice is better choice is not new.

In Book 9 of the Illiad, Achilles tells us of his fate:

“My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may meet my end. If I stay here and fight, I shall not return alive but my name will live for ever: whereas if I go home my name will die, but it will be long ere death shall take me.” (http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/iliad.9.ix.html)

Achilles obviously travels the path of staying at Troy and fighting. And we know that he dies after the close of the Illiad. And, of course, his name has not died. He is one of history’s greatest warriors and heroes.

In the Odyssey, Homer shows us Odysseus meeting up with Achilles in the underworld. Odysseus asks Achilles, essentially, if death is so bad. Achilles was great in life, remembered by all, and he holds an honored place even in the world of the dead, so surely death can’t be that bad for him. Achilles response is fascinating.

“Nay, seek not to speak soothingly to me of death, glorious Odysseus. I should choose, so I might live on earth, to serve as the hireling of another, of some portionless man whose livelihood was but small, rather than to be lord over all the dead that have perished.” (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0012.tlg002.perseus-eng1:11.486-11.537)

Another translation that hammers this point home:

“I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.” (http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.11.xi.html)

So Achilles, with the perspective of hindsight, seems like he would have chosen a different fate. If he knew back on the fields of Troy what death was truly like, maybe he would not have entered the fight. Maybe he would have gone home to Phthia and lived out a quiet life of obscurity.

Homer seems to be giving us the same warning that Greenberg and Golic are. Be careful how you make this choice. Try to imagine what it will look like on other end of the choice.

This is central to how we live; and so central to ethics. We all make this trade-off in some way, every day. We choose paths in life balancing the long and short term interests, benefits, costs, and harms. We forgo tasty treats out of a concern for our longer term health. Or one chooses to continue to smoke cigarettes because they derive an irreplaceable joy from them, despite knowing the long-term health risks. A young woman chooses to forgo time and money in the here and now to invest years (decades even) of her life in medical education and residency so that she can be a great surgeon. We choose to drive cars knowing the risks because of the benefits we can get. Examples are everywhere: every time we choose something for the short-term benefits at the sake of longer-term interests, we choose like Achilles and Conte. This trade-off might be worth it. Short-term goods and benefits are after all goods; we have to live in the now and there may be many good reasons to risk tomorrow for the now (see my post on violence and football). But someday far-off tomorrow will be now and that has to be considered as well.

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Filed under ESPN, Football, violence

CFP: IAPS 2015 Conference

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) has posted the call for abstracts for the 43rd annual 2015 IAPS meeting. The conference will be held September 2-5, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales and is sponsored by Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Call For Abstracts

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