Ethics in the Sports Performance

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Drugs in sport Pages: 6 (1929 words) Published: May 20, 2013
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%


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 ( 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 ( 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' (

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...

References: Bredemeier, B.J. (1986) Moral Growth Among Athletes and Nonathletes: A Comparative Analysis, Journal of Genetic Psychology, 147:1, p.7.
Dubin, C. L. (1990). Ethics and morality in sport. In Commission of inquiry into the use of drugs and banned practices intended to increase athletic performance (pp. 498-5 12) Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Government Publishing Center.
Spence, G., Cavanagh, M. & Grant, A.M. (2006). Duty of care in an unregulated industry: Initial findings on the diversity and practices of Australian coaches. International Coaching Psychological Review, 1(1), 71–85.
Miah, A. (2004) Why not dope?: It’s still about the health. Cited in Genetically Modified Athletes. P 173.
Noakes, T. D. (2000). Physiological models to understand exercise fatigue and the adaptations that predict or enhance athletic performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 10, p123–145.
Haney, C. J., Long, B. C., and Howell, G. (1998) ‘Coaching as a profession: Ethical
Concerns’, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 10:2,240 — 250
Schneider, A. J., and Butcher, R. B. (1999) A philosophical overview of the argument on banning doping in sport. Chapter 13; p185-197.
Van Hoose, W. H., & Kottler, J. A. (1988). Ethical and legal issues in counselling and psychotherapy. London. England: Jossey-Bass.
Zorpette, G. (2000) All Doped up - and Going for the Gold. Sports Medicine: Drug Testing. Scientific American: (May 2000) 282; p20-22.
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