Social Moral Development
Sport, when seen as a valued human practice, is a form of moral education.As we grow up, sports play a vital role in establishing our social behavior. Through sports we realize the value of groups, partnerships, leaders and most of all rules. For nearly all of us childhood defines the start of developing social roles and its distinctive behaviors and physical play with parents, siblings as well as other children initiates and aids our development process. Whilst playing physically straining games such as tag, wrestling, hop-scotch we not only develop our physical health and stamina but we also build our personality, how we agree to and follow rules as well as working together in teams.Physical game play during early life develops social stamina and playing with others and accepting helps grow emotional proficiency. Children develop observational skills andpositive attitudes from their parents and others around them and endevour to stay away from activities that get negative responses. Therefore children play sports that get them attention from their parents and this causes them to enjoy their sport and try to win and accomplish causing children to develop a moral behaviour that instigates care and honor.Psychologists and social researchers have found that children who spend times with their parents and siblings and had previous sporting experience were popular peer group members (MacDonald, 1988).
The world of sport from youth through to professional levels and for both males and females is an extremely visible and salient institution. While developing social and moral behaviour through sports, one main aspect that has been recorded is “differentiating between right and wrong” and many moral decisions that take place concern the rules. For instance, athletes must decide whether to use illegal, performance enhancing drugs, whether to violate the rules of play or commit an intentional foul and so on. Decisions regarding aggressive tactics, harassing techniques to disrupt the opposition are dilemmas faced by coaches and players.An act of moral sacrifice, such as advantaging ones team in a way one perceives to be unfair, may be done out of obligation to coach or team members (McNamee 2000).Without rules there would be no success or win and there is a need to play correctly and honestly, without taking up anybody else’s space or sporting rights (Shields &Bredameier, 1995).
The atmosphere of competition is frequently represented by violence, aggression, wrongness and wickedness and these aspects are used to determine the ability and capability of the players. Thus, the objective of moral development can either enhance individual morality or it can succeed in destroying it in order to pursue selfish aims and objects, without considering others..Empathy is another moral characteristic of participation in sporting activities and is shown that for women, sporting activities builds up more empathy than in men.If one female competitor suffers injury or loss while playing the game all other women in the group are more prone to empathize with that person (Eagly& Wood, 1991). By playing sport we come across sports participation and as we assemble into teams, a sign of unity is brought forward building friendships, group success, acceptance and companionship (Wright &Cote, 2003; Greendorfer 2002); moral relationships such as compromises, co-operation and fair game play is built up and that further initiates increased social standing and personal characteristics (Sullivan, 1953).
Developing Ethical Morality through Sports
Ethics in sports is usually defined by fairness in play and image, for both male and female sportsmen, and no discrimination in terms of race or culture or personal habits.Modern ethical development through sports has the first main theory of deontology; it acknowledges right actions, to be fair, to ourselves and to others. Lying, deceiving, cheating is detrimental to self image and changes success into personal failure, hence the first rule of sports is to imply right, in any case (Lumpkin & Stoll 1999). Many consider boxing as immoral as it causes physical pain and intentional damage but then again it is a sport that teaches self defense using our physical abilities to bring down the opponent.
In order to judge a sportsman’s character the coach/employers need to see their moral behavior whilst playing sports. They need to see the ethical grooming of the athlete and how well s/he differentiates between both good and bad while playing also realizing right and wrong. Athletes are judged ethically by judging their levels of aggression, given fouls, cheatings and previous drug history, if any and identifying cheating habits is another way to judge an athlete’s ethical morality development. Cheating is a way of deceiving and winning therefore it is wrong and unethical in all worldly aspects. Pilz (1992) brought down the concept of foul play and concentrated on highlighting the connection between the behavior in groups and how traditions and moral behavior is demonstrated by players when playing sports. From his perspective it is believed that players deliberately want to disobey and break rules to come under the category of privileged despite it threatens the welfare of their rivals.Blasiasserts that morality can only be attained “if it is intentional, a response to some sense of obligation, and if the obligation is aresponse to an ideal, even if vaguely understood” (1987: 86). Thus, moral behavior is considered to be the deliberate acts or behavior, which represents the actions of the individuals in terms of personal beliefs and ideals.
Several critics of sports have discovered that the concept of fair play and sportsmanship are threatened by the concept of “winning-at-all-costs” (see, e.g., Bockrath&Franke, 1995; Grough, 1997; Papp &Prisztoka, 1995; Pilz, 1995). This can have a damaging impact on goals and objectives of the players and thus, it has become a standardized method of judging players (Eitzen, 1988, p. 28). Thus, sport participants fear of negative ratings and thus, concentrated on the philosophy of winning at all costs and this “pervades sport at every level and leads to cheating by coaches and athletes” (Eitzen, 1999, p. 52).While studying ethical morality through sports it was seen that during sporting events men were more prone to cheating than women.. Individuals and teams can lose their ethical standings, hurt other opponents on purpose and cheat, fix games and therefore act as frauds while playing sports, therefore raising a very important question –
If sports is such a good experience for physical and psychological growth then why does it bring down a man’s morality?
