Professional athletes and their duty to be role models

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2014, 12 pp. 75 - 90
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This chapter takes an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise in sports management and in philosophy to examine the premises underpinning the contested claim that professional athletes have a special obligation to be role models both within and beyond the sporting arena. Arguments for and against the claim are briefly addressed, as a prelude to identifying and elucidating a set of factors relevant to a consideration of this alleged special obligation. The chapter considers understandings of sport, play and athleticism from an ethical perspective and examines their relationship to professionalism to determine the extent to which ethical imperatives can logically be upheld or undermined within the professional context. The chapter concludes that professional athletes cannot be expected to be able to respond to the demand that they act as role models within and beyond the sporting arena unless the tensions implicit within that demand are articulated. The chapter calls for recognition of the complexity of ethical decision-making in the context of professional sport and recommends that the training of professional athletes should.Copy; 2014 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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