Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's All About Values and Ethics

It's all about values. It's all about ethics. It's all about wanting something so badly you're willing to compromise both values and ethics to get it.

This happens all the time in politics. The dreadful term, flip-flopper, haunts politicians from John Kerry to Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum. The term itself implies no one can learn, no one can change his mind following the input of new data. Scientists change their positions all the time. With new experiments, new photographs from space, new studies into how drugs work in the body -- all allow thinking people to learn, modify their positions, and publish new findings that expand knowledge.

Sports teams want to win. Now we learn that the New Orleans Saints wanted to win so badly they put bounties on opponents with the goal of knocking the players out of the game. Players kicked in money to pay the "winner" who injured an opponent. Coaches knew about the bounties and did nothing to stop the system. The head coach, Sean Payton, wanted a Super Bowl so badly he was willing to compromise his value and ethics to get the ring.

Or did he? Is Sean Payton one of those coaches who would literally do anything to win? It looks like it. This isn't over. More information will come forth during investigations. Will that expand our knowledge? Will it help us learn from Payton's mistakes? Will Payton learn from his mistakes? Or will he try to blame someone else rather than taking responsibility for his team's actions? Will he admit he compromised his values and ethics? Will he apologize to the team's fans? Will the fans accept they had a rogue coach? Or did the fans also want the ring so badly they will overlook a few bumps and bruises that could have been career-ending for those on whom the bounty rested?

Have we compromised our ethics and values for so long that few see Payton and his coaches' behavior as wrong? Have we?