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Understanding Human Experience through Social Studies


Many scholars such as McNamee (2008) argue that with time, sports will end up either being a school of virtue or an institution of vice. This is to why the prevalence of cheating in professional games such as football must be a huge culture concern to the entire society. Regardless of whatever level you are in your favorite sport, training grounds ought to be for virtue as it helps mold your character. From sports, you can learn virtues of perseverance, hard work, courtesy to be a good sportsmanship as well as how to overcome any obstacles. However the same sports can also cultivate vices in instances where the end result is more important than virtues being taught. This is the reason as to why nowadays it is difficult to open a sports page without reading something related to cheating and its consequences. Honesty thus is fundamental thing in sports due to its numerous benefits on sports lovers; this paper thus paper critically expounds on the stand by Singer that honesty is lacking in sports today.

As a result, Peter Singer asks, what happened to nobility in sports?  Why are there more cases of cheating in today’s soccer games? To clearly elaborate on this topic, Singer gives an instance of back in 1996 when a striker from Liverpool, Robbie Fowler, was wrongly given a penalty by the referee where he clearly told the referee he want fouled. This is against what is happening today where; a win is more important no matter how it is achieved. Other instances are where Manuel Neuer and Thiery Henry managed to fool the referee by returning a clear goal into play and scoring questionable goals respectively; though the referee was fooled, they did not fool the conscience and the society that expects high integrity in sports that reflect fairness in the end results as Feustel and Rodenberg (2015) explain. The rate at which players are cheating and start thinking they are not culpable is alarming. If there is one thing I agree with Singer is that cheating even in a football game is not okay at any one instance.

Being a lover of football, it goes without saying that I have a deep passion for sports. However, there are practices that are going around in football that water down the integrity thus leading to fewer and fewer people wanting to participate in sports as Singer (2010) explains. My main reason for choosing this topic is that one day I yearn for a day when sports will be free from these vices and the fair and transparent elected leadership will work towards the development of the various relevant sports. Sports are essential in development of children as well as adults in our society. They exert a powerful influence in our society and responsible for shaping personalities and characters of different individuals in the community. Therefore every step is responsible for this; including the management, coaches and the players themselves. It is thus very essential for the appointed and/or elected leadership in sports to be fair and transparent to shape the character of an individual. Any vices and misdirection’s in this area may veer an individual off the right path of differentiating what is right from wrong morally. In this regard, Singer recommends strong criticisms from the public for cheating actions during the game as well as a similar action taken such as when the players cheat off the field.

In recent times, many sports have been under scrutiny with allegations from the general public purporting unethical choices that undermine integrity and transparency. Examples of malpractices include the gross of vice of corruption, the inhumane normalization of harmful practices that harm people’s bodies and minds, increasing cases of fraud and mistaken identity and avoidance of social responsibility on the issues relating to human rights.

Beugelsdijk, & Noorderhaven (2005) researched and discovered in America that competition usually brings out the worst in people. In any competition, there is bound to be a winner and a loser. It should not mean that the latter is usually not accepted. This fierce competition is what generates the disposal of moral values and principles leading to moral poverty. Despite all the accolades and achievements that FIFA has, it is currently facing the worst crisis in its history. A report by the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee, chaired by Swiss lawyer Francois Carrad, has shown that FIFA is plagued with corruption, fraud, self-dealing and there is a need for the organization to be more transparent and accountable (Bank, 2018). As per the Carrad report, it can easily be deduced that FIFA lacked the adequate governing and control frameworks to match the fast growing global enterprise. It suggests that the faults in FIFA’s institutional political leadership have nurtured and enabled patronage practices within the organization. An ethical leader is an individual who not only profess high values and morals and the drive for success. The person understands that it is important to establish a good and stable framework that will lead to the development of the organization. Ethical leadership entails demonstrating that which is for the common good of the general society and that which is morally right and not repugnant to justice and morality. Brown and Trevino (2006) hence views ethical leadership as containing the following: “integrity, fairness, responsibility, and displaying honesty and genuineness during accountability.” Further integrity in sports leadership is essential as it leads to increased participation and maintaining member loyalty, financial viability which attracts sponsors and investors and promotion of sport as a brand in whole.

To achieve ethical leadership, the sport should adopt policies that apply to the leadership, commercial subsidiaries staff and relationship with member associations. The sport should always elect or appoint a member of top management who will be accountable for the performance. There should be existing cross-functional structures that act as watchdogs over each other to curb and prevent abuse of power.


From the discussions, it can be seen that fairness in sports is a very good thing, for instance it earns the players respect from the fans, however, the player as well as the society in general, are still far away from embracing and inculcating ethics into various structures of leadership. It is because we, humans, as a society are very resistant to change. However I think with time and patience, we will be able to achieve a nearly perfect ethical leadership that honors integrity and accountability.





Bank, S. A. (2018). Reforming FIFA from the Inside Out.

Beugelsdijk, S., & Noorderhaven, N. (2005). Personality characteristics of self-employed; an empirical study. Small Business Economics24(2), 159-167.

Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The leadership quarterly17(6), 595-616.

Feustel, E. D., & Rodenberg, R. M. (2015). Sports integrity: detecting match-fixing in soccer. Gaming Law Review and Economics19(10), 689-694.

McNamee, M. (2008). Sports, virtues and vices: Morality plays. Routledge

Singer, P. (2010). Is it OK to cheat in sports? Madinson Opinion News Column


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