Forum 3c: Writing a Hypothesis-ETHICAL ISSUES IN SPORTS

 

 

*****Forum 3c: Writing a Hypothesis    (ETHICAL ISSUES IN SPORTS)View Full Description

 

Often you are told to write a thesis statement for your research paper.  A thesis statement is a short, direct sentence that summarizes the main point or claim of an essay or research paper. A hypothesis is a statement that can be proved or disproved. It is typically used in research and predicts the relationship between variables.

Research is hypothesis driven.  In Forum 3a, the class presented research that has already been done on the research topic   ETHICAL ISSUES IN SPORTS)View Full Description  class picked during week 1. Now, we will need a hypothesis for our research project.  Based on what we know, what new information should we obtain? We will use a survey because that is readily available to everyone.

In this forum,

  1. State the problem needing to be addressed in your research study.
    This is the beginning of a Hook (Forum 4a). It establishes the missing knowledge from the current literature, and aids in asking the correct research questions which leads to developing specific hypothesis. All of which aids in fine tuning your Literature Review and Data Collection.
  2. Present three hypotheses you developed and would test. 
    Please read this website (https://apus.libanswers.com/writing/faq/2371) and view the video at the bottom to see how to write a strong hypothesis.
  3. What type of survey questions would you write to test that hypothesis?

 

ALL FORUMS

Initial Response: Initial responses should be no less than 150 words in length not including your reference(s) and supported by at least one reference (aside from the textbook). Initial responses are due no later than 11:55 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Day 3 of each week. This allows time for other students to respond to your initial response. Please be aware that just “cutting and pasting” sections of articles (in lieu of writing an original initial post) is not acceptable and will negatively impact your grade.

****RESPOND TO CLASSMATES

Classmates Reviewers for your follow up questions and responses:  What are specific Key Words that can be obtained from each hypothesis presented?

***CCarissa Response

The problem that needs to be addressed in my research study is if the impact that youth sport and exercise training has on a child’s mental and physical health is positive?

For my hypotheses the ones I would develop and test are:

Youth sport and exercise training can have a positive effect on a child’s mental and physical health.

Coaches and parents are the driving factor in determining what a child gains from sports and exercise.

If a child is forced into sports and exercise, it will have a negative effect on their mental health and attitude.

For my survey questions I would first ask the survey takers opinions on if they think exercise can stunt a child’s growth, and how they feel about children participating in sports. Then I would go more in depth and ask if they feel a parents and coaches attitude plays a large role in how the child approaches the sport as well.

Examples:

Do you believe that strength training can stunt a child’s growth and negatively impact them?

Do you think parents and coaches play a huge role in a child’s attitude towards sports and exercise?

Physical health in particular is normally criticized for potentially injuring children. Do you think that contact sports are often ignored when it comes to discussing what is unhealthy for children?

 

 

 

*****Forum 3b: Critically Evaluating an Article View Full Description  (ARTICLE is BELOW)

 

 

This week you are continuing to develop your annotated bibliography.  Pick one of the articles you have found, specifically one that supports your research problem, and provide a critique of it. Be sure to provide this information.

  • No article is perfect, but why did you pick this article? my article is below
  • How did you find the article?  What was your searching strategy?
  • How does it contribute to our knowledge of the research topic selected for this class?
  • What are the variables?  What is the hypothesis being tested?

For your critique, you should be looking for concerns with errors in reasoning and insufficient evidence to support the arguments made. Please put the title of the article as the name of your thread.

In your responses to your classmates’ posts, please be sure to respond to two people who picked a different article. Do you agree with the comments they made?  Remember, you may use this article in your research paper.

