Analyzing Scandal and Controversy in Sports Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Scandal/Controversy in Sports

The following will take a look to see if scandal and controversy benefit sports.

Background of Sports Industry and Scandals

Sports in the U.S. is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Companies try to engage with clients by aligning the services and products they offer with this well-known industry via sports funding and endorsement. The benefit of this involvement has been well-recorded in the sports marketing literature (Hughes and Shank, 2005). The effect on business brands in case a scandal surfaces regarding an athletic supporter like a player, coach, or a team however, is less well-known. Several sports scandals, for instance, the rape case surrounding Kobe Bryant and the University of Colorado recruitment scandal raise very serious questions regarding the effect of sports scandals on amateur and professional athletic institutions, participants, sponsors, as well as other stakeholders.

Whereas conventional corporate sports supporters like Nike maintain omnipresence, several other different kinds of organizations are entering the sponsorship game. 65 different organizations representing different categories varying from railroads to athletic wear sponsored the 2004 United States Olympic team at different levels by (Hughes and Shank, 2005). These corporations benefit from providing teams with funding or equipment in exchange for the right to utilize their connection with the team in commercial activities and promotions. There are, however, various risks associated with sponsorship. For instance, what actually happens to the sponsor together with their brand, in case a scandal erupts regarding an athletic endorser?

Sports matches have always been accompanied by some kind of gambling ever since the existence of professional sporting events. Going all the way back to the 1919 World Series, point shaving and match fixing have diluted the purity of sporting events. Various athletes that were found guilty of illegal/immoral behavior took part just to earn some extra cash on the side. Others took because of gambling, alcohol, or drugs addiction. These scandals are not just restricted only to athletes (Alessi, 2014). NBA referees like Tim Donaghy have lost their jobs, guilty of giving away inside information; an assistant coach of the NHL took bets from players, and MLB coaches have been found guilty of stealing money so as to pay off their gambling debts. With globalization of sports, placing a bet on a professional sporting event is now quite simplified. All over the globe, the sports betting industry has grown to almost 500 billion dollars per year, with more than 90% of the European bets placed on European football matches.

Sport Scandal Controversies

From the 1960s, the utilization of performance-boosting drugs has been an issue in college as well as professional sports. Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) entail human growth hormones, stimulants, anabolic steroids, and supplements such as androstenedione that assist the body in the production of testosterone (that boosts physical performance). The fight against PEDs has been a long struggle. An Olympic Medal and Tour de France titles were taken away from Lance Armstrong this year after he admitted to doping in the course of his career (Keller, 2013). Major League Baseball sued Biogenesis of America, leading to the temporary ban of twenty players, including Miguel Tejada of Kansas City Royal, New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Braun of Milwaukee Brewers as reported by CNN. In the agent-athlete perspective, corruption is quite rampant. With reference to John Philips, founder of Breakthrough Sports Agency, nearly half of all agents are ready to do whatever it takes to sign a player. Given that the earnings of a sports agent are founded on a fraction fee of the contract salary that they are capable of negotiating for an athlete, the temptation to obscure the rules to sign the best is very strong.

Discrimination has several faces. Homophobia, racism, and gender discrimination are social justice concerns troubling a wide array of aspects in the society, the sporting world included. Whereas open racism in the manner through which sports clubs carry out their business has faded, racism is still existent in sports. Individual athletes, commentators, and fans now display most of racist actions (Keller, 2013). Insider and illicit gambling is not as big of an issue in America as it is in other parts of the globe. Even though the issue persists in the nation, the respective scarcity in gambling in America might be linked to the way past scandals have been dealt with. The eight members of the Chicago White Sox that took part in the well-known rigging of the 1919 World Series were banned from the sport forever.

