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Unethical Behavior of Professional Athletes

For many professional athletes, unethical behavior has become the norm. Whether they are trying to sneak in a punch, shouting obscenities, fighting, throwing tantrums, or biting off opponents' ears, professional athletes are, increasingly, behaving like undisciplined children. Behavior in which the individual's interests are placed before everyone else's, behavior that violates the rules by which the game (or business or profession) is to be conducted, and behavior that violates the rights and interests of others, is unethical. In professional sports, such behavior is, increasingly, rewarded, applauded, and expected. And, it is seldom discouraged in any effective manner.

This growing problem stems, in large part, from the overwhelming commercialization of professional sports in the last few decades. Today, athletes are better paid, owners make bigger profits, television and merchandising revenues increase, and fans have not yet rebelled against high prices. In addition, the athletes are better than they have ever been--playing at a level that surpasses any other period in history. Yet, the enormous pressures associated with getting, and keeping, their huge salaries, and lucrative endorsements, has shifted players' focus from their role as athletes to their ability to command a great deal of money. From high school through their professional careers, athletes are treated in a manner that discourages the development of ordinary moral reasoning. And, very often, rather than simply ignoring common ethical training, they are actively encouraged to engage in unethical behaviors. They are placed in the difficult position of competing in a setting that considers only the bottom line, and they are encouraged in the kind of behavior that--while many deplore it--wins games and gets public attention. Monetary penalties, and other sanctions, are weak, and inconsistently applied. Thus, for many, their own interest always come first,...

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Unethical Behavior of Professional Athletes. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:45, July 04, 2022, from