Resolving contemporary ethical issues in sport
1h 04m 34s
In this webinar our expert panel of Bronwyn Fagan (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority), John Armstrong (Pedal Power ACT) and Dr Paul Oliver (Oliver and Thompson Consultancy) guide us through a series of sporting ethical dilemmas. We consider these using the Ethical Decision Making Framework as a tool to help us understand and deal with ethical dilemmas appropriately.
Peter: Hello and welcome, everybody. It’s Peter Downs here, manager of Play by the Rules, welcome to the webinar, “What Would You Do? Resolving Contemporary Ethical Issues in Sport.” This is the first webinar for Play by the Rules for quite some time, so welcome, everybody, and it’s certainly not the last, we’ll be having a series of these in the coming months. We had over 200 registrations for this particular webinar, which is a fantastic result and we’ve got about 100 people logged on and live as we speak right now to this webinar. Thank you very much for your time this evening.
So why are we here and what do we hope that you will get out of this webinar? Well Play by the Rules is all about making sport safe, fair and inclusive. We deal with a whole range of issues such as child protection, harassment, discrimination, bullying, racism, homophobia, complaint handling and even issues such as doping and supplements use at a grassroots level of sport. We have codes, policies, guidelines to help deal with these issues. We have online education programs and media campaigns that help raise levels of awareness and understanding. But one thing is clear in all of this, things happen because people—because of the decisions that people make, be they conscious or even unconscious decisions.
Now this is where it gets interesting as lots of things can contribute to decision making. It’s not so straightforward always. What we hope to do today is give you a framework and a tool to help your understanding of how people come to the decisions that they do, what influences people’s decision making? If we can better understand what influences decision making, then we are in a better position to prevent poor decisions happening in the first place.
Now I hope this doesn’t sound too negative as manager of Play by the Rules, I sometimes have to remind myself that the vast majority of people want and intend to do the right thing but things can happen.
So today’s agenda, we’re going to go into some introductions of our expert panellists in just a second and then we’re going to introduce you to the ethical decision making framework which we will use as a basis for this particular webinar. You are also able to download that live during the webinar from your control panel, and I’ll show you about that in a second. We’ll then go into our first dilemma activity and this is where you can participate in the webinar. So we’re going to pose a particular ethical dilemma to you and you’ll be able to submit your response live and we’ll see the collective responses to that particular dilemma. We’ll go into a question and answer session after the first dilemma, then we’ll go into our second and we’ll do the same routine again.
We’ll go through and pose the dilemma to you and ask, “What would you do in this circumstance?” Then we’ll have a Q&A session, a little presentation and some thoughts from our panellists around that and answer any questions as we go and then go into dilemma three. We’ll take a little bit of a different—we’ll go pose you the dilemma and ask you, “What would you do in this circumstance?” and your situation and then we will go through with the panel, we’ll go through the various steps of the ethical decision making framework on this particular dilemma.
So we’ll take you on a step-by-step how to use the framework, what the thoughts of our panellists are and how they would use the framework in dealing with dilemma three. And we’ll have a wrap up and close towards the end, I hope to get through this within the hour, it’ll be around about an hour.
First, let’s now introduce our panellists. Now a little (04:19) but webinars are not an exact science, we are relying on gods— technology gods a little bit but hopefully we can get through this fine. Let’s first introduce you to—a short introduction to Dr. Paul Oliver. Paul, can you hear me?
Paul: I can hear you. How are you, Pete?
Peter: Good. Give us a little 30 second introduction to yourself. It’s better if you do it, Paul.
Paul: Yeah sure. Welcome, everyone, it’s great to see such interest in this area in sport. My background, I’ve worked in sport my whole life, first as a journalist and editor for sports magazines and then for government around the social justice area dealing with issues of discrimination and inclusion for disability, racism, sexism, all those sort of areas. More recently, we just work helping sporting organizations address the contemporary issues in sport around match fixing, doping, good governance and discrimination inclusion and particularly in this field around promoting ethics and values in sport to help athletes, coaches and administrators make better decisions and choices.
Peter: Great stuff and Paul is going to take us through in a second the ethical decision making framework by way of giving a bit of a context. Thanks very much Paul, and can I also now introduce you to John Armstrong, and John can you hear me?
John: Yes I can Pete, and thank you very much for having me on the panel.
Peter: No problem do you want to give a quick intro to yourself?
John: Yes, thanks Pete, I’ve probably been a little bit like Paul, I’ve been associated with sport for probably the past 20 or 30 years, heavily involved in cycling from State through to National level at various forms. Heavily involved in coach education many years ago, and most recently in the ACT as the executive officer of Petal Pair ACT and CEO of a thing called capital cycling that looks after all of the cycling entities within the ICT so I’m very much looking forward to the discussion today.
Peter: Brilliant, thanks John. And we’ll be coming back to John Shortly, but that’s two of our panellists. Let’s see if I can find the third panellist. We had a few traumas technically, but I’m going to see if I can do this, Bronwyn you may have to unmute yourself. Bronwyn can you hear me?
