Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ethics and the St. Louis Cardinals' Hacking Case

As most are now probably aware, the St. Louis Cardinals are under investigation for possibly hacking into the database of the Houston Astros. It has been suggested that this occurred on several occasions. Whatever the outcome of this particular case, it raises some interesting ethical questions.

Here, I'll address one such question: What's wrong with hacking into your opponent's computer system?
  • First, it involves breaking a just law designed to protect privacy. The information in this alleged hacking case included data related to players, trades, and scouting reports. The Cardinals have no business trying to access this information. Like any other corporation, they have no right to do this, and are obligated to respect the work and privacy of the Houston Astros.
  • Second, such behavior is unsportsmanlike. If the Cardinals are guilty and were able to gain an unfair advantage with this information, it could amount to cheating and as such violates the norms and ethics of sports. We know that sportsmanship is undervalued from the elite level on down to youth sports. But we must not give in; we must protect the integrity of sports at all levels.  All parties in sport should seek to exemplify sportsmanship, whether on the field or via the internet. Sportsmanship is a virtue worth having, and many of its lessons can be adapted to other realms of life.
  • Third, this hack, if it happened, places victory over integrity. There are many reasons we participate in and watch baseball (and other sports). At the elite level, we want the victory to go to the team that is able to display excellence and demonstrate superiority on the day. There are cheap and undeserved wins, of course, but one thing that makes this sort of behavior objectionable is that a win based on it has nothing to do with athletic excellence or luck. Hacking, if done to gain some sort of competitive advantage over one's opponents, amounts to putting victory ahead of honor, integrity, and the rules of the game. A win based in part on this behavior would be undeserved.
  • Fourth, this shows a lack of faith in the players, manager, and coaches. As a player, I'd be insulted if the organization I played for thought it was necessary to cheat in this (or any other) way to obtain victory. I would want the organization to place its faith in the abilities of the team and coaching staff, rather than trying to gain an unfair advantage in this way.
What do you think? What else might be wrong with this? And if the Cardinals are found guilty, should there be any punishment by MLB in addition to whatever legal punishment is given?

Photo CCL.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CFP: Studies in Philosophy of Sport

Call for Book Proposals for new series: Studies in Philosophy of Sport

The Studies in Philosophy of Sport series from Lexington Books encourages scholars from all disciplines to inquire into the nature, importance, and qualities of sport and related activities. The series aims to encourage new voices and methods for the philosophic study of sport while also inspiring established scholars to consider new questions and approaches in this field.

The series encourages scholars new to the philosophy of sport to bring their expertise to this growing field. These new voices bring innovative methods and different questions to the standard issues in the philosophy of sport. Well-trodden topics in the literature will be reexamined with fresh takes and new questions and issues will be explored to advance the field beyond traditional positions.

Proposal Information

The series publishes both monographs and edited volumes. The “philosophy of sport” should be construed broadly to include many different methodological approaches, historical traditions, and academic disciplines. I am especially interested in proposals from scholars new to the discipline of philosophy of sport (either because they are from a discipline other than philosophy or they are philosophers new to the study of sport). Click here for proposal guidelines.

If you have an idea for a book but are not ready to submit a complete proposal at this time, please still email Shawn Klein ( to discuss your idea.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Sports Ethics Show: Sport Studies Symposium 2015

The 4th annual Sport Studies Symposium was held April 24, 2015. In this episode, the symposium participants discuss the ideas raised by the papers given at the symposium.

In the first half of the episode, Mike Perry and Shawn E. Klein talk with Matt Adamson, Stephen Mosher, and Synthia Syndor about the nature of sport studies, its past, and its future.

In the second half, Shawn and Mike talk with Aaron Harper, Stephanie Quinn, and Zach Smith about legal realism and sport, sport in the ancient world, and theology of sport.

Listen to this episode.

Subscribe to the Sport Ethics Show in iTunes: iTunes Subscribe

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fourth Annual Sport Studies Symposium: Sport Studies: The State of the Art

Sport Studies Symposium 2015 Rockford University is hosting the Fourth Annual Sport Studies Symposium on Friday, April 24, 2015 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm (CT) in Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall, Rockford University, Rockford, IL.

The conference is free to attend and light refreshments will be served.

Panel One: The Study of Sport

  •  “Breaking Down Binaries: Considering the Possibilities of a Dialogue Between Science Studies and Play Studies” – Matthew Adamson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) 
  •  “The Long, Slow, Tortured Death of Sport Studies in American Colleges (And the Possible Path Toward Resurrection)” – Stephen D. Mosher, Ph.D. (Ithaca College) 
  •  “Conceptualizing the Nature of Sport” – Synthia Sydnor, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Panel Two: Sport Studies as Interdisciplinary

  •  “Interpreting Interpretivism: A Legal Realist Account of Cheating in Sport” -Aaron Harper, Ph.D. (West Liberty University) 
  •  “Then and Now:  Sport and Spectacle in Ancient Greece and Rome” – Stephanie Quinn, Ph.D. (Rockford University) 
  •  “'Theology of Sport: Mapping the Field” – Zach Smith (United States Sports Academy)

Symposium Flyer (PDF)

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Sports Ethics Show: Blown Calls and Technology

Seth Bordner of The University of Alabama talks with Shawn E. Klein on The Sports Ethics Show about the problem of officiating mistakes in sport and how technology can and should be used to prevent and correct these mistakes.

Show Links:
Listen to this episode.
 Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes: iTunes Subscribe Subscribe_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_0824