The Benefits

In quite a captivating exit from the findings of the previous studies, Fisher and Wakefield (1998) studied why losing sports teams' fans, poorly ranked academic systems alumni, and charity patrons still maintained or even increased their support. They discovered that in quest of positive self-definition, members of both the unsuccessful and successful groups identify with their respective groups for various reasons. Members of successful groups particularly tend to utilize performance as the prevailing factor in their involvement with these groups (Fisher and Wakefield, 1998). On the other hand, members associated with unsuccessful groups had a tendency of focusing on aspects of the group and its members, for instance group domain association and group member attractiveness that were useful to their perception of self and otherwise overlooked information regarding the poor performance of their group. These findings imply that the more occupied group members are with their surroundings and the more attractive their own personalities are; the more likely clients will be able to continue supporting the group in spite of the negative information that surrounds the group or its poor performance.

For instance, let us consider baseball. In spite of the bad publicity, baseball assumed a new lease of life in 1920. Prior to that, it was known as the "Dead-ball era," due to the absence of homeruns. The Black Sox scandal might not have been an obstacle in baseball's modernization. In fact, would have resulted to the growing popularity of the league in the 1920s. One of the controversies that have since been revived is the Pete Rose controversy. In the late 1980s, Pete Rose was indicted of betting for and against his own team. Destined for the Hall of Fame and being his team's manger, he played for all expect one year of his career (Doorty, 2016). He was accused of betting for and against his team while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. In 1989, he was banned from the MLB and denied reinstatement. Rose, who kept applying for reinstatement every single year ever since his ban, finally came clean in his 2004 autobiography My Prison Without Bars. He argued that it is true he betted, but only for his own team. He has spoken out on several instances that he ought to be forgiven as he paid for his mistakes. He signed an agreement in 2015 with Fox, which incorporates him in baseball broadcasts. Rose ought to be reinstated for the value that he is capable of bringing to fans. He holds a fan favorite record that might never be broken. It is not right to ignore one of baseball's greatest players.

Baseball was threatened again in 1994. Players who were not in agreement with the MLB regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement concluded the season early and went on a strike. This was the 5th time in 22 years that players either had a lockout or a strike, and for the first time since 1904, the World Series was not held. This appeared like an act of war to the fans. Television ratings and attendance dropped and MLB realized a drop in attendance of around 20% in the season of 1995. Chicago Clubs' Sammy Sosa and St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire raced to break the homerun record of sixty-one homeruns in a single season, which was set by Roger Maris back in 1961 (Doorty, 2016). Both the players were famous homerun hitters and they both broke the record by the end of the season. The race was won by McGwire; he had 70 homeruns while Sosa had 66. In Spring training, it was perceived that the race was going to be between Ken Griffey and McGwire, but Griffey was tied with Sosa by the end of June. Griffey was not capable of keeping up in the following months. Fans were brought back to the games by these homeruns race. In the steroid era and 'Black Sox' controversies, baseball acquired fame in times when the game encountered pauses in popularity. Additionally, in times such as the Pete Rose's expulsion as well as other controversies, the game's popularity did not plunge. Bearing this in mind, very small changes have been introduced to the game to hasten the games' pace, or to establish a fresh interest.

Scandals also provide players the chance of revamping or changing their image in a positive manner. In 2003, for instance Kobe Bryant, already an NBA star was accused of sexual assault. This criminal charge was dropped since the supposed victim declined to testify,…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Alessi. (2014). TheRichest - The World's Most Entertaining Site. Top 10 Sports Betting Scandals and Controversies - TheRichest. Retrieved June 21, 2016, from http://www.therichest.com/sports/top-10-sports-betting-scandals-and-controversies/

Doorty, A. (2016). Odyssey. Is Scandal Good for Baseball? Retrieved June 21, 2016, from http://www.theodysseyonline.com/are-scandals-good-for-baseball

Fisher, R., & Wakefield, K. (1998). Factors leading to group identification: A field study of winners and losers. Psychology & Marketing, 15(1). Retrieved, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(199801)15:1%3C23::AID-MAR3%3E3.0.CO;2-P/abstract

Garg. (2010). The Hoya. Scandals Show Need to Pay College Athletes. Retrieved June 21, 2016, from http://www.thehoya.com/scandals-show-need-to-pay-college-athletes/

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