Two Ethical Decision-making Case Studies in Sports Illustrated

The March 10, 2014 edition of SI has two stories that make for good thinking fodder on the matter of ethical judgements by leaders.

One issue has been around forever. Author Kostya Kennedy revisits the question of Should-Pete-Rose-Be-Eligible-for-the-Hall-of-Fame. (My call: he bet on baseball so he’s out).

The second is about a boys high school basketball coach in CA who suspended his entire varsity team and played the season with underclassmen of varying ability. (On balance, despite my experience with despotic football coaches,  I’m with the coach.  But he missed alternative strategies).

Both tales are good reads and illuminate defining moments for several parties to the two sets of judgements.  They underscore the fact that few decisions in the life of the leader result in “clean hands.”  All important decisions are rich with ethical questions.  If situations were not messy we would not need leaders.

If any criminal justice organization’s leadership team ever adopted regular, open-ended sessions to discuss ideas about leadership and strategy, these two stories would provide good background to prompt discussion.



About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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