The Sports Ethics Show: Released roughly every two weeks.
(On Hiatus: returning with new episodes July 2015)
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Each week Rockford College Assistant Professor of Philosophy Shawn E. Klein and guests will discuss ethical and philosophical issues that arise in and around sport. If you have questions or issues you would like The Sports Ethicist to answer or discuss on the air, send them to me:
- Email: sportsethicist at gmail.com
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*I may read your email/tweet/facebook message on air, so if you don’t want me to say your name, please let me know in your message.
Episode One: What is Sport?
Air Date: 3/25/2013
In this episode, Professors Shawn Klein and Mike Perry try to answer the question of what sport is. Everyone agrees that football and baseball are sports, but what about figure skating, cheerleading, competitive eating, or the WWE? How essential is competition or physical abilities to our understanding of sports? Is it even important to know what the definition of sport is? Klein and Perry also discuss the difference between play, games, and sport.
Episode Two: Why Sport?
Air Date: 4/1/2013
In this episode, Professors Shawn Klein and Mike Perry follow up their discussion of what sport is with a discussion of “why sport?” They discuss the reasons why people play sports and why people watch sports. They end the show with a brief discussion of why they study sports.
Episode Three: The Spectacle of Sport
Air Date: 4/8/2013
ESPN was founded in 1979 and ushered in the era of 24/7 sports coverage. It is hard to argue that this hasn’t had a major effect on sports themselves, but also on the wider culture. Sports are bigger than ever, and in many ways, there has never been a better time to be a sports fan. But are there any downsides? In this episode, Professors Shawn Klein and Matt Flamm discuss the negative and positive consequences of the massive growth of attention on sports.
Episode Four: Fitness and Sport
Air Date: 4/15/2013
In this episode, The Sports Ethicist talks with Assistant Professor of Biology Sean Beckmann about the relationship of fitness to sport and athletics. What is fitness? Are fitness and health the same thing? Are elite athletes fit and should the general public emulate elite training regiments? The conversation shifts into the issue of gene doping and doping in general.
In this episode, The Sports Ethicist sits down with Chad Carlson, John Harney, Trisha Phillips, Aaron Harper, Andrew Koehl, Carl Robinson, and Mike Perry to discuss the themes and ideas raised by the papers given at the symposium on April 19.
In this episode, The Sports Ethicist calls up his best friend, who still lives in the Boston area, to talk about their reactions to and thoughts about the Boston Marathon bombing.
Episode Seven: Soccer in the US
Air Date: 5/6/2013
Whatever you call it: association football, soccer, or futbol, it is by most measures the most popular sport in the world. But, in the US, it is a distance 5th among the major team sports. Will it ever be more popular here? The Sports Ethicist sits down with Real Madrid fan, Professor William Gahan, to discuss soccer in Europe and in the US. They also discuss fandom, bull-fighting, and other issues in sports.
The Designated Hitter Rule in MLB has been in place for 40 years, yet still remains as controversial as ever. Does it remove the need for managerial strategy? Does it add excitement and offense to the game? The Sports Ethicist brings in Rockford College Baseball players, Zachary Wolf and Daryn Streed, as well as Professors Matt Flamm and Mike Perry to discuss the DH rule and its effects on baseball.
Episode Nine: Hockey Fights
Air Date: 6/3/2013
Most hockey fans have heard the joke: We went to a boxing match but a hockey game broke out. Hockey is unique in its tolerance of fighting on the ice. In nearly every other sport, fighting is prohibited and punished by ejections, suspensions, and fines. In the NHL, the rules do not actually prohibit fighting and it’s punished typically only by a five minute penalty. Can this acceptance be justified? Or should the NHL move to restrict and prohibit fighting? The Sports Ethicist discusses the ethics of fighting in hockey with long-time hockey fan and best friend, Joe Danker.
Parents and Sport
Air Date: 6/17/2013
Youth Sports raise many different kinds of ethical issues. An issue that often makes headlines is the behavior of parents at youth sporting events. In this “Father’s Day” edition of the show, Mike Perry and his father, Alan Perry, join the Sports Ethicist to discuss the role of parents in youth sports, both as spectators and coaches.