Bronwyn: Yes I can hear you. Can you hear me?
Peter: Yes I can, great.
Bronwyn: So I am, as you can see, from the photograph there, I’m reliving my lost youth as an elite athlete. I’ve done a lot of sports, a lot of different sports, mainly probably track and field sports. Skeleton and bobsleigh, which are winter sports, so spent quite a lot of time training at the AIS. But really what I am is a lawyer, so I’ve worked in sort of a range of different fields. At the moment I’m director of legal services at ASADA so I deal quite a lot with the IFP, had some involvement in the training of the guys – the IFP guys that looked after the two major events that we had here recently in Australia, the Cricket and the Football. Just how they dealt with the security around teams and what to expect when athletes are taken away to have a doping control test. So how to keep the teams together and just what to expect from that whole process. I suppose now in the Sports layer that I also work on ABC grandstand with Team Gavel, so I’ve spoken to John Armstrong quite a lot.
John: Sorry about that Bronwyn.
Peter: But that’s great, thank you Bronwyn. I’m glad we managed to hook up there; we’ll come back to you in just a second or two. SO that’s our expert panel. Part of this, I should explain really, came out of a series of forums that were conducted earlier in the year by Play by The Rules in conjunction with ASAD the anti-doping authority and the National Integrity in Sport Unit in integrity issues in sport. But ethical decision making which was used as the basis for those forums, really fits Play by The Rules, across a whole range of grass roots sports issues, hence we’re using it for this very first webinar today.
So without further delay lets introduce you to the ethical decision making framework and in just a couple of minutes, two or three minutes, introducing you to the basis of the framework, what will be using as we work through today. So Paul can you take us through that?
Paul: Yes, sure Pete, I mean unless you’re living on the moon in recent times you’d be aware of a whole range of integrity issues affecting sport recently. And when I talk about integrity issues, I talk about the higher profile ones around corruption with FIFA recently, you’ve got the doping ones with Lance Armstrong that have been in the media. And then match fixing ones, we have the Southern Stars incident, but all the way down to individual athletes around supplement issues, doping and discrimination issues as well that happen, and you’ve seen some of those in sport recently particularly around Adam Goods and all the booing.
Just make the point that these issues aren’t new in sport, these sort of things, fixing events or taking supplements go back – way back in history. The first ancient Olympic games 776 BC they were taking sheep’s testicles and you go through the tour de France races where they’re taking Novocaine and all different things, so making the point that the issues aren’t new, but there just seems to be more scrutiny in sport around these issues now.
And I mean my opinion with these is these issues will continue to happen, they’ll always happen in sport because there’ll always be people willing to take the risks to gain those rewards and make the wrong choices in those particular times. And the other point is that people are fillable. They make mistakes, every one makes mistakes and makes the wrong choices sometimes, so my angle on this with sport is that we need to build up peoples skills around values and ethics to help people make the right choices when they are confronted with tricky situations and within sport there’s grey areas and tricky areas all the time around performance and coaching and what to take and how to get ahead, so the whole just of today is that we can do that around learning more around learning ethics.
Ethics poses the question basically what do I do when you are confronted with a choice or a decision and ethics when it brings into that, it brings into different things around values, principles, purpose and your morals. All of those things going to an ethical choice, and when we talk about values, values are the things you believe are important in the way you live and work.
There’s a whole range of general values that we have, the universal of honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness, those sorts of things. And a lot of those are really relevant to sport as well. But everyone has different values, and everyone prioritizes values different within a different situation. But with choices, how we perceive what the best of good choices, usually are based first on our values. We think about that and then after that we bring in our principles, so we work out what’s good choice to make, but we also have to make out what’s right and what’s wrong in making a decision. And that’s where principles come into the equation. And they’re the fundamental truths that help us work out what’s right and wrong. They’re the things you’re learned throughout you’re life, it may be through your parents, through your grandparents a whole range of different experiences that you’ve had that help you keep core principles and that might be things like do unto others or you know the only failure in life is not trying those sorts of things. And so you bring those to your decision as well.
One of the keys that you bring into ethics and decision making is purpose, so it’s in the sporting context, what is your purpose in sport? Why did you get involved in the first place? And what is it now, is it to be fun, is it to be social, is it to get healthy, is it to build up different things around your character and self-esteem. Or is your purpose more focused on the winning side of things and the glory and the money. Getting a good handle on your purpose in sport can give you a good handle on the behaviours and choices people make within our ethical decisions as well.
And the other element to bring in with ethics is morals, as well. And they’re the things taught throughout your life journey, whether good or bad. It might have been taught for religion, it might have been taught for experience, but they’re basic wider community beliefs around do not cheat respect or those sort of things and all of these elements you bring into ethical decision making. And that’s simply what ethical decision making is, is recognition of all of these elements when you make a decision.