** RESPOND TO PEER – DECKER

Leduc, C. (2014). Healthy Minds in Active Bodies: Promoting children and youth’s mental health through physical activity and exercise. Visions: BC’s Mental Health and Substance Use Journal, 10(2), 34. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/2231523180/

I chose this article originally because of the title, but I also enjoyed the content and I liked the direction in which the article was going. I found this title by going into the APUS Library, and typing “ethics in youth sport and exercise training” into the search bar. I started off by making it more broad so I could see the variety of articles that there were, and then I could narrow my search from there. The subject I wanted to focus on was the impact that sport and exercise training had on a youth’s mental health and physical health as well.

This topic contributes to our topic because a child’s mental health is not normally a subject that people worry about. These same people focus on wives tales about how exercise and strength training can stunt a child’s growth, while they allow their kids to play contact sports.

The variables in this research paper will be children, and their physical and mental health. For the hypothesis being tested, it is: I predict that in a sports and exercise setting, a child’s mental and physical health can be positively impacted depending on how their parents and coach approach the sport.

 

*****Respond to peer – Ochoa

While diving deeper into the class research topic, I was most interested in the material related to the psychology of children in relation to sports and moral ethics of exercise testing. Out of all the resources listed in my annotated bibliography from last week, I choose the article “Individual, Team, and Coach Predictors of Players’ Likelihood to Aggress in Youth Soccer” to critique for this forum. I found this article in the Trefry Library Database while searching the terms “ youth sports, ethics and moral”.

The purpose of this study was to examine the personal and socio-environmental variables affect on youth athletes. The study used a survey to asses the participant’s moral development and aggression. The study used 258 participants with ages ranging from 13-18 both male and female with soccer experience between 1-17 years playing at the competitive level. The coaches used in the study were ages 22-61 and coached soccer 0-25 years with a majority playing soccer up to at least the college-level. The participants were primarily caucasian from the southeastern U.S. The results of the survey concluded that youth sports aggression is likely to be contributed by a coaches’ game strategy. From the study, it was found individual perceptions of the team norm for aggression predicted athletes’ likelihood to aggress. This means that a player who believes that their teammates would play aggressively they would do the same. The second thing the study suggests is that a coach’s confidence in their ability to coach was even more likely to affect players’ aggressiveness.

The downfall of this study would be that there was no actual physical examination of coaching to fully understand the athletes’ perception of the coach. While examining the research results in comparison to the data displayed in tables, I found another possible flaw in this study. It is possible, the reason coaches in this study have a more confident game strategy may be due to the coaches’ demographics chosen. Most of the coaches had played at the college level and coached at a competitive level which may play into their coaching confidence. Lastly, I think that soccer players at higher competition levels are more likely to partake in aggressive behavior simply because the stakes are higher. This is a great example of how important the role of sports psychology plays in youth sports.

 

Chow, G., Murray, K., & Feltz, D. (2009). Individual, Team, and Coach Predictors of Players’ Likelihood to Aggress in Youth Soccer. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 31(4), 425–443. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.31.4.425

 

 

*****instructions

 

Initial Response: Initial responses should be no less than 150 words in length not including your reference(s) and supported by at least one reference (aside from the textbook). Initial responses are due no later than 11:55 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Day 3 of each week. This allows time for other students to respond to your initial response. Please be aware that just “cutting and pasting” sections of articles (in lieu of writing an original initial post) is not acceptable and will negatively impact your grade.

Peer Responses: Students are required to respond to at least two (2) other student’s initial postings (and the instructor) with significant comments that have substance. Peer responses are due no later than 11:55 p.m. ET on Sunday, Day 7 of each week. All peer responses must be substantial and significant and should be no less than 75 words in. If possible, one of the responses to another’s work should be from an opposing viewpoint. Your response to your peer’s work should be engaging and informative with good substance (just stating “I agree…” is not acceptable). Your responses should contribute in a meaningful way to helping advance our knowledge of the topics the class explores. Your responses to another’s work should be posted as a sub-thread to the student’s original posting of whom you are commenting.

