Physical or mental well-being

This quote above is an act of gamesmanship and not sportsmanship as it cannot be deemed ethically right to stop the participation of foreign players in the English game based on nationality alone. Hoberman (1992) believes athletes in the modern era are “scientifically honed and augmented athletic bodies” This relates to ‘performance enhancing drugs’ and that more and more professional athletes are being found positive for using them. Anti-doping agencies look to prevent the use of performance enhancing drugs by doing random tests.

Professional sport has helped identify not only problems within professional sport but also topics in the real world such as drug taking is now being portrayed more in the media and well known stars are backing campaigns such as, ‘let’s kick racism out of football’ in an attempt to get rid of a form of abuse which will not only stem from football but society as we know it (Kick it out, 2011). In ancient sporting times the aim of sport was to simply ‘enjoy’ and play for enjoyment (Hill, 2007). Sport now has a ‘win at all costs’ costs mentality towards sport (Barnes, 2006). This is due to the pressure put on players to win. This is apparent as players will often sacrifice their health in order to compete.”They will do anything to accomplish that goal, even if it means sacrificing their own physical or mental well-being” (Freeman, 1998, p.1).

Sport has developed a win at all costs mentality. (Coakley & Donnelly, 1999) As opposed to the previous approach which athletes adhered to where enjoyment and enrichment of the sport were the primary focus (Yiannakis & Melnick, 2001) This is due to the pressure put on players to win (Nixon, 2008). A win at all costs mentality can be defined as simply what it states, this meaning a disregard to the rules in place as the result is the only thing that matters and brings success (Coakley, 2007). An example of this is not only from the players but the managers who are judged on the results in the present and not their work building towards the future. Managers are given less time than ever to bring success to their club as often teams are ran by investors wanting to see an immediate profit.

“We need a ‘Playing to Win’ ethos in all that we do – the highest standards on and off the field” (Cryer 2011). This quote is talking about game plans attitude towards sportand states the importance for England to succeed at the London 2012 Olympics. This again shows the emphasis of winning, and that it is the only thing that matters. Ethical views from the media or coaches can lead to how athletes ethically view situations. Athletes’ are put under enormous pressure to win, and each athlete face the same temptations to achieve this goal (Loland, 2002). However whether or not individuals choose to act on these temptations depends on what the athlete becomes to believe is morally right and wrong (Boxill, 2003).

The developments of many sports were seen to make sport easier to access and the range of sports increased as did the professional status. Cricket was a game that developed from an originally amateur based sport to quickly taking over a professional status; however many of the professional cricketers were overseas players (Holt & Mason, 2000). By 1945 there was only an 80/20 split in the figures leaving only 20% of cricketers amateur.

Denis Compton believed “the amateur cricketer was dying out because he was not able to afford the time involved. Only men with well-established parents were able to take part: it had become an economic problem to be amateur.” Cricket became commercialised in 1963 when a new tournament was founded in order to gain some extra revenue it was named the ‘Gillette cup ‘now a world famous shaving brand they provided �6,500 in sponsorship (Polley, 1998). However this was unsuccessful at the time as there was not enough interest. “However, the qualitative and quantitative shifts in commercial influence over the last fifty years have been little short of phenomenal” (Polley, 1998, p.64).

Amateur players are said to play the game for their own enjoyment and receive no benefits such as, money, equipment, or any other things which could be deemed to class them as a professional. However modern day amateur athletes who compete in amateur tournaments, games and competitions are often receiving a reward of some sort, whether it is money, sponsorship deals or equipment these could be seen as benefits that a professional may get (Barnes, 2006).

This brings shamateurism into the equation, shamateurism is a controversial term as it refers to an athlete who is classified as an amateur, competing against amateur’s receiving benefits or money which is not legally documented which may give them an unfair advantage over amateurs who do not receive these rewards. The term shamateurism came about as these people found to be doing this are said to be making a ‘sham’ of the games they are competing in and the whole amateur philosophy. “W.G Grace was the inventor of shamateurism” (Barnes, 2006). An example of this is golfer Roy Mcllroy who retained his amateur status however participated in professional golf tournaments with the world’s leading golfers. Although Mcllroy eventually turned professional there has to be some concern if he were to be receiving anything from outside interest when still at amateur status.

Cheating, otherwise known as deviance can be defined as Deviant Behaviour which is a product of numerous interacting social and cultural forces. These include an inadequate socialisation process; lack of, or failure of social controls; perceived inequities in a situation; the individual’s definition of the situation; and the labelling of individuals who engage in deviance. More specifically, one learns deviant behaviour by directly and indirectly acquiring opportunities (McPherson et al, 1989).

The term “deviance” usually refers to some behaviour that is inconsistent with standards of acceptable conduct prevailing in a given social group, although the term has also been used to designate personal conditions, ideas, or statuses that are stigmatized or disreputable. Social scientists disagree, about a precise definition of deviance because they use different approaches in trying to determine exactly what the standards of conduct or the acceptable statuses and conditions are in a given group (Gibbs, 1981).

Within sport, deviance involves violating the rules of a game or organisation, going beyond accepted definitions of fair play and sportsmanship, and intentionally using illegal means to intimidate or injure an opponent (Eitzen, 1988). Deviance levels have risen due to the commercialisation of sport, impacting on the pressure to win (Coakley, 2003). Deviance is split up into three approaches: absolutist, relativist and the alternative approach.