So what we’ve done, and it’s the attachment that you can click and print off is develop and ethical decision making framework that takes in all these aspects and makes you consider all these elements when you’re making a choice. To run for the framework the most basic things of an ethical decision is getting the facts of a decision. What is the dilemma? Who would the main players involved? And within any decision, particularly in sport you have to frame that around what are the rules so what are the policies or standards that might influence my decision?
A lot of people base decisions on what’s at stake or the consequences for people and the outcomes of your decision. Other people focus more on the rules and say they’re the rules that’s the decision I’m going to base things around. While others they can see what are the main principles or morals or values to consider. So any ethical decision brings in all of these elements and that’s what this framework does, I guess, Pete, is just step people through slowing down and making consider all these different elements going to a decision.
Peter: Yes, and that’s what we’re going to be touching on this afternoon. As Paul mentioned too, you can download that in your hand-outs here, which has an info graphic on one side and Ethical Decision making framework on the other. So thanks, Paul, that’s given us a good context to begin with. I also want to—Paul mentioned a little bit there about the rules and (00:16:26) particularly good at rules, codes and policies in these areas, and they are important influences in the decisions we make, and just to give a bit of a background on that and a bit of a perspective on that, Bronwyn can you give us a couple of minutes around policies and rules and stuff. I don’t want to pick on you because you’re from ASADA there, and its policies and rules, but – what do you think about the influence of policies and codes and rules in our decision making?
Bronwyn: Yes, I mean you’re absolutely right, but I think that as Paul said you sort of have to look at what’s important to you in sport, What are you there for? But I think people view sport from your own perspective very much so. So your perspective of the outcome of a Grand Final on the weekend would be very much dependant on which particular team you go for, because that’s your view.
So within sport you might be an athlete, or you might be a referee or you might be a doctor or a support person and you tend to view it all from the perspective of that person. But not having a sort of holistic understanding of all of the different rules and policies and codes is not going to get you out of the things that you are bound by under those particular policies, so just I suppose as an example, if you’re playing on a hockey field and the referee pulls you up for breaking a rule, there’s absolutely no value in saying to referee, “I can’t be bound by that because I didn’t know about it.” It’s you are bound; it’s sort of the way it is.
At the moment compared to even five or ten years ago there’s certainly a lot more visibility and scrutiny on what athletes do to even quite low levels, So there’s a lot more visibility through social media, but there’s also a lot more rules, regulations and policies. So ASADA as a regulator is the anti-doping framework is just getting more and more complex and unfortunately athletes and support people and everybody else administrators they are all bound by those same rules and policies, whether they know about them or not.
So I guess you know there’s also sort of the anti-doping things, but there’s codes of conduct, there’s conditions for (00:18:57) facilities and competitions. There’s policies for everything from the use of social media, your behaviour on the side-line, use of needles and that will apply to you whether you’re a high level professional athlete or low level athlete. Anti-doping the policies apply all the way down, whether you just play socially on the weekend, as long as you’re a member of the sport. There’s selection policies, there’s uniform policies you know membership policies, sponsorship supplements.
And on top of those there’s laws that you’re bound by, so there’s the anti-doping legislation, there’s criminal laws, there’s telecommunications laws, you know there’s all sorts of laws. And there’s also obviously something very important to keep in mind is that sort of coverall that sports have about not bringing the game into disrepute. So no matter what level of team that you want to get selected for, if somebody doesn’t want to select you or even if they do, if there’s something that you’ve done that might be considered to have brought the game into disrepute then you might be excluded, and that’s a very unfortunate way to waste all the work that you’ve done.
So I think as a general rule, because there are so many laws, laws and rules and policies, as a general rule if you should just read everything that you sign so whether it’s a membership or whatever it is make sure you read the fine print and make sure you ask questions if you have any questions at all. I think that’s important to remember that you are bound, so don’t think – I mean we’ve had a lead athlete say I didn’t read that. It doesn’t matter you are still bound by it. So it is very important to just be aware of everything that you sign up for and do ask questions.
Peter: Yes thanks, Bronwyn. Yes on Play by the Rules we have a whole stack of codes and conducts and templates and part of what I’ve noticed over the years is that sometimes, not always, sometimes people tend to copy and use those templates without really understanding what’s kind of behind them and having (00:21:17) mind. Thanks very much Bronwyn. Lets move on now very quickly, I’ll ask that John, let me just see if I can unmute. John, isn’t it about though, isn’t it the juxtaposition of sportsmanship and or gamesmanship around this too? That’s a key element of decision making as well.
John: Yes it is and I really like Bronnie’s legal scenario is driving that. Of course we need to do that. But if I can Peter, I want to bring this nearly back to where the participants are at, nine times out of ten you’re not the manager of the national scene. You’re not in an elite area, but you do have to make some really strong ethical decisions that either uphold or do not, the spirit of the game.
So I guess what I’d like to do very quickly is perhaps relay a story that I found myself in that clearly identifies this notion of questioning whether you need to make the right decision, but how you might go about it. And the reason I do that quickly if I could, Peter, is because in undertaking this scenario I had to address each and all of the four areas around the ethical decision making framework.