For all Forum activity, students are encouraged to use the APUS Online Library to search for references that help support their argument (in addition to textbook material). All posts should contribute and advance the class knowledge of the course themes. The Forum provides an opportunity for everyone to analyze work from many different perspectives.

 

*********Forum 3d. Extra Credit

Discuss a fun, new fact you learned about the constitution from the website:    http://www.constitutionfacts.com/

 

(ARTICLE is BELOW)

 

****Mccalla, Sandra, and Shepherd, Neil. (2014). “MORAL/ETHICAL ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT IN SPORTS.” International Journal of Arts & Sciences 7.4: 371–381. Web.

From as early as human memory can go, individuals in various cultures have engaged in various recreational and competitive activities. It is from these recreational, entertainment and competition activities that more organized and structured competitive games and sports were developed. The foundation of these competitive sports hinges on fairness and honesty but these ethical concepts are not always upheld. It is with this in mind that this paper seeks to offer a philosophical investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in competitive sports with a focus on the importance of ethics and fair play. We believe that the existing system of banning performance enhancement drugs and punishing athletes caught using same may be warranted in order to maintain the integrity of sports. In a quest to respond to the issues raised on fairness, our discussions will focus on an ethical framework. From this ethical perspective, we combine Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarian theory with Kant’s Deontology theory to show how a combination of both theories can provide one possible response to the ethical actions of athletes in respect to the use of performance enhancers. We argue for a form of ‘self duty’ that all athletes should have to the ethical rules as is applied to honesty and integrity.

MORAL/ETHICAL ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT IN SPORTS

 

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From as early as human memory can go, individuals in various cultures have engaged in various recreational and competitive activities. It is from these recreational, entertainment and competition activities that more organized and structured competitive games and sports were developed. The foundation of these competitive sports hinges on fairness and honesty but these ethical concepts are not always upheld. It is with this in mind that this paper seeks to offer a philosophical investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in competitive sports with a focus on the importance of ethics and fair play. We believe that the existing system of banning performance enhancement drugs and punishing athletes caught using same may be warranted in order to maintain the integrity of sports. In a quest to respond to the issues raised on fairness, our discussions will focus on an ethical framework. From this ethical perspective, we combine Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarian theory with Kant’s Deontology theory to show how a combination of both theories can provide one possible response to the ethical actions of athletes in respect to the use of performance enhancers. We argue for a form of ‘self duty’ that all athletes should have to the ethical rules as is applied to honesty and integrity.

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From as early as human memory can go, individuals in various cultures have engaged in various recreational and competitive activities. It is from these recreational, entertainment and competition activities that more organized and structured competitive games and sports were developed. The foundation of these competitive sports hinges on fairness and honesty but these ethical concepts are not always upheld. It is with this in mind that this paper seeks to offer a philosophical investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in competitive sports with a focus on the importance of ethics and fair play. We believe that the existing system of banning performance enhancement drugs and punishing athletes caught using same may be warranted in order to maintain the integrity of sports. In a quest to respond to the issues raised on fairness, our discussions will focus on an ethical framework. From this ethical perspective, we combine Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarian theory with Kant’s Deontology theory to show how a combination of both theories can provide one possible response to the ethical actions of athletes in respect to the use of performance enhancers. We argue for a form of ‘self duty’ that all athletes should have to the ethical rules as is applied to honesty and integrity.

Keywords: Moral, Ethics, Cheating, Sports.

Introduction

In each sport there are regulative and constitutive rules that seek to govern how the various sports are played. Our focus will be on the regulatory rules specifically the ones regulating behaviour in relation to the use of performance enhancing drugs. The anti-doping rules form an ethical foundation upon which athletes should operate. These anti-doping rules seek to ensure that the values of fairness, honesty and integrity are maintained. Noncompliance with these rules is considered cheating and cheating imply a moral responsibility on the part of the offender. An activity that gives an athlete a competitive advantage by knowingly violating the rules is morally wrong.

