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importance of ethics in sport

What ethics means

Honorable and decent athletes demonstrate through their behavior on and off the field that they believe in fairness, integrity, responsibility and respect.

Sportsmanship encourages healthy competition, achievement, integrity and character. It contributes to a community of faith, respect and trust between individual athletes, teams, supporters and countries.

The goal in sportsmanship is to pursue victory through effort, superior strength and excellence.


By contrast, gamesmanship is built on beliefs that winning is everything, rules are there to be bent, it's only cheating if you get caught, it’s okay to fake injury and the ends always justify the means.

Athletes need to demonstrate through their behavior in training, in competition and in life that they understand the difference between sportsmanship and gamesmanship and they believe in ethical standards.

Keys to ethics

Here are some keys to what you need to do to demonstrate ethical behavior.

  Expect to be judged by what you do and how well you do it.  
  Play fairly using only tactics that are in accord with the spirit of your sport.    
  Stick to the rules and regulations of your sport and avoid gamesmanship.  
  Show loyalty to your team mates, sport, community, society and family.  
  Don’t use performance enhancing drugs to increase your muscle strength.  
Don't cheat or fake injury.


Watch this video

To develop your understanding of the importance of ethics in sport, watch this video by Arthur Ogden.


Read this book

Read Fair Play: The Ethics of Sport by Robert Simon.