An Ethical Analysis of the Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sport Essay Example

Title:An Ethical Analysis of the Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sport

An Ethical Analysis of the Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sport

Introduction

The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports has been experienced for a very long time especially in the Olympic and international competitions across Australia. Thus performance enhancing drugs are used to dampen inflammation, reduction of discomfort due to every day strenuous training and the effects of the competition and it is believed that it greatly helps in lifting the competition mood of the participants. The use of recreational drugs in sporting has amplified the exploitation of performance enhancing drugs in competitions. However performance enhancing drugs pose a great threat both to the health of the users and their moral integrity in so far as sporting is concerned (Waddington, 2000).

According to Dunning & Waddington (2004), the main motivations of using performance enhancing drugs in sporting competitions include; the enthusiasm to triumph at competition and obtain a feeling of superior self-confidence. Thus winning a game will enable the athlete to gain more power, fame and money. Certain moral, ethical values and norms dictate the functioning of the society. Hence these ethical values guide the society on what is morally upright and what is not. Hence the deviation from these morals and values is regarded as being immoral or unethical (Dunning & Waddington 2004). Thus according to ethical values and norms the use of performance enhancing drugs is seen as being immoral or unethical on the part of individuals engaging in the vice. Well-developed society is founded on certain norms and ethical values that govern the society on morals. According to ethical values performance should not be enhanced by use of any drug as an individual’s capability dictates their accomplishments in any given sporting activity. The paper seeks to discuss an Ethical Analysis of the Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sport in relation to ethical theories and its relevance (Anderson, 2004).

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism forms an ethical concept that determines morality on the foundation of the greatest good for the greatest number. Thus utilitarianism advocates for actions that brings pleasure or are considered good for the greatest number of people. An action is therefore regarded as morally upright or right if its consequences are not negative but is considered positive or good for the greatest number. In relation to the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport it is argued that the use of such drugs are contrary to the values of sport that supports a fair and just play. The main purpose of sports for instance athletic competitions is to demonstrate the best overall performer on a level ground while reflecting the natural capacities of the competitors. Thus the use of the performance enhancing drugs will not be ethically justified in the sense that it does not offer a greatest good or pleasure for the greatest number as it favors only a few individual in the sporting event (Dunning, 1999).

Kantian deontology

Kantian ethical theory is considered as one of the ethical theories that provide the moral guidelines and values to the society. Thus it forms as a criterion that is used in assessing the moral and ethical values of certain types of behavior in the society. For Kant human behavior is based on the assumptions that human beings are rational beings and therefore their actions should be rational and for the common good. The Kantian Deontological theory of ethics therefore offers a judgment on the actions of an individual based on a set of rules and guidelines that an individual ought to follow. The ethical theory is founded on the established rules and guidelines that are generally considered as unconditional but universal. In this case Kantian ethicist argues that the end never justifies the means and for an individual to attain a particular goal rules and guidelines should be adhered to for the common good (Waluchow, 2003).

Sporting as an event has its own rules and guidelines that need to be followed. Globally the use of performance enhancing drugs among competitors for the purpose of winning is against the rules and guidelines of any sporting event. Hence anti-doping campaigns have been conducted worldwide to fight against the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports while at the same time testes being done on athletes and any other sport to ascertain whether the drugs are being used at a particular sporting event. Thus Kantian Deontological ethical perspective is being applied in the sense that the end never justifies the means. Sporting competition should not be won by individuals that engage in the doping process as they are considered as not just or fair winners in the game that requires a level playfield without the use of performance enhancing drugs to secure a win or title (Wright, Grogan & Hunter 2000).

Rawls’ theory of justice

Rawls’ theory of justice is based on the assumption that individuals are equal and therefore should be treated with fairness and equality that they deserve as human beings. Rawls further believes that the principle of justice should be applied universally in every aspect of the society. He formulated his theory in an attempt to solve what he termed as distributive justice in the society. Hence the principles of justice should guide individuals in their actions and behavior. In this sense business ethics and the principle of justice should be applied in every aspect of the society. Sports as an event is regarded as comprising of an economic value since individuals engaging in the sport for instance athletes earn monetary values after winning a title in the sporting event. In this case the use of performance enhancing drugs gives advantages to the set of individuals using the drugs over the others who are no using it (Rawls, 2009).

The principle of justice is contravened in the sense that there is lack of a level playing field among competitors of a particular sport. Justice involves the sport being regarded as fair and justice in terms of its operation and conduct. In any sporting event competitors are generally pressured to win in order to gain monetary value and prestige or fame that comes with winning the title. This pressure leads to individuals to engage in unjust means of acquiring money and fame. The unjust means in this case involves the use of performance enhancing drugs in order to boost their chances of winning the title that comes with money and fame. Justice involves the fact that human dignity must be respected with the involvement of fairness. Fairness should therefore be incorporated in the game for the purposes of attaining justice in the sporting activity (Waddington, 2000).