And if I could ask you very briefly just to imagine that I were a manager of a team at a National event and in order to compete at a National event sometimes in order to compete in certain disciplines you’ve actually got to compete in others. So it could be that in order to compete in an elimination you’ve got to compete in cross country event first. I found myself as a team manager of a team questioning decisions made by the athletes around a choice that they made, not the team made, to not compete to the best of their abilities in the cross country in order to save themselves for the elimination final. Now that caused a whole series of issues, and a whole series of dilemmas of which I might, if time permits, allow me to go in a little bit further as we go through the seminar. But what I do want to do is really bring it back to the individual these things, these decisions do happen, in everyday coaching, in everyday administration, and you’d really do have to look at the way in which you choose and shape your ethical decision making.
And Pete just before we go on to the next slide, perhaps I might give a little bit of a context around this scenario that you might paint, the context if I can around this next scenario is that we have a competitor in the probably the most famous race in the world, the Tour de France, leading or close to leading on general classification, right up there in the framework and you have a fellow Australian coming across a dilemma that is presented and I might throw back to you Pete to present that dilemma.
Peter: Yes, excellent, good lead in. John, we should have done that in rehearsal that’s really good. Thanks John, we will do that, we’re going to go now into the first dilemma for you and we’re going to ask you these questions first and then we have a quick discussion with our panel. Now this little test, are you still there paying attention? We’ve got a hundred people on line, so I’ll read this out. This is what would you do in this circumstance.
In the tenth stage of the 2015 Giro d’Italia cycling event Australian team’s go Sky rider Richie Porte was just behind the leaders when he sustained a potentially disastrous puncture in his front tire. As it happened his compatriot and friend Simon Clarke from the opposite team, Orica GreenEdge, was on the spot, saw Porte’s situation and without hesitation offered his own front wheel, he helped Porte change his wheel, got him back in the race. Another Australian, Michael Matthews, also riding for Orica GreenEdge then worked with team Sky to try to pace Porte back to the main Peloton.
The sting in the tail came when the race officials penalized Porte 2-minutes for taking help from someone outside of his own team. Clarke was also penalized 2-minutes for his generous act of friendship. So what would you do? What would you do in this situation? Now imagine you are Simon Clarke and you’ve just seen Richie Porte puncture, what would you do? Would you ignore and extinguish nothing as you know it’s against the rules or nothing because you are on a different team. Or run in and help out Simon Clarke style?
So I’m going to pose this as a poll. Let me just bring that up for you now. And you can vote on your scree. You can vote on your screen by clicking into the box what would you do if you were Simon Clarke, what would you do. Now don’t worry this is completely anonyms, well kind of, I won’t tell anybody, I can see the results later on, but I promise I won’t tell anyone. So answer honestly what would you do? So we see that 3% would ignore and extinguish. 37% nothing as it’s against the rules. 15% nothing because you’re on a different team. And 45% run in and help out Clarke style.
Let’s now return to our panel. And maybe I’ll start with John again because he finished off there, which is a little bit again – no actually I’ll go to Paul first of all because Paul’s got a related kind of story on this. Interesting results, Paul.
Paul: Yes interesting, good to see. I think I’m on the one that’d run in and help out. But interesting with Bron’s one of the rules of yes whether riders would actually know this rule and be aware of it or it’s something they were surprised at the end and actually got caught with the two minute penalty. Rules are very important obviously, but for me the things that come into it would be the consequences, so if I don’t help out Richie Porte could have a chance of this one leg of losing a chance of winning the race, and the other part would be the empathy the instinctive thing to jump in and – for me it’s the moral, it’s the right thing to do you seeing and this occasion it’s not just someone you don’t know it’s a mate in there as well, to step in and do the right thing.
Peter: Yes, exactly. And what’s that picture we see there Paul?
Paul: Ah, that’s the Parry Rue Bay, so a different cycling race, which throws a different contrast on rules of one race, but not rules on another race, which you’ll explain no doubt.
Peter: Yes, interesting picture isn’t it? Let me bring in John as well, because I think he’s dying to contribute to this. John?
John: Yes, look thanks Pete. I recon this is the response is fantastic because I keep saying there is no right or wrong in many of these occasions, you and I might choose to stop if you were a forward thinking and fear minded person perhaps, but hang on we also know that the rules are there. The rules are there within the teams categories to ensure that there isn’t an unfair advantage provided that the teams can rely upon each other but not on the other element, on other members of their team.
And I think in the case of Richie Porte in this instance, what was really interesting is that the ethical dilemma was also posed back to the officials. This is a rule that is interpreted remarkably differently in different races at different events. And it could have been that they could have allowed that gesture of sportsmanship to have returned and maintained and really would have shown the spirit of the sport in a really high light. They chose not to and it caused great discussion within the social media.
Peter: Brilliant, yes. Brilliant John. I think we’ll jump into questions because we’ve got some related questions around this, and also bring Bronwyn back into the discussion as well. Let me just unmute Bronwyn I’ve got to find her. There we go. And Bronwyn we’ve got a question here and I might start with you, but also bring out to Paul and John as well. And it’s an interesting question. If a senior member of a sporting organization is seen to be doing something unethical, a common response at the highest level is to move the person on, but without apparent penalty or public acknowledgement, the usual reason is so as to not bring the organization into disrepute. Where is the ethics in this?
