Rajkumar Bharali

1.   Sport in brief
Human being is playful by nature. A person involves himself/herself in different games or physical activities as a means of recreation or competition. Great scholars and experts have said that games & sports are one of the primary aspects of achieving health & fitness. Play is a joyful creative activity which is mostly done for fun & leisure; but, sport is a formal, rule-oriented and organized activity which needs physical movement and skill, where an individual or team competes against another or others. There are different governing bodies for each sport to look after the various operations. Kamlesh (2007) stated that Sport is recognized as a form of physical, mental and spiritual embodiment.

2.   Ethics and Sports Ethics: The concept
“Ethics” means moral philosophy or a set of principles that determines right or wrong conduct. The English word “Ethics” is derived from Greek word “Ethikos” which means “relating to one’s character”. Ethics is concerned with values which helps human morality to take decision on good and evil, right and wrong, justice and injustice etc. Taking various concepts of well-known philosophers around the world, it can be stated that ethics is always related with morality and judgment based on moral principle. In day to day human life, ethics plays a crucial role to behave or to act in such a manner that elicits the outlook of an individual’s total personality.

Sports ethics is the set of moral principles applied in the field of games & sports (Brown, 2009). In different situation of games & sports, athletes possess different behaviors. Sports ethics combines those behaviors to analyze each and every sportspersons for the sake of sportsmanship. It is a broad subject matter of Sports Psychology where researchers are perpetually doing researches and finding out new truths which can be used to make sports discipline a better medium to show ideologies for life. Both good ethics and bad ethics are prevailing in the field of sports. And now, it is the responsibility of sports enthusiasts, researchers, coaches and teachers to stop those unwanted ethical conducts from sports and promote the concept of fair play.

3.   Sports Ethics: A practical Analysis
The genesis of sports ethics is as old as the ancient Olympic Games, organized in Greece. The Greeks organized Olympics as a social-cultural-educational extravaganza in every four years. Olympic itself was given a high moral value in honor of Zeus-the supreme deity. Different rules were set that governed and regulated the Olympic contests which brought the Olympics to a very high standard sports festival. Sport was a lifestyle for the people of ancient Greece, and they placed athletics at par with aesthetics, ethics and mathematics as the four major ingredients of complete education. In the year 1896, Baron Pierre De Coubertin organized Olympic Games in a systematic way to create universal brotherhood among different nations of the world. Since the arising of modern Olympic Games (1896), sports have been regarded as one of the major aspects of human civilization.

Sport encourages fair play which means right attitudes of sportspersons with right spirit, respect for others and care for his/her freedom from bodily and psychological harm (Burton, 2009). To bring fairness in different sports, sports organizations set rules and regulations and specific counseling for the athletes. Sport is perhaps the only field in society where continuous effort is put to provide full freedom and justice to the athletes. No decision is delayed or denied. Sports ethics says not to allow racism, discrimination and gender inequity. Win and loss are the two outcomes of sports competition or other disciplines of human activity. In sports, the picture of “friendly rivalry” is seen irrespective of who wins or loses. There is one more serious issue in sports which is called “Doping”, which means using illegal drugs to enhance sports performance. There are a number of instances of seizing medals and trophies or restricting the participation of athletes in sports competitions as a punishment of doping. Doping harms the code of sports ethics and it is a crime. Hence, WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) has been formed to control this unethical issue in sports. Nevertheless, there are many things done to make sports a complete formal discipline where referees, coaches, trainers, teachers or administrators become qualified by doing certificate, diploma, license or degree courses. These qualified personnel maintain a sound sporting environment and provide numerous efforts for the sake of sports culture in an ideal way.

4.   Impact on Society
Sport is like a mirror of the society. It reflects different codes of conduct of people. Sports matter a lot to the society life. Both positive and negative aspects of sports ethics exist. A person possessing positive ethics will benefit the society or vice-versa. Sports gives many ethical lessons to human life; like if a child involves himself/herself in sports in young age, he/she will learn many good things like punctuality, discipline, friendship, leadership, motivation, respect and as a whole humanity which is the ultimate quality possessed by human being. Sports participation teaches the value of hard work, co-operation, team work which can be taken into general life to face different challenges in life. Around the world, different governmental and non-governmental organizations are taking an ideal step to spread the significance of sports ethics for a new and renovated society. Only participation in sports tournaments can teach about ethics; involvement in recreational games is not that much helpful in this regard. Even United Nations Organization admires sports culture for healthy ethical conducts of human being. There is a lot more to come in sports which would promote more ethical lessons for people. And that time is coming soon.

In the pages of history, there are numerous instances of sports competitions which created balance among different countries; especially, the third world countries benefitted by participating in international sports tournaments. Moreover, concerning human value, sports tournaments are organized to help the poor by raising fund. Some countries are not rich according to GDP but, they are developing due to their awareness in sports participation for which people are doing work with mutual co-operation to recognize themselves as the residents of a developing nation.

5.A Solemn Commitment
Well, it is understood that sport matters a lot for making people realizing the ethical principles towards human life. Now, is there anything to be done by the society? What would be the outcome? The sincere answer to this question is yes, there is something to be done by society people for a constructive value-based outcome towards the social living. Sport is regarded as a sacred gift to mankind. It is a part of complete education which can make each and every individual physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. Sport is always giving valuable lessons and people are realizing those. Now, there are certain doable things to be taken as a challenge by the society people. First of all, sports must be compulsory in every educational institution. Students should be given proper sporting facilities with guidance. Next, the rules and regulations of every sport should be re-verified and if possible then should be modified. The ministry should create more sports policies for the new generation for a healthy nation. The sports psychologists should project some effective researches which would bring the sporting environment to the next level.

6. Conclusion
At the last but not the least, it is expected from every students or new generation to participate in sports out of caste, creed and color; and spread the awareness of sports ethics to the different corners of the society to lift up the flag of ultimate humanity through sports. 

  • M.L.Kamlesh. Key ideas in Sport Psychology. New Delhi: Friends Publications, 2007, pp. 297-307.
  • Robert Burton. Sports Psychology Motivation, Participation and Performance.
  • New Delhi: Sports Educational Technologies, 2009, pp. 209-234.
  • Steven Brown. Ethics in Sports Management. New Delhi: Friends Publications,
  • 2009, pp. 108-120.

About the author: The author, Rajkumar Bharali lives at Jorhat (Assam). He has done Master of Physical Education (M.P.Ed.) with sports specialization in Yoga and theory specialization in Sports Psychology. At present he is working as an Assistant Professor in Centre for Studies in Physical Education and Sports, Dibrugarh University (Assam). He likes to do researches in various subject matters of Physical Education and Sports Science. Till now he has published some research articles and papers in journals, seminars and conferences.He hopes to do more for a healthy society by applying various theories and principles of Physical Education and Sports Science.

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