Losing Morality through Sport
Turiel (1983) suggests the in terms of morality and fairness, the action needs to be judge in terms of morality: Imperative ( the ability of the individual to decide to do nor not),non-contingent (the accuracy of the behavior that violates the rules), unalterable (the wrong behavior cannot be assumed to be right by getting consensus) and universalizable(wrong or right without considering the culture)- (Cited in Shields and Bredemeier, 1995: pp136).
Several critics of sports have discovered that the concept of fair play and sportsmanship are threatened by the concept of “winning-at-all-costs” (see, e.g., Bockrath&Franke, 1995; Grough, 1997; Papp &Prisztoka, 1995; Pilz, 1995). This can have a damaging impact on goals and objectives of the players and thus, it has become a standardized method of judging players (Eitzen, 1988, p. 28). Thus, sport participants fear of negative ratings and thus, concentrated on the philosophy of winning at all costs and this “pervades sport at every level and leads to cheating by coaches and athletes” (Eitzen, 1999, p. 52).
Freqeuently, it is believed that sportsmen use drugs to enhance their performance. . More and more sportsmen have been caught using performance enhancing drugsand it is frequently assumed that individuals using drugs to enhance performance are not identified (Striegel 2010). Using drugs or blood doping is a moral crime and it has become a trend. Based on its extensive use, several scholars assert that it should be used (Savulescu 2004,Wiesing 2011).Steroids and other drugs have caused physical and psychological harm for athletes and therefore the question of “sport losing its morality?” arises.
Sports have now become more of a competitive life and death situation rather than a simple game. Athletes destroy their physical competency by taking these short term performance boosters and this also causes them to cheat, implying a loss of morality.To hide their performance enhancement athletes stoop further when it comes to morals by paying their way out of legal tests and give out large sums of money to organizations that help them keep their secret hidden. Then again, can we blame these athletes for their poor judgments? Competition now harvests more than gold medals since athlete’s lives and their incomes depend on these games. Great sportsmen have left their morality when it comes to sports and become submersed in this type of addiction.Mark McGwire and Roy Jones Jr. have been known to use “Androstenedione” (Pharmacy Techs, 2011), a pill that produces steroids that then turn into testosterones. Fighters like Royce Gracie and James Toney have been known to use “Nandrolone” (Pharmacy Techs, 2011), another drug that acts as a testosterone supplement in the body. As a result of their decisions, these drug users are known to be affected with physical and psychological issues.
Sport is an artificial setting, created by human beings, in which the competitor is required to perform, at least according to current, widely prevalent belief, with a degree of naturalness.Luhmann(2008) stated, that the sports-watching audience is interested in athletic performance and not biochemistry. We associate the spirit of sport with the notion that achievements come through hard work, discipline, training and natural talents. Behaviours such as cheating, aggression, immoral injuries have all become a part of real life sports. By switching on any channel and looking at any game it is possible to pinpoint much immoral and unethical behaviour while playing sports and this has therefore changed the image of the positive dimension that helped human beings define and refine their behaviour. In terms of morality, there is need to consider traits such as justice, honesty, integrity and courage. The individual needs to practice phronesis in sports and these practices would be based on the best standards and traditions.
Aggression in Sports
While playing sports the main negative human reaction is aggression. Rules, physical contact, increased arousal, behaviour and constraint causes aggression and one main reason for aggression during sports can be frustration. Psychologists suggest that during sports two types of aggression takes place; hostile and instrumental aggression. During hostile aggression players try to injure each other; it is also known as reactive aggression as the athlete’s anger erupts instantly and hurts his opponent. Another theory about aggression in sports is Berkowitz theory (1969). He stated that a person feels stimulation due to the anger suffered at a given point. He also stated that aggression is at times learnt and for example, after watching rugby or soccer, spectatorscan become a little violent as the environment plays a significant role in stimulating aggression. In contrast, games such as table tennis or badminton do not experience any aggression as the environment is subtle and quiet. However, while playing rugby or soccer there is an aura of aggression; the boxing ring portrays hostility and anyone who enters the stadium is affected by that environment. People supporting the sport may be aggressive and therefore sportsmen cannot but put aside their moral behaviour and thus go for the hit, hurt and win tactic.
Sport is more of a liability to a man’s morality than an asset. Players do not play with the sincerity and passion of past times as for many, it is a means of making money; losing is not an option and therefore changes the whole idea of the moral and ethical nature of sport.Being moral is not only the ability to reason about moral issues in real life (rather than hypothetical ones) and make moral judgments in relation to them, but to feel about them and act upon them with practical wisdom.
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