Bronwyn: Well you know what I think a really important word was raised just before which is consistent so if you’ve got in the tour if rules are applied a certain way, where as in other cycling races they’re not applied a certain way, knowing the rule but also knowing the rule may be bent, may be applied a bit differently because I think everybody knows that there are ethical issues where rules have not applied the same to everybody. It makes it very, very difficult, because it makes it hard for athletes or whoever it is, athletes or people to make an ethical decision, when you’re actually not really sure what the consequences are because they’re different all the time.
So that’s absolutely valid question, and it’s an issue and I don’t think anybody can answer it until rules and penalties are applied in an absolutely consecutive way the same to everybody, whether you’re a senior person or you know a grass roots level person. It’s difficult.
Peter: Yes. Consistency is easier said than done. I think for the sakes of time we get plenty of – I want to leave a lot of time for question answers I see coming in. I might just Paul’s put his hand up to make a comment there, I’ll just scroll up to Paul. Paul did you want to make a comment on that one?
Paul: Yes, yes, it’s a good question. As we know in sport it happens all the time of just moving the problem on somewhere else. There just to make the point that ethics is all about action. It’s no use in doing it here, but sitting in a room and debating what you might do in a situation, ethics is all about going through that process but then acting at the end of that. And with the situation about moving someone on that’s not acting in that situation. That’s just moving the problem on to somewhere else and I mean we’ll discuss it later, but ethics is very much ties into leadership and culture as well. And if you have whatever it is leadership making that decision not acting and moving on, or you have the culture of not addressing those different things, then that ties back to poor ethical decision making as well.
Peter: Yes it does, thanks Paul. I moved it back to the dilemma there because someone asked me to do that. But lets go on to the second dilemma. And this is bring it back to a real common grass roots issue that we see in play by the rules a lot. I mean this is really a very common issue to see in Play by the Rules, and this is the dilemma.
Imagine it is the last minor round game for the season for the under 12 netball team that you coach. If the teams win they’re in the finals, if they loose they’re out. You have rotated the players as reserves evenly all season, however given the importance of this game you’re thinking about not playing Rayna the weakest member of the team, but to use her as a reserve. Whatever you do people will say it’s not fair.
What do you do? Are selection policies and codes relevant here? Or does winning matter more? Like I say this is a very common, very common situation across a range of sports with Play by the Rules. Now imagine this is where I’m going to ask you, imagine you are the coach. What decision will you make? Will you rotate the players just as you have all season? Put Rayna on the bench and see what happens? Or follow the selection policy of the club regardless?
So I’m going to launch that poll, hold on a second let me just. 72% so the vast majority, which I guess you’d expect, would rotate the players as you have all season, regardless of whether it’s the final. Put Rayna on the bench and see what happens about 9%. Follow the selection policy of the club regardless about 19%. Thanks very much, also interesting let’s go back to the panel now. I might start this time with John. Let me unmute John. What do you reckon of those results?
John: Yes probably expected, but it’s a little bit of a Dorothy dixer imposing these very much scenario that’s painted but I know and I had a little chuckle because a situation very much like this occurred when I was coaching my daughter when she was under 10. Now she’s 28 years old now, so it was many years ago, in the under 10 soccer. And you had exactly this, now I could hardly coach soccer, really was just a simple organizer of the crew, but this situation is very real. And You are tested and inevitably when the pressure is there, you will have the pressure of the parents seeking to pose their view to you as the coach and it’s – you’ve just got to stick by your principles, you’ve got to be really, really comfortable in yourself and recognise that if you’ve done the right thing, if you know the way that you would choose to react and you’re comfortable with it, then I think you can walk away with your head held high. It is a very, very real situation.
Peter: Yes, yes, it is. Lets I might try and bring Bronwyn into this discussion as well, and then finally with Paul. Bronwyn do you have any comments on this?
Bronwyn: Yes, well Pete it actually brings to mind and it is a real situation, I think everybody’s got a story about it, but development sport is about developing athletes and it brings to mind a situation a few years ago where I was watching a – it was actually a first grade hockey grand final here in Camborough and the coach had selected as he had all season, he selected some younger players to get out there and play and get the exposure and the big stage experience and he selected his daughter who I think from memory was about 14 at the time, and there was a lot of raised eyebrows and discussion about how that wasn’t odd and this is a first grade grand final and whatever, and the coaches name was Fred and the players name was Anna, Anna Flannigan. So yes, so I guess development sport is about development sport. And it goes back to the ethical decision making framework. Why are there are you developing athletes, or are you trying to win at all costs? You have to give athletes an opportunity to show whether they can handle the pressure or to have the experience, if they can’t get it at that age when are they going to get it? I think the ethical decision frameworks really helpful with a situation like that.
