legal agreements betweens league offices and club management or between
leagues and players’ associations. The National Football League in America,
for example, has an official “personal conduct policy”, accepted by owners and
player representatives:
All persons associated with the NFL are required to avoid
“conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confi-
dence in the National Football League.” This requirement
applies to players, coaches, other team employees, own-
ers, game officials and all others privileged to work in the
National Football League.
The provision holds the participants to a higher standard than simply liv-
ing within the law; it requires “responsible” conduct promoting “the values
upon which the League is based.” Individuals who fail to live up to this
standard are deemed guilty of “conduct detrimental” and subject to disci-
plinary action. League Commissioner Roger Goodell further clarified the
policy in a 2010 memo, pointing out, “Whether it involves your team or
another, these incidents affect us all – every investigation, arrest, or other
allegation of improper conduct undermines the respect for our league by
our fans, lessens the confidence of our business partners and threatens the
continued success of our brand.”
Examples of individual wrongdoing are numerous and well known; perhaps
the most spectacular in recent years is the marital infidelities of golfer Tiger
Woods, who is by a considerable distance the world’s wealthiest athlete. A
sex case also rocked the European football world shortly after the close of
the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. This featured French national team
stars Frank Ribéry, who plays for Bayern Munich, and Karim Benzema, on the
roster of Real Madrid; both were indicted for soliciting sex with an underage
prostitute in a Paris nightclub. The case is still working its way through the
French courts.
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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