Women Playing Football
Air Date: 7/22/2013
The videos of 9-year-old Samantha Gordon playing football created a Youtube sensation that made it to ESPN’s First Take. The commentators, including regulars Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, argued against girls playing football with the boys. In this episode of The Sports Ethicist, Dr. Joan Forry joins with host Dr. Shawn Klein to discuss whether women should play American football. They also get into the general issue of whether there out to be more sex-integration in sport and what the effects of that might be.
The Ethics of Fantasy Sports
Air Date: 8/19/2013
Fantasy Sports are huge: a billion dollar industry that over 30 million North Americans play every year. Why is it so popular? What are its virtues? What are its vices? Shawn E. Klein and Micheal Perry discuss these questions and more on this episode of the Sports Ethicist.
Air Date: 9/2/2013
Most fans are fans of a team because of geography. But not everyone becomes a fan that way. Sean Beckmann and Mike Perry join The Sports Ethicist, Shawn Klein, to discuss their fandom-origins and other issues in being fans.
Air Date: 9/23/2013
In town for a Cubs game, Joe Danker joins Shawn E. Klein in the studio to discuss things Boston Sports. Focusing mostly on the Red Sox and their remarkable turnaround from last year, they also hit on the Patriots and make some World Series predictions.
Work and Play
Air Date: 10/14/2013
How should we understand the relationship between Work and Play? Are they mutually exclusive activities? What about professional athletes who appear to be play for work? Shawn E. Klein and Bobby Fernandez, of MovingforWellness.com and California State University-Fullerton, discuss these questions and more as they build off their recent papers given at the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport conference in September.
Baseball Wrap Show
Air Date: 11/18/2013
The 2013 baseball season is in the books. Regular listeners know that I am Red Sox fan and my frequent co-host, Mike Perry, is a Cardinals fan. The Sox and the Cardinsals met in the 109th Fall Classic, so it only seems right that Mike and I do a show about the World Series. We also discuss the MLB annual awards.
The Reality of Fantasy Sports
Air Date: 12/16/2013
It’s fantasy football playoff time! Chad Carlson, professor at Eastern Illinois University, talks with Shawn Klein about some of the ethical and philosophical issues in fantasy sports. We discuss his recent article in the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport: “The Reality of Fantasy Sports: A Metaphysical and Ethical Analysis”
The XXII Winter Olympics start in Sochi, Russia in a few weeks. The Olympics can be exciting and inspirational, but they always seem to come with controversy. The Sochi Games are no different. One of the most disturbing controversies for these games is the increasing discrimination and legal persecution of gays and lesbians in Russia. This has prompted many to call for a boycott. But are Olympic boycotts effective or justified? Craig Carley, a philosopher at Phoenix College, Arizona, joins Shawn Klein in discussing these questions. They also discuss predictions for the Ice Hockey Gold, the Stanley Cup, and the Super Bowl.
Dr. Shaine Henert of Rock Valley College joins the program to discuss what mental toughness and resilience are and how they affect performance in sport. We discuss the components of resilience such as confidence and control, and also ways to improve and develop resilience.
Santayana on the Value of Sport
Air Date: 2/24/2014
George Santayana is one of the great American Philosophers and his essay “Philosophy on the Bleachers” he argues for the value of athletics for both participants and spectators. In this episode of The Sports Ethicist Show, Shawn Klein and Matt Flamm discuss Santayana’s essay and his ideas. Profs. Klein and Flamm cover a wide range of themes from the connection between athlete and spectator to role of the martial virtues in human life to the effect of industrial revolution on human existence.
The Paradox of Fandom
Air Date: 3/31/2014
In this episode of The Sports Ethicist Show, we focus on the value of being a sports fan. In her paper, “Being a Sports Fan: Paradox and Intrinsic Value,” Prof. Gwen Bradford (Rice University) defends a view of the value of being a sports fan based on the idea that it is a good thing for fans to value the good of their team winning. This, however, seems to lead to a paradox because fans do not value the same good when their team’s opponents win. Prof. Bradford and Shawn Klein discuss the value of being a fan, this paradox, and other issues arising in fandom.
Boston Breakdown with Joe
Air Date: 4/16/2014
Joe Danker and Shawn Klein discuss things Boston sports in this episode of The Sports Ethicist. What defines a successful season? How important is it for the Bruins to get to and win the Stanley Cup this year? Are the Red Sox in a grace period after winning the World Series? Is it wrong for the Celtics to be tanking their season?