We view the use of Performance Enhancement Drugs (PED’s) by professional athletes as one way of cheating in sports and, as a result, the athletes who decide to use these enhancers act immorally and unethically, since they would have ignored the ethical value of honesty. The issue of non-compliance with rules tends to involve other non-ethical components and actions as well. We find in sports, for example, that discussions of some of the ethical issues that may arise may not be as clear cut ethical issues but may also be classified as medical as well as legal. This would also hold true for other ethical analysis in general. Our discussions on the place of performance enhancement drugs will focus on the issue of whether or not a centrally moral question is present or whether it is merely a medical or empirical one. The empirical or medical questions concern both the effectiveness of drug use for training and competition and the possible harm such can have for the users.

Moral and Ethics

The moral questions will concern the appropriateness of the use of drugs in sports, especially when its’ use is seen as a breach of the principles of fair play.1 2 3 The athlete who uses performance enhancing drugs successfully would be awarded for performance that may not be had without the use of enhancers; it would therefore be unfair to others who train naturally. We believe that the doping problem will not be solved by making access to the drugs available to every performer. It would be unfair to expect an athlete to accept a second place medal, for example, when it is known that the athlete awarded the first place medal cheated. This unfair practice is therefore an unethical one. Although mention will be made of the empirical questions, the ethical/moral questions will take precedence. In a quest to respond adequately to the ethical issues, we would like to explore Immanuel Kant’s ethical theory of deontology as well as the theory of utilitarianism, as put forward by Jeremy Bentham. We accept Kant’s view that since moral rules are universally applicable to all human beings a duty is owed to obey these. We add to his views that the individual should also hold a self duty to observe moral rules since in observing these rules, the individual displays character and virtue that is necessary to the continued survival of the specie. In light of this, we will argue for a form of duty that all athletes should hold in obedience to the ethical rules. The duty that the athletes hold would be chiefly to the self. We maintain that the practice of ingesting performance enhancers by athletes is unethical since it imposes levels of unfairness on competitors.

Maurine Ford reported one notion of ethics which involves “an investigation not only of one’s relationship to moral codes but a tracing of those standards or norms that shape one’s actions and behaviour.”2 From time to time we find individuals deviating from the good values and intentions. This occurs in instances where individuals are faced with situations that cause them to act contrary to their commonly held beliefs. This is known as altruism. For example, an athlete may not believe that it is right to participate in illegal gambling but decides to participate anyway. All just rules are binding and obligatory which means acting outside of those rules would be acting contrary to the norm.

Morality usually encompasses all aspects of life where moral questions can arise; questions such as, should I cheat when I play soccer to always secure a win? How ought I to respond if my teammate decides to persuade me to use drugs? Morality is seen by Tom Beauchamp as “a social institution with a code of leamable norms”.3 Morality is then grounded in the practical affairs of social life. Although morality as a social institution serves to guide individual conduct, William Frankena was quick to point out that this does not necessarily mean that people merely act according to social norms and standards. According to Frankena, “society’s moral system does indicate what is forbidden and what is permitted in many areas. However, we also learn to take an individual moral perspective on many distinct issues where society’s rules may not be very helpful.”4 From this we can argue that morality teaches one to understand how to apply standards from both a personal standpoint as well as from that of society at large. This means that in making moral decisions one may need to not only have an understanding of the self but also an understanding of where the ‘other’ falls in comparison to the self. This is considered as important since culture and personal taste could cause some to overlook the sameness that exists between individuals. In other words, those who we consider to be ‘the other’ could adhere to, hold and accept the same moral views as us irrespective of cultures, personal tastes and choices.

