There have been multiple occurrences where college football players have been investigated sexual assault charges. The ethical theories would view how the case would be approached and handled. The individualists would explain that a head coach and an athletic director only have to focus on the success of the football program. Individualists would not think that the players are responsible. They would hold the head coach and athletic director responsible for the players’ actions off the field. Utilitarians believe that people should maximize happiness for oneself and others. They would view the sexual assault case as unethical because of the impact of a sexual assault case has on an athletic program and the impact of females on college campuses. Kantians judge the individual decisions that people choose to make. They would see that the sexual assault is unethical because it violates the rights of an individual and disrespects the autonomy of any individual which is irrational. Virtue theory would analyze how the case since the investigation is a major issue that has not been solved yet. The Oregon football program must figure out a solution to avoid being part of the negative stigma that follows in the college football world. The program must gain the trust of its students and fans sooner rather than later.
The Oregon Ducks Football team is one of the most recognized Division I football programs in the NCAA. The University of Oregon is well known throughout the nation and maintain a high focus on the production of the university’s student-athletes. The university primarily prides itself with high regards for their athletic programs especially football. The football program began in 1894 and the program started gaining more success once it moved to the Pac 12 Conference in 1964. The Oregon Ducks have won a share of twelve conference titles, four division titles and three Rose Bowl Championships, the most recent in January 1st, 2015. The Oregon Ducks have played in eleven consecutive college bowl games and playing 23 bowls games in the last 27 seasons. The Ducks had won four consecutive BCS bowl games before losing during the 2015 season. They have five players and three coaches who have been inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame. The program has also produced six Pro Football Hall of Famers and 21 NFL champions. The Ducks thrive on winning football games every season and look to continue building success after missing the opportunity of playing in a bowl game for the first time since the 2004 season.
Over this pass college football season, the Oregon football team is under investigation after two players were placed with the allegations of sexual assault. The two suspects are Tristen Wallace and Darrian Franklin, who were both suspended indefinitely in October and continued their suspension. Tristen Wallace remains under criminal investigation by the University of Oregon Police Department. Wallace and former teammate Darrian Franklin have been barred from campus. They have yet to be charged with a crime, however, the investigation is still ongoing.
It remains uncertain the UPD investigations were part of the reason that Wallace and Franklin did not play the entire 2016 season. When asked regarding the investigations, the Oregon University Athletic Department spokesmen chose not to comment about the situation. There have been multiple incidents of Oregon football players being charged with a crime such as former defensive player Austin Maloata was kicked off the team after being arrested for two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault and a misdemeanor count of DUI and former tight end Pharaoh Brown was accused for three cases of violence though he was never charged for the alleged instances. There have been an increasing number of incidents that have been done by former Oregon football players.
The following incidents were committed by former and current Oregon football players. In August, defensive player Torrodney Prevot was suspended indefinitely before the season opener after allegedly assaulting a former female student athlete. He was suspended by the university for two years. Austin Maloata was dismissed from the team after a November 13th arrest and was sentenced to jail on December 14th and placed on two years of probation. Eddie Heard was suspended following an arrest in November and pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fourth degree assault. Offensive player Pharaoh Brown was accused of being involved in three counts of violence, however, he was never charged for the alleged incidents. The new Oregon Football head coach Willie Taggart has said that the violence towards women and the use of guns and drugs will not be tolerated for players in his programs. The University of Oregon will not and should not tolerate these devious acts that are being presented to the football program.
The future of college football lies within its athletic recruits and incoming students across the nation. Athletes and students would not want to attend a university that has cases of sexual assault and violence against it. Oregon has one of the most productive athletic programs and would not want to risk being tarnished. The Ducks have an extensive fan base that could be affected because of the number of cases that Oregon has been involved in the last couple of years. Oregon values its fans, students and athletes alike and is doing everything in its power to clear its name from these cases.