The 3rd annual Sports Studies Symposium was held April 25, 2014. In this episode, the symposium participants discuss the ideas raised by the papers given at the symposium. In the first part of the episode, Mike Perry and Shawn E. Klein talk with Sean Beckmann and Kevin Schieman about the 10,000 hour rule and what distinguishes sport from other kinds of physical games. In the second part, Shawn E. Klein, Zachary Draves, Huston Ladner, and Carl Robinson discuss the relationship between sport and society, cyborgs, and the value of spectatorship.
It’s the season of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horse Racing. Horse racing raises is exciting and thrilling, but it also raises several ethical and philosophical issues: doping, horse welfare, genetic manipulation, and breeding and body types. Rockford University Biology professor Sean Beckmann joins the show to discuss some of these issues.
Diving and Cheating in Soccer
Air Date: 5/26/2014
Diving, flopping, going to ground, whatever you call it, it is a controversial issue in sport, especially in Soccer. Is it wrong? What is the nature of the wrongness? Is it cheating? Mike Austin, professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University joins Shawn Klein to discuss these issues.
Sports Ethics Show: Athletes as Role Models
Record Date: Sept. 25, 2014
In this episode of The Sports Ethics Show, Mike Perry and Shawn Klein discuss the old debate about athletes as role models. Do athletes have special responsibilities and obligations? Should they craft themselves into good role models or is that just something extra? The conversation ranges into celebrity in general, the real effect athletes have on children, and the compartmentalization of fandom and admiration.
Sports Ethics Show: The Value of Playoffs and Championships
Record Date: October 9, 2014
Baseball playoffs are in full swing with both American and National League Championship Series opening this weekend. For baseball fans, this is one of the most exciting parts of the baseball season. But are we getting something wrong? Is there something wrong with having playoffs decide champions? Are there better ways of determining champions and organizing sport competitions? Dr. Aaron Harper of West Liberty University discusses these questions and related issues with Shawn E. Klein.
Sports Ethics Show: Animal Sports
Record Date: October 22, 2014
In this episode of The Sports Ethics Show, Joan Forry and I discuss the issue of Animal Sports. Are competitions involving non-human animals, like horse racing, dog agility, and so on, sports? If so, under what conditions are animal sports morally justifiable? We also discuss activities like bull-fighting, dog fighting, and cockfighting.
Sports Ethics Show: The Value of Play
Record Date: November 20, 2014
This episode of The Sports Ethicist Show is the audio version of my talk “The Value of Play”. Recorded at The Atlas Summit on June 22, 2014, the full video (including a Q&A period) is available at http://www.atlassociety.org/as/value-play and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=texwMP6W9U.
Sports Ethics Show: The Ethics of Fouls
Record Date: January 9, 2015
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.
The Sports Ethics Show: College Basketball and Freshmen Ineligibility
Record Date: March 5, 2015
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.
The Sports Ethics Show: Blown Calls and Technology
Record Date: March 19, 2015
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.
The Sports Ethics Show: Reviewing The Matheny Manifesto
Record Date: April 9, 2015
In The Matheny Manifesto, Mike Matheny, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, lays out his diagnosis and solution for youth sports. Mike Perry, a long-term Cardinals fan and frequent Sports Ethics Show guest, joins Sports Ethicist Shawn E. Klein for a discussion of some of the books main themes. They discuss the problem of over-involved parents, the lack of adult-free play spaces, and Matheny’s view of leadership, authority, and faith in the context of coaching and sport.
The Sports Ethics Show: Sport Studies Symposium 2015
Record Date: April 24, 2015
The 4th annual Sport Studies Symposium was held April 24, 2015. In this episode, the symposium participants discuss the ideas raised by the papers given at the symposium. In the first part of the episode, Mike Perry and Shawn E. Klein talk with Matt Adamson, Stephen Mosher, and Synthia Syndor about the nature of sport studies,its past, and its future. In the second part, Shawn and Mike talk with Aaron Harper, Stephanie Quinn, and Zach Smith about legal realism and sport, sport in the ancient world, and theology of sport. More information about the symposium here.