It has been argued that ethical judgements contain a moral component as related to conduct or values, yet morals and ethics can differ. We acknowledge the work of Michel Foucault and others who have sought to offer distinctions between the concepts of ethics and morality. But, if we should consider the ethical concept of fairness, it describes a set of values expressed in individual actions, while at the same time operates as a moral rule that should be observed. The concept of fairness can either be right or wrong, good or bad, dependent on the context. With this in mind, a distinction between ethics and morality is not clearly drawn. Although we acknowledge the distinction made and respect the effort of Foucault and others, a distinction does not seriously impact our discussion on morality in sports. Therefore, in this paper, we will use the two terms interchangeably.

Analysis

Athletes, coaches and others involved in sports should observe and respect the regulative rules of the game. This respect may be linked to preserving the integrity of sports which would be futile if unfairness persists. On the one hand, fairness should not only be looked on as respect for the game but respect for the profession that the athlete chooses to hold and participate in, and on the other, respect for the other participants as selves with integrity that needs to be respected. If the game’s integrity is to be maintained, it cannot be marred by constant drug problems as individuals will lose respect for, and interest in that game as well as the players involved. This argument for fairness as respect for the game is “both moral and psychological. On the moral side it is argued that sport should be participated in for its own sake. Sport is only coherent if it is taken seriously on its own terms.”5 From this one can argue that if athletes are interested in the sport itself and not just winning, they will work hard to maintain the integrity of this sport by not cheating. From a psychological perspective, “not only do people typically come to sport for the intrinsic reasons, people who continue to play for intrinsic reasons have more fun.”6 7 It can be argued from this that if a spectator enjoys watching cricket he/she would also want to watch a game that is played fairly. They could also lose respect for athletes who have committed a doping offence and as a result will not enjoy watching that individual compete.

Some have questioned whether or not fairness can exist in sports competitions if all athletes are allowed to use enhancers. In response to this, Claudio Tamburrini argues that “if everyone were free to use whatever drugs he or she finds helpful, then the crucial test, the competition, would show who is most fit and the competition would then become fair.”7 He is asking for the doping ban to be lifted so that athletes can adequately prepare for competitions using whatever means they think is best. He based this conclusion on the notion that sports professions are like any other profession. From this he argues that it would then be unreasonable to submit sport practitioners to restrictions that are not found in other areas of professional life. Based on his line of reasoning, the doping ban is unreasonable as other professionals are not subjected to this kind of scrutiny. One needs to acknowledge though that other professionals do not compete in a similar way as athletes.

Also, ethical rules governing sports participation have nothing to do with who is most fit. Since using performance enhancers is ethical wrong, ingesting these enhancers should not be condoned by any means. The act of doping is ethically wrong because it imposes an unfair advantage on other athletes and in turn interferes with their autonomy. A competition that focuses on who is fitter should then do so under the guidelines of ethical rules. One also cannot logically argue that doping ban should be lifted in professional sports because these do not apply in other sports. This stems from the fact that the use of drugs is ethically wrong, no maher what sport we seek to investigate. It can be argued that although there is competition in all professions, the focus on doping is greater in sports because of the different levels of competition that sports may bring, as opposed to other professions. It would then not be unreasonable to apply stringent drug bans in sports but it could be unreasonable not to apply drug measures as seen fit in other professions. If everyone uses drugs, the competition in general would still not be fair as each person would perform at a rate that they would not have performed on a regular basis. This would especially not be fair for the sports that reward athletes based on endurance and speed, as raw natural talents may not be identified. We acknowledge that talents and skills have to be developed through various training regimen. It is expected that training and exercise is necessary to maintain as well as develop the skills needed to perform. All athletes have to train to maintain fitness and health. Performance enhancers are different from training regimens as these are used in some instances to add artificially to endurance levels. This can allow athletes to train harder than their competitors who have not taken these enhancers. Training regimens are necessarily needed to develop skills but performance enhancement drugs are not. Performance drugs are therefore additional boost agents that some athletes feel they need to gain an edge over competitors.