Peter: Yes, for sure and we all know that situation too, where as you go down the lower in the grades and more sheep stations, it can become in that respect, I’m sure Paul wants to make – Very quick Paul can comment on this one.
Paul: Yes, yes I’ve had a similar example as a coach this year where my daughters under 10 soccer team, and we had 6 players it was school holidays a lot of players were away, the other team had the full contingent of 10 players and I said, could we play a couple of younger brothers of some of the girls? And the other coach said no. And I walked away shaking my head thinking what was he valuing? I mean they don’t even keep the scores, so there’s no points at that age in soccer, but obviously he valued the win or the outcome or the result more than equity and fairness and the kids all having an enjoyable item. So for me if in those situations I use it as a lesson both for the kids and the parents. Sports all about having fun at that age and everyone getting a fair go. I mean you’ve got 70% of kids leave sport by the age of 13 because they’re not having fun, or it’s too competitive. That’s a perfect example there how you can make that point where everyone gets a go and this is what sports about.
Peter: Yes I say it’s a classic situation there where everyone would have experienced for sure. I’ll leave you unmuted for right now Paul because we’re got a couple of questions we’re trying to sneak in. Thanks everybody for sending your comments and questions, if we don’t get to them all fear not, post webinar we’ll send out a kind of Q&A document addressing all of the questions that come in. So we won’t get time we can safely say that to get to all the questions but we want to address a couple now. Paul can you make any suggestions about how to get participants to abide by the rules, without always having to take a big stick approach? Without always having to penalize breaking the rules?
Paul: Yes, I mean that’s my lesson. That you can teach people the rules but you can’t tell them what to believe in. People will know the rules are there and that will set out the rights and responsibilities, but yes it’s reinforcing that to make the right choices I guess and not just according to the rules. Because if you have the rules there you’ll – as I said you’ll always get people that are transgress or you’ll get ones pushing it a bit further. It’s about teaching and underpinning where you know your values, you know your principles, you know why you’re there involved with sport in the first place, and hopefully you make decisions that reflect that. That reflects who you are and who you want to be in the sport. Not just ones that are trying to get you ahead or to try and get the end means or the goal with every situation.
And look I just want to make the point also that the decisions I make in these examples, they’re not right or wrong they’re just my ones that reflect me. And every different person will have different values, principles and morals that they’ve been taught on their life journey so, yes please just to note it’s not set in stone or a right decision in any of this it’s just what you’ve put into it, what reflects you at the end of the day.
Peter: Yes good one Paul. Thanks everyone for keep sending in your questions. What we’re going to do is move straight on to the final dilemma because we’re going to take a different approach with this one, because we’re going to work through, immediately after this we’re going to do the poll and straight away your reaction to this dilemma and then we’ll work through the ethical decision making framework with our panellists.
So the dilemma is imagine you find out by accident that a friend you have played sport with for years has been doping. You know he has had a rough time lately, and you know he’s a really great person who works hard and contributes well to your team. He has always been supportive to you and others in your career, however there is a major competition around the corner, and you know that if he gets caught, the consequences can be serious for the whole team. So we can see that scenario well there. So a question is what would you do if you were the friend? Would you do nothing you could make things worse, or get into trouble yourself? Nothing nobody else knows so you should get away with it. Talk to him privately first, report it to team management or report it to the sports authorities. So this is a dilemma here. Let me know open that poll up. So there’s the results, so 81 – nobody said nothing. Do nothing. 81% the vast majority, talk to him privately first report it to team management and report it to the authorities was around up to about 20% in terms of reporting. So those were interesting results of the poll. Let me return to the screen.
And we’re going to work through now and then take some questions and answers at the end. We’re going to work through the different stages of the ethical decision making framework, and if we can keep this reasonably brief so we can end up on time guys. We’re going to work through step by step Paul, what is the dilemma?
Paul: This is a classic values dilemma Pete of loyalty versus honesty. You’re loyal to your friend of not saying anything, or doing anything, or are you honest to your sport and your team and your coach. Yes, and that’s up to your values I guess, values are always about there are two similar values that you may have and good values, but it’s about how you prioritize those two different values, so. When you look at that I guess you look at the main players in that dilemma, so they’d be you, your friend, your team mates would come into things as well. You’d have to consider your coach and the other thing is other competitors.
The interesting one with this one I always ask is, would your choice be different if the person doping was from a different team than yours would that throw a different slant on things? Yes other teams come into it. Plus you look at the wider issues around your sport as well. How do you want your sport to be perceived, is doping and drug taking and will that sway your decision as well? And the final one for me to consider with the relationships is the important one here is that mateship or friendship if you make a decision of honesty to tell the coach or administrators what’s going to happen to that friendship, you may loose it and similarly with your coach that dialogue or honesty with your coach and respect for your coach if you don’t say anything or do say anything there is that going to change that relationship. So a lot of factors to consider and weigh out when making a decision on this one.
Peter: Certainly, yeah. So those are the first three kind of points around the ethical decision making framework. Let’s move on to Bronwyn, how long—Bronwyn, what are your choices in this situation?