The individualism theory is defined as the values and rights originate within individuals and their interests are ethical. In an individualist view, Wallace and Franklin are destroying the integrity of the football program, the athletic department, and the name of Oregon University. Friedman argued that management had to be responsible for maximizing profits and stealing from the owners from the company is unacceptable. The future of Oregon football does not want to remain in question to all the allegations that have occurred. The players and the recruits that are applying to Oregon seem to not care about the effects that their actions have on the athletic program and the university.
In the utilitarianism theory, one must maximize happiness for themselves and others. Utilitarianism is an ethical tradition that directs individuals to make decisions based on the consequences of one’s acts. A utilitarian views this case as unethical due to the players’ actions and how the situation will be possibly be handled. Consequences must follow because of these actions. Wallace and Franklin were aware of their actions and had knowledge of what could happen if their illegal activities came to the public. The players wanted to maximize their own pleasure by taking advantage of a young woman which maximizes her pain and minimizes the players’ pain. They choose to assault a young woman and violate the primary rules of conduct held by the team and the athletic program. This occurrence lead to the beginning of a sexual assault case and the players involved were later suspended for their devious acts.
The investigation is pending and is being handled properly. Wallace and Franklin are still facing severe consequences such this past season long suspension. Both players will be given further disciplinary ruling with the possibility of being removed from the team. The players were not concerned with their future with the team and possibly having a future in the NFL. The stakeholders are now questioning what else they could do for the future in preventing any possible cases of violence and sexual assault. Athletes must avoid any student codes because they affect the team and the university’s image towards the public. New head coach Willie Taggart has made it clear that violence towards women and the use of drugs and guns will not tolerated in his program. Coach Taggart has also mentioned that his players will only have one chance to do things the proper way.
A Kantian theorist would care the investigation of the case and its results. Kantians are motivated by their good and seek to do what is right and rational. Kantians must only act rationally to make rational decisions. Unlike utilitarianism, Kantianism does not focus on decisions only on the consequences. The players’ assault on the young woman is not an example of good will, which violates the Kantian theory. Wallace and Franklin had to have a negative will to commit this devious act. Kant believed people should act to maxims that could be accepted and acted upon. Kantianism wants people to understand every decision they will make and the actions that follow those decisions.
As the investigation was under way, Wallace and Franklin were later suspended for the upcoming 2016 season. Coach Taggart made it clear that acts such as these will not be accepted on the football team and the university. The suspension of the players may have impacted the rest of the team as the team ended the season with a losing record after twelve consecutive winning seasons. The university addressed the situation properly and proceeded to cooperate with the Oregon Police Department. This makes the public believe some form of justice to be placed upon the players to be punished for their actions.
A virtue theorist focuses more on the means of things than the ends. Virtue theorists do not care for the outcomes of situations. They only care for a person’s character and how their actions reflect on them as a person. The players displayed poor character in their decision making skills and prove to be unethical. The players violated multiple virtues, which judge someone’s character. They used lack of character and judgment when sexually assaulting the woman. They focused more on their personal needs rather than the consequences that would normally follow.
The players are no longer seen honest and cannot be viewed the same they were once before by other players, coaches, students, and the public. They will not be treated with the same respect from others. They violated the trust and honesty of their stakeholders. It will be interesting to see how the players will be taken if they return to the team this year. Even though the players have not mentioned anything regarding the incidents, they would still be seen as liars if they say something that does not fit the allegation.
Justified Ethics Evaluation
Personally speaking, the players’ actions are unethical and disturbing. Justice must be applied if there is conclusive evidence that the players committed the crime. The players had no reason and no right to sexually assault the victim. They should have known that there would be consequences for their actions. College football has been played for over a century but there has been numerous cases of football players sexually assaulting women, abusing drugs, and being involved in gun violence. This hurts how people view college athletes because they know athletes are able to somehow avoid punishment for their actions.The players could not defend their position since situations like happen every so often. Honesty and trust are two of the most important character values to have and Wallace and Franklin broke both values for their own satisfaction. They did not prioritize their values and athletic careers, which are affected and will continue to be affected in the future. The carelessness and foolishness that the players displayed shows they did not believe they could be caught. It also shows that they did not care how their actions could affect others around them.