The use of performance enhancing drugs in sporting activity for instance swimming is a real concern in Australia. Its impact in swimming as a sporting activity is diverse. The impacts range from the danger the drugs pose on the health of individuals to the image of the country in international sporting competitions as a whole. Doping undermines the ethos and mythology of swimming as a sport that advocates that each individual has an equal chance to excel in both local and international competitions (Spitzer, 2000). Hence drug use in sports is a severe societal concern. Thus due to the magnitude of the impacts of doping in swimming in Australia, it was important to establish the anti-doping policies that are essentially about eradicating dishonesty from sport and shielding the welfare of swimmers. The Australia’s national sporting bodies also limit the autonomy of players to use non performance enhancing drugs. Sport in Australia is usually value loaded where values and norms concerning its social implications compel its organization and procedure. Thus emphasis on sport is not only about competition and achievement but also has its foundation on a well-built ethical element that is important of the player’s conduct that might weaken the integrity of the sport. Individuals are regarded as human beings with dignity and rights that each individual should enjoy. The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports therefore strips an individual of their basic rights to participate in any sporting activity of their choice without any prejudice. Many human rights activists have therefore argued that the use of performance enhancing drugs during sport is unethical and a violation of the basic human right in the society (Coakley, 2008).

Normative Ethical Relativism

Normative ethical relativism is a theory that argues that there is no existence of universally valid or recognized moral principles in the society. Therefore the moral principle of an action to be regarded as either right or wrong is generally relative and varies from one society to the other. Hence different society have different views in regards to morality and ethics and what is considered as ethically right or wrong differs from one social setting to the other. The theory posits that ethical principles form a reflection of the authority holders within a specific cultural orientation. Globally every country or state is governed by its own set of rules and principles. The ethical values of these rules vary from country to country and therefore there is lack of a universal set of rules or laws that govern countries globally. Different principles govern both the sporting and the business world. The theory therefore argues that there is no existence of universally governing rules and laws and each country engages in the formulation of its own laws of the land. What is considered as unethical in one country may be ethical in another country. Hence the laws, rules, guidelines and ethical values are regarded as relative in nature in terms of its interpretation (Jhingran, 2001).

Normative ethical relativism poses as a great challenge in dealing with the use of performance enhancing drugs globally. This has further led to more use of the drug during a sporting event as a result of lack of a proper universal guideline or policy to address the concern of using performance enhancing drugs during sport. The major challenge therefore lies in the fact that there is lack of a universal policy to guide the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport. In this case different countries have formulated several policies and guidelines to address the concern. However the relativity of the policies and guidelines formulated has played a role in lack of coordination in addressing the issue as there is lack of a universal platform in the formulation of policies and guidelines globally. Normative ethical relativism therefore posits that what is considered as ethically wrong in one country may not be necessarily regarded as ethically wrong in another country. Ethical and moral values are considered as relative in terms of their interpretation of either wrong or right in their applications globally (Jhingran, 2001).

Conclusion

The main motivations of using performance enhancing drugs in sporting competitions include; the enthusiasm to triumph at competition and obtain a feeling of superior self-confidence. Thus winning a game will enable the athlete to gain more power, fame and money. When such athletes secure a world champion win they get sponsorship and acquire huge amounts of money due to the secured win. In the process of breaking the world records and acquiring huge sum of money the acquire fame internationally as they will be recognized for their achievements. Apart from the pressure to win athletes also use performance enhancing drugs to decrease fatigue and anxiety while coping with stress and protection esteem. Despite the fact that the use of performance enhancing drugs presents the competitors with an economic gain in terms of money it is considered as unethical since it contradicts the rules and guidelines of the game. In addition it leads to unfairness; injustice and lack of a common good in the sporting activity since the end does not justify the means. Ethically the use of performance enhancing drugs is considered wrong and against the ethical values of the game that has to be on a level playing field. In this case ethical considerations should be put into place in the formulation of policies and laws that govern the use of performance enhancing drugs as both an economic and social concern in the society.

List of References

Dunning E. & Waddington I. (2004). International Review for Sociology of Sport. Sage pub, University of Leicester

Waddington, I. (2000). Sport, Health and Drugs: A Critical Sociological Perspective London and New York:

Wright S., Grogan S. and Hunter G (2000). Motivations for Anabolic Steroid use Among Bodybuilders, Sagepub

Coakley J. (2008). Sports and Society: Issues and Controversies USA, McGraw-Hill.

Dunning, E. (1999). Sport Matters: Sociological Studies of Sport, Violence and Civilization: London and New York: Routledge

Spitzer, G. (2000b). ‘G.D.R.: Doping. History and Conclusions of Total Body Engineering’, paper presented at conference to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Hungarian

Royal College of Physical Education, Budapest, Nov.

Anderson R. (2004a). Report to the Australian Sports Commission and to Cycling Australia: Of an Investigation into Doping Allegations within the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Track Sprint Cycling Program. Canberra: Australian Government

Jhingran, S., 2001, Ethical Relativism and Universalism, Motilal Banarsidass Publishe.

Rawls, J., 2009, a Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press.

Waluchow, J., 2003, the Dimensions of Ethics: An Introduction to Ethical Theory, Broadview Press.