Bronwyn: Well, I mean, I think the choices are basically what was posed in the poll. So largely, you can either do nothing, you can approach the athlete, go to the coach, or go to effectively (47:38) or go to your governing body. If it’s a real A team, I’m not sure if we’re talking about springtime but it’s really important to have a look at—so as far as what’s at stake, there’s a video that Drug-Free Sport New Zealand, which is the New Zealand version of ASADA, they made a video with Tyler Hamilton, I don’t think it’s publicly available yet, but Tyler’s talking about the way he felt about his results.
So winning Olympic medals and so on, how he felt when he’d done it by cheating so I think there’s the psychological aspects as well, but a couple of things probably worth considering which, again, might emphasize how corroded the anti-doping framework is. If you’re in a relay team, so say it’s a hundred meter, 4x100 meter relay team, if you look at in the wider code, the definition of team sport—so a team sport is a sport in which the substitution of players is permitted during a competition. So obviously, in a relay, you can’t substitute players during a competition, which is the race itself, so that’s not considered a team sport.
So under the wider code, if one person dopes and they’re caught doping, the rest of the team won’t lose their medal unless the competition itself has a separate policy. So at the Olympic games or something like that, they have a discretion to strip the whole team of the medal, otherwise the team won’t lose their medal. And generally, the team, there has to be two or more athletes anyways on a football team and two or more have to be found to have doped before—or committed an anti-doping rule violation before the team will lose their results. But the other thing I think is really important to keep in mind is that there is an anti-doping rule violation of complicity, so if you know about a possible anti-doping rule violation, you are actually committing an anti-doping rule violation if you do nothing about it. So if you assist, cover up whatever it is, and the sanction for that is between two and four years. So if you cheat, there are consequences for you to consider. If you do nothing and someone finds out that you knew, there’s an issue for you.
Similarly, if you tell your coach, you’re putting your coach into the same situation, so the coach then might know and do nothing about it, technically just telling your coach is not actually really doing something, so you’re still not bringing that person to the attention of authorities, so I guess there certainly are—there are ethical considerations, psychological considerations, but also very strong consequences for you yourself. And if the athlete is doping, go back to the ethical decision making framework and consider whether that’s the kind of person that you actually want to be on a team with, I suppose.
Peter: Excellent, excellent, thank you, Brianne. And keep your questions coming in. To continue on the ethical decision making framework elements there, let me go back up to John and what are your most important values considering deciding how you should act in this kind of situation. I’m interested to see what the slippery slope are you come up with as well, John.
John: Yeah exactly, and this is exactly what can bring you into what we might term the slippery slope traps. I just recommend this ethical decision making framework as a real framework by which you can choose to make decisions. You’re going to make an individual decision. You’ll have your own individual values as I think Paul was saying, the notion of, well, what are the broader values, what are the team values, what are the values that your sport actually apply? But in the end, you’ve got to be very, very comfortable with your own values.
So it could be that you could say in this situation, he’s a lovely guy, really good mate, I know that it’s happening but I really don’t want to get him in trouble. And I’ll tell you what, if I do raise the notion if I do raise this or if I do let people know that he is in some way abusing, I think he’ll become good, he’ll be better soon. Then oh, the coach, the whole team, I let down the whole crew. It really does bring our sport into disrepute so maybe it’s best if I don’t do anything. So you can see in the decision making process can nearly drag you down what I might suggest—not necessarily the right way to go. I could go in back, you’ve got to have solid values and sometimes it’s worth it.
Peter, at the start of the session, I proposed a dilemma that I was in, in managing a team. I sought all of the information, I needed to speak to players that were involved in a situation that developed out of that. I actually Skyped back to Australia to the CEO of the sport and ran past them the dilemma that I had faced as a team manger. So I was seeking some external input, seeking some guidance as to what could or should occur in order to make the best decision. And I think what I was trying to do was to not bring my own biases and assumptions about the pride in wearing the green and gold, pride in wearing the jersey that is the Australian jersey, but I wanted to affirm that and in doing—undertaking some of those actions, it actually assisted me in seeking to make a series of decisions that were required to be made. And these are really tough individual things that for me, was tested at the national stage but for others, can be tested at state and local level.
Peter: Excellent. Excellent, thank you. Thanks, John. We’ve got a couple of questions related to that, which we’ll come to right at the end here but I want Paul just very briefly to bring us home in the ethical decision making framework on this particular dilemma.
Paul: Yeah, sure, Peter. I mean, the principles that come into it would be protect your mates, or conversely, the opposite side of not being cheats or cheats never prosper, that side of things. You’ve got to weigh up those different principles. What’s your friend valuing the most? Well obviously winning or money or financial security or some sort of reward that I guess just to make the point on that, you talk ethics and you think okay, you should always make the right decision there, this is anti-competition, anti-winning. It’s not at all, it’s recognition that winning is important for most people who compete in sport but emphasizing it, it’s how you go about that action, how you achieve that end, which is the most important thing and keeping that in context of your purpose and meaning in sport and your values and principles.
