Loophole ethics in sports

  • Øyvind Kvalnes Dept. of Leadership and Organizational Management, BI Norwegian School of Management
  • Liv Hemmestad Telemark University College & Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sport
Keywords: sports coaching, ethics, leadership, phronesis, loopholes


Ethical challenges in sports occur when the practitioners are caught between the will to win and the overall task of staying within the realm of acceptable values and virtues. One way to prepare for these challenges is to formulate comprehensive and specific rules of acceptable conduct. In this paper we will draw attention to one serious problem with such a rule-based approach. It may inadvertently encourage what we will call loophole ethics, an attitude where every action that is not explicitly defined as wrong, will be seen as a viable option. Detailed codes of conduct leave little room for personal judgement, and instead promote a loophole mentality. We argue that loophole ethics can be avoided by operating with only a limited set of general principles, thus leaving more space for personal judgement and wisdom.

How to Cite
Kvalnes, Øyvind, & Hemmestad, L. (2010). Loophole ethics in sports. Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics, 4(1), 57-67. https://doi.org/10.5324/eip.v4i1.1740
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