Ethics in the Sports Performance

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Unit assessment
Sports Performance (FD):
50% Assignment, 50% Examination

Assignment: Making reference to theoretical literature and integrating pertinent examples, critically examine how the presence of drugs in sport could be harmful to both active participants and the broader sports community.

Due date: 12 Noon on Friday 7th December 2012 [feedback available on-line from 18th January, 2013] Length: 1500 words
Value: 50%

Introduction

This essay examines how the presence of drugs in sport could be harmful to both active participants and the broader sports community by underpinning the morals and ethics played in both parties. An active participant refers to elite athletes and the broader sports community refers to members of the publics who participate in sports in a society.

‘In 1928 the International Amateur Athletic Federation became the first International Sport Federation (IF) to ban the use of stimulating substances' also known as doping (Wada.ama.org). This improved the ethics of sports to an extent as the decision portrayed a notion of a fairer playing field. In modern major competitions and games the continued use of drugs in sport raises major concerns for a number of reasons. For active participants the use of doping is widely viewed as against the ethics of sport, the values of fair play and competition, as well as the rights of those to take part in it at whatever level (IOC.org). Equally within the broader sports community drug abuse is widely viewed as illegal and carries severe consequences if caught in a public place, for example possession of steroids which falls into a 'class C drug carries a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a fine' (cps.government.uk).

Athletes may take drugs due to the coach focussing on the physical excellence aspect of sport. Coaches should follow a philosophy of coaching “that will ensure a balanced integrated individual” capable of coping with life as a hole. (Dubin, 1990, p. 509).

A possible solution to enhancing levels of sporting success may be to level the playing field and not to have a drug or doping system in place for all athletes. This could enable athletes to continually break sporting barriers through the means of using performance enhancing drugs of their choice. For example a male or a female runner completing 100m in under 9 seconds. The International Amateur Athletic Federation (2004) estimated 'only 10-15% of athletes taking part in a major competition are tested' which creates an opportunity for 85-90% of athletes to potentially enhance their performance and not be caught.

Other pathways could evolve to permitting athletes the experimentation of cognitive enhancing drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall which are substances used to reduce fatigue and enhance mental and physical performance. Inside a sporting arena the aim may be to promote educational development; giving scholars within a game environment the edge to out-smart their opponent. The spectacle of sport participated at a heightened level of ability may open bigger windows for the entertainment industry. For the active participants, theoretically it could increase their opportunities to compete at a high level prolonging their career length as a world class athlete.

The reason why active participants are against using performance enhancing drugs may be to do with the stigma attached undermining their ethical values, and the restriction on moral development. Bredemeier (1984) described moral development as ‘the process by which an individual comes to adopt social regulations’. When an athlete is caught cheating, the community generally feels disappointed in the team or individual, leading to a bad reputation for being a cheat. The poor ethical practice the harm on moral development could have a direct influence on the broader sports community. This is often boat housed by the media from active participants to the broader sports community. A more...
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