Three CPASS professors — Ed Etzel, professor, Sport and Exercise Psychology, and
director of the Center for Sports Ethics; Kristen Dieffenbach, PhD, associate professor, Athletic
Coaching Education, and director of the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Science;
and Gonzalo Bravo, associate professor, Sport Management — discuss some of the most
fundamental questions raised in sports ethics today. How and why must sport
be protected, and what are we actually protecting it from?
Dieffenbach: Sport has a tremendous, long-recognized power to unify people and bring out the best. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, based the modern games on the positive potential of sport. But the potential positives don’t happen automatically and aren’t as much a byproduct of sport itself as they can only occur when we work together. You need collaboration for competition — a shared set of rules, values and standards. Without opponents and without teammates, sport cannot occur. We know that quality physical activity, which can occur through sport, improves physical as well as mental well-being. It can also provide a way to share culture, communicate without a common language and to promote diversity.