It is unavoidable for athletes in particular, and the general population at large, not to be confronted with ethical/moral issues on a regular basis. It is for this reason that “every society has its set of moral rules or guidelines that establish the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Often these rules are about behaviour that might harm others (stealing, killing), behaviour that is concerned with the well being of others (helping those in need, responding to the suffering of others), or actions that touch on issues of respect for others.”8 These rules go on to form the moral code of particular societies. One can argue, however, that although each society has a set of moral rules that guide behaviour, these rules are not so different from those of other societies, as moral problems that arise in one society will arise in another. The interesting thing though is that each society formulates a unique way of dealing with those problems. In a similar way, the general sports body has established ways to address ethical issues as these arise. Context is therefore important when dealing with ethical issues. There are instances in which an ethical issue in one sport may be treated differently across sports depending on the constitutive rules. Ethical concepts also differ in sports. But what are these?

According to Graham McFee, “there are two very different sorts of ethical concepts (Bernard Williams calls them ‘thin’ ethical concepts), such as good and right, and more descriptive, less abstract concepts (Williams calls them ‘thick’ ethical concepts) such as cruel, pert, inconsiderate, and chaste.9 In order to gamer an understanding of the ‘thick’ ethical concepts, there needs to be an awareness of the ‘evaluative interests’ with which that term is connected. For example,

a discussion of the concept of fair play that we had earlier discussed, might need to address any differences between say, basketball (where there is the expectation of fouling) and other forms of sports where intentional fouls get the player sent off. Typically, sport has a stronger connection to the ethical than follows simply from the link between morality and human action, since ethical questions arise naturally from sport itself, from the inherent characteristics of typical sports. Sports are typically culturally valued and viewed as united (as one thing, sport); they typically have explicit mies (and therefore the contravention of those mies is possible; there is often the possibility of harm to participant (especially if mies are not followed); and the rhetoric of sport is replete with metaphors employed in general ethical discussion – the idea of ‘fair play’ or of a level playing field, for example.10

We can gather from this view that the structure of sport is based on ethical principles, and, there are certain rules and value principles that should be followed when one becomes a member of a sports team. We find that sometimes the notion of fair play in sport need not be a general idea across sports as some rules in relation to how the game is played will differ. However, the nature of each sport and how these are all practiced is integral to ethical analysis.

Some may ask why professional codes of ethics are important. In answering this question a number of reasons present themselves. First, it is argued that

they offer apparent clarity and simplicity in a confusing world; secondly, they set out standards and criteria to evaluate provision and expectation in relationships which are consistent overtime. Thirdly, they offer a neutral framework for solving conflict or ambiguity to those under the authority of the organization. Finally, in constraining certain actions moral rules allow exclusion from that organization anyone who will not conform to the code.11

One can gamer from the above that all organizations need a code of ethic that guides the daily operations. These are necessary to solve conflicts and resolve issues which could arise. Thus, protection is offered to each member of the organization. If exclusion for noncompliance with the code is not made mandatory then the code could be deemed as useless, conflicts could also be harder to resolve, as individuals may feel that they are under no obligation to comply. The sum of mies and principles, both negative and positive, constitute “the moral code that is enshrined in rights, duties and obligations.”12 Some have suggested that “the practice of positive moral values can lead toward a happy life; others have stressed a good will that might guide one’s moral decisions. Still others claim that morality serves to combat deteriorating social relationships.”13 We can argue that morality can be a combination of all three since one may feel happy participating in an act of goodwill whose outcome may result in mending and building relationships both within and outside of sports.

Although it has been argued that the practice of moral virtues can lead to a happy life, a moral person may very well have to sacrifice her happiness on many occasions in order to practice what is right. Practicing moral virtue and happiness may not necessarily work together, as one could be virtuous but not happy and vice versa. One can then add that positive moral values could be displayed simply because it is the correct thing to do. If displaying positive moral values is done for only subjective reasons such as an individual’s happiness, this can quickly deteriorate into immoral practices in order to achieve the end result of happiness. We believe that there are variations in happiness. An athlete can be happy with a second place medal, but will be happier with winning. It can also be argued that the practice of moral actions censures selfish and harmful acts towards others so we get along better in society. This may hold true as levels of violence, aggression and intolerance are reduced, which could lead to an overall benefit for all. This practice of acting morally is difficult, especially since sports are so commercialized.