And the final question, should you and others be penalized if it comes out, I think Bron’s point around the complicity of it. If you have an obligation to tell if you know someone’s doping because they—and I guess you know that you’ll be cheating opponents or others that you’ll be racing against as well, so does that make you exactly the same as your friend? I guess that you know you’ll be getting some sort of advantage in a race. There are things that I’d consider in it, Pete.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I’ve got—as we come to our closing remarks, I might put us up to the technology gods and un-mute all of you at the same time. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll stop doing that and we just might—one minute. Un-mute and Bronwyn because I’ve got a question which is—if you can sort of frame your closing remarks around this particular question, because I think it’s a beauty and I think it certainly applies to play by the rules. What my question is, and it may be our last poll first, but you can have a bit of a debate around this. What about if the situation arises at the Olympics where players only get a medal if they get field time? Is it not about having fun at this level? When does it stop being about having fun?
Paul: That’s a good one. I guess it goes back to the point, you can be competitive, you can get the results, you can get the rewards, but yeah, you can still have fun, you can still do it in the right way, you can still do it with your morals, your principles and your values intact. It goes back to the old question too, should you reward all kids in sport with certificates and that every week, or is that lowering the value of a reward at the end? Different views on all those sort of things but from my end, it’s—what’s wrong with encouraging everyone? I mean, you want people to stay in sport, you want to build confidence, you want them to get the most out of it, why not give everyone a reward along the way? In saying that, I know there’s opposite arguments against that.
Peter: Yeah yeah, for sure. John, I was going to have you think about the days when we used to play squash together, John, and it was really fun and B&A grade, but not so much fun in C&D grade when we got a bit older and slower and it became more sheep stations so it stopped being fun. It has nothing—an inverse relationship to the standard we were playing.
John: Yeah the reality now, I’d be Z grade right now. The truth is that the—I think the question relating around the awarding of medals at Olympic level and other and I think at the—even then, you really must question in a team—in a relay event, and in fact, I’d look at the cycling and the team’s pursuit event, you go through qualifiers and you may well use a different person in the qualifiers than what you would use in the team’s pursuit for the final. So it may well be that the finalists that fly out for the medal four riders and there are only two or even three of those were the guys that actually got you to the gold medals.
So if, in fact, there is an awarding of the medals only to those that are there, that does question the ethics of that decision. So even at the highest level, sports administrators and I guess those who proffer and prop up the sport, need to ask themselves exactly the same questions as those that are there in club land and—but it’s on an international stage, I question the veracity of that decision to say that medals should only be awarded to the finalists only.
Peter: Good one, good one. Thank you, John. And finally, Bronwyn, I think you’re still un-muted there.
Bronwyn: I am. Well I know certainly in swimming, the heat swimmers do get medals as well and I think that’s absolutely right, that should be the case because you are picked as a team of six where only four compete in the finals and then they can bring other people in as well as the as the meet goes on. In other Olympic sports, I was actually a reserve for the Olympics so the people that were in the team were better than me and I had no problem with that, I didn’t want to be there if I wasn’t the best in the team and the fact that the best people were selected, they deserved to be there and they gave Australia the best chance of winning a medal. But I suppose at that level, there’s so many decisions tied to big business and it gets taken away from fun, and often even ethics, sports becomes big business. Your sport’s ability to win a medal at an Olympic ties into how much funding the sport will get and that includes for elite level but also for grass roots, so it’s one of those things that does go into the sort of beyond the fun and ethics and it’s in the opposite direction I suppose. It can be a little bit frustrating and unfair sometimes.
Peter: Yes for sure. It’s great to see though, isn’t it, the weekend the Grand Final weekend, you get the feeling that at that very high elite professional level there was so much joy for the fun of the game, the fun of it came out shining, particularly in the NRO final. And they were all just thrilled to be part of it there, which is good to see.
We are a little bit over time and my apologies if we haven’t got to all the questions. Well we haven’t got to all the questions, is the truth of it. But we will respond to them all, so keep them coming in, we will respond to them all. I know there’s been some around targeted around the open issue and things like that, but we will get to them don’t worry about that. We are learning, this is the first Webinar for quite a long time for Play by the Rules, we’re still trying to get the pace right and get the content right, but we’re going to wrap it up.
My great thanks to John, Paul, and Bronwyn for their expertise and comments and assistance with this particular webinar, but most importantly to you as attendees as well. We really do appreciate it. We will send out the recording of the webinar and the question and answer sheet as well for your future reference, and let you know about future webinars too. Like I said, we were embarking on this path, so no doubt we’ll get better as this as we keep going.
So thank you very much everybody, thank you Catherine the background for moderating in the background the questions and responding to people as we went through the webinar. We had a really good turn out here I think at one stage we had about close to 100 people during the webinar, so that’s fantastic. Thank you once again to John, Paul, and Bronwyn for you for attending. This is Peter Downs from Play by the Rules and we will sign off there. Good evening everyone.