The Athlete Rapist Edition
Business ethics does not exist in a vacuum. Ethical beliefs are shaped by the larger society. Business ethics are simply a sub-set of a society’s ethics. And this society’s ethics are often problematic at best.
The worship of athletes and sporting events is part of American society. And worship is not too strong a word. Fans have actually rioted when their teams have lost. Many people seem to have lost all perspective when it comes to supporting their team and their athletes.
This brings us to today’s subject, David Becker, a rapist. He raped two women and he was sentenced to two years probation which if he fulfills the terms of – will result in his record being clean. It will be as if he had never committed a crime. This is a sweet deal for him.
For the rest of us, not so much. Creating a class of privileged athletes empowered to prey on women might not be a goal for the “good” society. It might be, in fact, be counterproductive and evil.
When you hand a “get out of jail free card” to an athlete, you are conveying a powerful message to everyone that these people are special, their lives and careers must not be jeopardized by being penalized for their acts.
No, they are criminals. Whatever their pretences to special treatment, their actions have placed them in opposition to society’s rules. That women should able to sleep undisturbed by sexual assault is an important social value. That crimes should be punished is another one.
And I’m sorry. I just don’t get it. There are a lot of athletes. If some go to prison for their crimes, how are we impoverished? What have we lost?
If there is anything a society should want to be know for, want to be famous for and is vital to uphold, it is justice.
Let us be known more for our justice and less for our sports.
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Mary Elizabeth Williams writing in Salon
Upon sentencing, Becker’s attorney gloated in court that “he can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender. The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.” (The University of Dayton, where Becker reportedly had planned on attending, says he will not be joining the freshman class.)
Ah, yes, the old “What about the kid? What about his life?” argument. It should go without saying that headlines of the story do not fail to mention that Becker is a promising athlete who plays volleyball, basketball and soccer. Gotta think of that guy’s future! Hm, where have we heard this before? Oh that’s right, EVERYWHERE.
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