The absolutist approach believes that deviance can be judged as either right or wrong (Coakley, 1990). This means that when the behaviours of athletes, coaches, management or spectators do not fit with what these people see as the ideals of sports, those behaviours are then identified as deviant (Aggleton, 1987). This approach gives the idea that people who violate the rules lack moral character and intelligence (Heitzeg, 1995). An example of this would be Maradonas famous ‘Hand of god’ goal scored against England where he scored using his hand to win the game and deceived the referee.

However sportsmanship is evident in the professional game, with things such as pre match handshakes with officials and opposing players and when a player is down injured the other team will often kick the ball out of play so he can get treatment. This is an important part of many sporting images and promotes fair play and respect. A recent highlight in the media was when Samir Nasri refused to shake William Gallas hand in a recent north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham in 2010.

Relativist approach believes that no behaviour and no person are inherently deviant. Instead, deviance is defined through a labelling process where behaviours are identified as unacceptable on the bases of the rules established (J.J. Coakley, 1994). This approach bases its opinions around the differing labelling systems in place by social groups. To the relativist approach nothing can be judged as either right or wrong, it simply looks for an alternative definition for right and wrong (Mayo,1986).

The alternative approach use the “normal distribution approach” (Coakley,2003). With this we see that most behaviour falls under a certain degree of acceptance. Either side are under conformity meaning that the behaviour is deviant and over conformity is behaviour that is grounded in the uncritical acceptance of the rules (Coakley, 2003). An example of over conformity is seen in a study by Ewald & Jibou (1985) where they studied male bodybuilders throughout training and competition and found that followed training norms to such extent that their relationships and health were affected negatively however they were never questioned as it was regarded the norm. This although not deemed illegal is not ethically right to damage someones health in order to compete.

Finally, there is evidence that athletes in certain sports simply come to expect and engage in certain on-the-field rule violations, such as, “good fouls”, and “cheating when you can get away with it” (shields et al, 1995). Parry and McNamee (1998) suggest that any sportsman using mind games and trash talk is also going against Virtue theory of performing a morally correct action. Even though mind games and trash talk is not violating any rules, it is still gaining a competitive advantage and the athlete knows this, making it morally wrong. This was the case of Roger Clemens who used to psyche opponents out to gain an advantage by staring at them while only letting them see his eyes over the top of his glove (Dorens and Jones, 2002).

Parry and McNamee (1998) suggest that any sportsman using mind games and trash talk is also going against Virtue theory of performing a morally correct action. Even though mind games and trash talk is not violating any rules, it is still gaining a competitive advantage and the athlete knows this, making it morally wrong. This was the case of Carl Lewis who psyched out his opponents out to gain an advantage by walking down the track shaking his competitors hand before the 100 metre race.

This from the outset was perceived as sportsmanship as he was wishing his fellow athletes good luck however in an interview after Carl Lewis confirmed it was to get inside his opponents head and worry them. This act was however gamesmanship as he was attempting to gain an unfair advantage. Therefore if drugs are going to be banned from sport then mind games need to be as well. However if the athlete is not breaking the rules then they are not cheating and it is difficult to pin a judgment on if they are been unethical or not (Morgan, 2007).The only way to take away the argument of what is ethically correct when taking Sport performance enhancing drugs or any other supplement is to make them morally acceptable (Morgan, 2007).


“We have reached the logical end of sport. The most cursory glance at the sports pages over the past week or two makes that quite clear. Everywhere you look, you find stories of people who have taken the sport out of sport. Many of them have succeeded, some merely stand accused” (Barnes, 2006). Barnes (2006) views reiterate the fact that he believes sport is now almost taken over and is no longer a ‘fair’ and ‘just’ game he states that match fixing and cheating is now apparent in all forms of sport in today’s games.

To say that modern day sport and professionals brought sport into disrepute would be wrong, the assumption that cheating was not apparent in ancient sport is misleading, as Hill (2007) states that “although Baron De Coubertin’s ideal was one of a global competition allowing fellow athletes to test themselves against others in a spirit of friendship” (Hill, 2007). However every athlete became to know the importance of a good performance and what success could bring them. The fact that sport in the modern era is under scrutiny more and more portrays that only now things such as drug scandals, match fixing and blood doping are now becoming announced due to the mass amount of media attention that sport now receives by either, television, radio, newspapers and the internet which is relatively new.

“Modern athletics, particularly the Olympics, exhibit ambivalence on the question of professionalism in sport. The desire for amateurism- competition for its own sake- runs smack into economic realities: athletes must eat, and they also have to find a way to pay for their training” (Miller, 2004, p.207) Many statements from coaches and players are based around the idea of winning and based on only the result, sport has now become a business and top football teams are sought after and regarded very much as a business. People’s livelihoods are at stake now based on results and performances and will do anything to get the result they need to still be employed whether it means cheating, trash talk or simply not conforming to the unwritten rules, such as, kicking the ball out of play if a player is injured.

I think professionalism has aided the games development and understanding, while there is an argument that it has caused conflict, it is also seen as a universal language and a bridge which people can cross and understand one another, meaning we can socialize and integrate with many people. Competition in sport is healthy and should not be seen to ‘destroy sport as Barnes (2006). Competition is what separates sport from an activity. The will to win and the competitive nature is evident in all sports players, irrespective of their status.

Sportsmanship is not only a thing of the past in professional sport it is now disappearing as a win at all costs mentality is becoming apparent in all forms of sport as the term shamateurism has been defined which brings all forms of the game into disrepute (Coakley, 2009). Many amateur teams are now very competitive as the success of the club can bring in revenue to enable new facilities. An example of this is the F.A cup in football where amateur and semi-professional teams earn revenue from gate receipts and winning bonus which enables them to compete and travel to matches.

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