As long as sport is treated as a commodity, ethical issues will arise at the level of players, coaches, doctors, managers etc., because while some try their best to observe the rules in order to maintain integrity and honesty, others seek to capitalize in any way they can. This would be in the form of illegal gambling, game fixing, using performance enhancers, etc., which are usually done at the expense of others. A moral code then becomes integral in all areas of an individual’s life, as it not only serves as a guide to conduct but emphasizes accountability for actions. This practice of treating sports as a commodity needs to be addressed and the moral code observed by all. The aim of competition is to win but the nature of sports stipulates that this be accomplished honestly (in accordance with the ethical rules), not by using performance enhancers.

Athletes “who decide to use performance enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids, believe that these substances will facilitate the stimulation of tissue growth which will lead to bigger and stronger muscles.”14 With this development of muscle strength “it is hoped that they will be able to endure more intense training which it is hoped, will give them that edge over their competitors. For example, Justin Gatlin and Marion Jones, American track and field stars, both tested positive for steroid use, a drug that is said to develop muscle strength.”15 These are examples in which individual moral/ethical values become subject to scrutiny since the actions of these athletes go against societal as well as group values and norms. The athletes’ actions are then judged based on the expected societal and or group values. We can argue that these athletes were not forced to use drugs by their peers, coaches, etc., but that they made a conscious decision to secure the possibility of an unfair advantage. In her own words, Marion Jones exclaimed, “Nobody forced me. At the end of the day, I was the one who made the decision to trust, not to ask questions, and then ultimately lie when confronted with the truth.”16 She knew her actions were wrong and in the end she was faced with the consequences of her actions.

It can be argued that unlike Marion Jones Justin Gatlin and others, some athletes may be forced and or pressured into the use of these drugs. This pressure may be derived from the frustration of always placing in a position other than first place, as some athletes are reminded by coaches that winning is the only thing. Others may be forced or coerced by coaches, doctors, etc., to use prohibited substances. Some athletes then use drugs, on the one hand, to cope with low self-esteem which is linked to the anger and frustration of losing or, on the other hand, to gain acceptance and recognition. For an athlete who usually dominates a particular sport, that pressure could be to remain in the winning position at all costs, hence the athlete may resort to the use of such drugs. Are these groups of athletes equally ethically and morally responsible for their actions? A possible response to this question could be yes, since one can argue that when one is faced with an ethical decision there is always an available choice apart from the decision made. This other choice, although an ethical one, may however not be in the best interest of the individual since it may not reap the desired results. An athlete has the right to choose actions that are desired but should be careful not to allow desires to override reason especially when the outcome of the choices can have negative effects on the person making the choice as well as on others.

From the above, one can deduce that when an athlete deliberately takes performance enhancing substance, the athlete is thinking about his or her own self-interest and not so much with the moral consequences that would flow from such an action for society and others who are affected. This athlete would then totally disregard respect for the ‘self’ as well as the duty to maintain fairness and integrity in sports. We would like to acknowledge that although ethical behaviours may be breached because of self-interests, sponsors and others also have much to gain from the ‘superhuman’ capabilities of athletes. The prospect of signing these athletes, such as Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, is however shattered upon discovery of cheating. A choice that an athlete makes whether negative or positive will therefore benefit others.

It may not always be moral to act based on one’s own self-interest only, especially when one is participating in a team sport. The interest of the team should also be taken into consideration. There will be times however when the negative values of the team will conflict with positive individual values. For example, a cricketer can object to fixing a cricket match but his/her teammates might not consider match fixing as being unethical. Whose value system will prevail? Also, a decision to use performance enhancing substances is a negative value, but does one decide to use same because the entire team is using? No, and this is one major reason why moral codes in sports are important, as decisions are made based on the tenets of such a system. Although everyone does not have the same interest, the ethical codes in sports ought to be followed by all in order to avoid further decay relating to substance use.

