Morality And Sports . . . In 1964

(" . . .oh those transgressions") With the current wave of scandals hitting Tiger Woods, I have come to realize Sports and Scandal have become syno

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(" . . .oh those transgressions")

With the current wave of scandals hitting Tiger Woods, I have come to realize Sports and Scandal have become synonymous . . .at least for the past hundred or so years.

I suppose what's different now is the nature of our society and the ever-scrutinizing media; our need for scandal, our obsession with icon-bashing, not to mention the element that fame and power are aphrodisiacs. Sports certainly has no exclusivity rights on that one - politics jumps to mind quicker. It all comes down to the spectacle of seeing the mighty fall, feigning shock and revulsion while poring over the tabloids for more.

But the whole issue of Sports and Morality has been a subject of discussion with a lot of people over the years. This particular clip is one I located from May of 1964. A discussion featuring sports figures Joe Garagiola and Jackie Robinson on the subject of Morality and Sports. Although by todays standards the discussion is quaint and surface and the product of a different time - barely mentioning the issue of personal codes of ethics since, at the time an athletes personal transgressions were kept carefully hidden from public view.

Joe Garagiola: “Jackie, how would you define morality in sports?”

Jackie Robinson: “Well I think, Joe, that we’d have to define it by saying whether the athlete knows the difference between right and wrong. And then we’d have to go a little bit further and say there are circumstances, even though there are rules on the books that an individual do certain kinds of things that are perhaps are not within the law, but he is circumventing it, as you pointed out a short time ago before we came on the air. And my estimation is that morality is just simply knowing right from wrong, whether its in sports or our everyday life.”

Jimmy Carter once indicated that America had lost its moral center. I'm not so sure that hasn't always been the case. What is different now as opposed to scandals in history is the level of scrutiny we have at our disposal today. Were there just as many moral indiscretions in 1964 as there are today? Probably.

We just chose not to notice them.

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