On many occasions, this blog has discussed sports being medicine to help society heal itself. But what happens when that medicine becomes tainted? What should the sports industry do when it begins to mirror the society its suppose to heal?
Lately, we have seen several incidents in the sports world that once again shocked society . . . the Houston Astros cheating scandal, Antonio Brown’s missteps, the investigation into the Boston Red Sox, the NFL’s misguided attempt to quell the Kaepernick situation, and once again, the New England Patriots Spygate 2.0. In the past, the industry has followed through with an investigation and a harsh solution (e.g., Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball).
The problem with the aforementioned solution from the past is it doesn’t deal with the complexities of our modern society. In the past, life was a simpler time where baseball was America’s pasttime with its “slow” beauty. Today, we are and a “hyper” society where folks are addicted to technology and instant gratification with television, the internet and cellphones.
We are a society conflicted between right and wrong and drawn to the wrong and negativity. Yesterdays’ decisive answers aren’t applied without repercussions. It is no longer just about right or wrong. Decisions are now based upon appearances, destroying the competition and greed. Yes, many decisions are based upon greed–what’s best for the “game” without hurting the bottom line.
The problem is “what’s best for the game without hurting the bottom line” is hurting the game and even the bottom dollar. Sports has been the medicine society has needed to heal itself and grow, but now, part of society has spilled over into sports corrupting the games we love.
Medicine is created to heal. In this case, it is listening, opening our eyes, and trying to understand one another. It is about the necessary discussions that we need to take place to make the world better for our children as well as ourselves. It is about progress instead of the recent regress.
Rob Manfred does not seem pleased that the letter his office sent to Jeff Luhnow became public through the process of reporting.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 16, 2020
The above tweet shows the displeasure of MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred regarding the publication of the sign stealing scheme the Houston Astros developed. But the fan, the public and the other teams in Major League Baseball most definitely deserved to know. Those individuals were defrauded–they were cheated out of a fair, competitive game every time the Astros played. Money was spent to watch cheating.
But what can we expect when our Senators tell the world that cheating is permitted and if you have power then you are above the law. That’s our current state of the United States. But it’s wrong; it is not what our forefathers wanted for this country. Likewise, while it is being practiced in our major sports leagues as seen in the NFL (Jay-Z and Kaepernick situation) and MLB (Astros cheating), our ethics in sports tells us we should be better than that.
Ethics in sports tells us that we believe in fairness, integrity, respect and responsibility. We expect our players and teams to honor those values–to compete fairly, to respect one another despite our differences as well as the fans and the game, to act responsibly and to act in a moral manner.
Our sports . . . our medicine . . . has become corrupted. It has lost its ethical path. It’s time for it to restore itself and get back to guiding society in the right direction. It’s time for the Houston Astros, the NFL, and any other team or individual who have violated the code of ethics in sports to take their shot and man up and do the right thing!
Rob Manfred continues to make a bad situation worse through his remarks. But his job security is only up to one group–the owners–who have the power to hire and fire. 3 reasons he's staying: MLB revenues are up. His contract is through 2024. Owners want him to negotiate new CBA.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) February 16, 2020