Ethical Theories and PEDs

How do we begin to comprehend these moral issues in sports? We believe that Kant’s deontological theory as well as Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism will both work to illuminate our understanding of the problem of PEDs and the morality of their use in sports. Utilitarianism focuses on the consequences of the action. Generally, utilitarian ethics require that “the moral judgement of an action should be based on the consequences of the action rather than on the disposition of the mind (as Kant argues) or the individual and social motives.”17 Individuals adopting utilitarianism make ethical decisions based on what they think the anticipated short or long term consequences will be for most people. For this principle,

actions are right in proportions as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.18

This principle is three fold. Firstly, it stipulates that human beings should act in such a way that the greatest balance of good over evil is promoted. That is, our actions should always depict goodness. Secondly, our actions should be such that the greatest balance of pleasure over pain is produced. Actions should be weighed to determine how the greatest pleasure can be attained. Thirdly, our actions should produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of persons. With this tenet, it is the intention that happiness will be distributed as widely and equally as possible. The greatest good involves attainment of the greatest happiness for as many people as possible. Wrong actions would be those that end in unhappiness while right actions lead to happiness in favour of the majority. With this theory, human beings are bounded to a form of responsibility as, in acting, one should consider the number of persons that could be affected positively or negatively.

There are different types of Utilitarianism but for the purpose of this paper we will focus on Jeremy Bentham’s view which falls under the hedonistic camp. Bentham claimed that “nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign master, pain and pleasure, and referred to this as the principle of utility.”19 What is meant by this is three-fold. In the first instance, pain is anything uncomfortable, which leads to some kind of suffering, and as such human beings avoid it as much as possible. Indeed, the avoidance of pain is critical to the capacity of the human being to thrive, and everything is done to minimize it; to that extent humans have created various resources and technologies to reduce the amount of suffering and pain that must be dealt with in the process of living. From medical efforts to environmental ones in cooling or heating our homes, pain is something that most humans avoid – except in the case of masochists who have some form of abnormality. In the second instance, human beings seek pleasure, because of the enjoyment and happiness such procure for the person. Many human beings take the gratification of their senses as the basis of happiness, while some would claim that such is a debasement of the intrinsic human ability to attain superior happiness through the engagement of the mind. While in the third instance, dubbing as utility the ethical dimension of human avoidance of pain and pursuit of pleasure leads to a kind of suggestion that the results – pain and pleasure – can be unitized and measured or weighed, to determine which is superior or inferior.

Bentham tried to quantify pleasures and pains under the following seven categories:

intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity (how soon experiences are felt), fecundity (the likelihood of future pleasurable experiences), purity (how free from pain are the experiences), and extent (the number of others who are affected). He believed one could calculate the goodness of an action by listing the pleasures associated with the action, applying a numerical value (say +1 to + 10) for each of these in terms of the above categories, and then finding the total. After one does the same for any pains (say – 1 to – 10) associated with the action, then the resultant sum, either in favour of pleasures or of pains, would tell an individual what course of action to follow. A positive total would be good, and the behaviour ought to be carried out. A negative total would be bad, and the action ought to be avoided.20

Here, Bentham is suggesting that pleasures and pain can be quantified. He is asking us to weigh all actions against all others before we act. From this we can say that his starting point is quantification, the end result is quality. For Bentham then, morality was not concerned only with quantity, but even more significantly with the quality of the pleasures, happiness of avoidance of pain involved in an action are the factors which determine whether an action is good or bad. With the calculus of pleasure over pain, it is sure that there will be an objective basis for morality, and we would be in a position whereby we can effectively tell persons what is right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral.

 

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