Saturday, November 11, 2017

Chelsea Amongst Several Clubs Accused of Sexual Assault By Coaches (2017)


Chelsea Accused of Paying Johnson 50,000 Pounds to "Stay Quiet"
British police are investigating hundreds of historical cases of sexual abuse of young football players by coaches of top clubs in the United Kingdom, most notably Premier League powerhouse Chelsea. London police said they have more than 100 allegations of abuse at 30 clubs including four now in the Premier League. Scottish police have added 109 cases as well. Former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward “opened the floodgates” by telling about abuse he suffered at the clubs academy 25 years ago. Woodward said he suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of Barry Bennell, the man who scouted him and got him onto Crewe Alexandra. “Woodward said Bennell manipulated the boys he abused by threatening them physically with a pair of nunchucks and by threatening to kick them out of the football academy” (Blickenstaff). Since this allegation broke out, it has been revealed that Chelsea, one of the top clubs in the Premier League, paid a player to stay silent about abuse.

 In an interview with HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, former Chelsea football player Gary Johnson talked to journalist David Scott about the abuse he suffered. Johnson was scouted for Chelsea’s elite youth program when he was only 13 years old by Eddie Heath. One day, after Johnson had a bad day at school, Heath invited Johnson back to his house. Once there, Heath put on a porn movie. From there, inappropriate and unwanted touching by Heath took place. Johnson kept the abuse secret for over 40 years, but decided to come forward after seeing former football pro, Andy Woodward, talk with the BBC about the sexual abuse he experienced as a child at the Crewe Alexandra club. Explaining why he stayed silent for all those years, Johnson stated, “Why would I want to tell anyone? I don’t want to have that stigma of going to a game and people laughing at me” (Gibbs).

Gary Johnson: Chelsea 1978-1981
Gary Johnson approached police after the fallout of Operation Yewtree in 2014, where officers advised Johnson to “go back to Chelsea,” where the club asked him to “prove it.” Settlement agreements dated July 16, 2015, show the club paid Johnson 50,000 to “stay quiet.”

The Football Association (FA) has promised reforms, but many are skeptical. One anonymous former football executive who Scott interviewed said he reported allegations of abuse to the FA back in 2001, and received a letter back saying: “The Football Association has investigated the issues and is satisfied there is no case to answer” (Gibbs). A few years later, the FA abruptly terminated a study on child protections citing budget cuts. As of late due to the allegations, the FA has launched an intensive independent investigation, and has contacted eight professional football clubs about the matter, however they have all failed to respond. The FA is considering imposing sanctions if the clubs continue to refuse to cooperate. “The fact that the clubs continue to ignore the FA inquiry and fail to cooperate is deeply concerning,” Dino Nocivelli, a lawyer who is representing a number of the victims, told Taylor. “It clearly shows their disregard for survivors of childhood sexual abuse within football and serious questions have to be asked as to the reasons why these clubs have decided not to engage” (Gibbs).

Chelsea Players and Fans May be Ones Mostly Affected
The stakeholders that could be affected by the controversy are the current players on Chelsea along with the upper management for the club and the fans. The players for Chelsea who make a living playing the sport of football and working for Chelsea could see their market value dwindle if the news continues to leak about sexual abuse by coaches in the past. People may view the club as disgusting and decide not to watch or may dislike the team because of these accusations.

The obvious key stakeholders that will be affected by this controversy are the fans and owners. Football in Europe is a major part of citizen’s lives, and is their major form of entertainment. Outcomes to these cases could be the death penalty for some teams, which is a complete shut-down of the team from the league for a year or more. If this happened, many fans’ livelihoods would be affected and the stigma associated with supporting “that” team will forever be with them. Owners of these teams, if the death penalty does occur to them, are the ones most affected financially. Millions of dollars would be lost if the team could not compete for a season or more. So, it’s important that the owners, and everyone below him including executives, coaches, trainers, etc. are acting ethically and not causing any controversy.

According to Individualist Theory, a business is acting within ethical standards when it makes a profit for its stakeholders or focuses on their interests, but doing so while pertaining to the laws of society and respecting human rights. The Chelsea coaches and executives involved in this controversy were very knowledgeable of the game and did their duty when it came to providing football expertise or else they would not have been hired by the team in the first place. However, their respect for human rights was not there whatsoever. Performing these actions as a human, never-the-less a professional is outrageous and extremely unethical. Sexually and physically abusing children the way Eddie Heath along with hundreds of other abusers did is frowned upon throughout the global society. The lack of cooperation by Chelsea shows a complete lack of professionalism along with the fact that they bribed Johnson to stay quiet. Chelsea did all of this to maintain their good image and not have bad publicity, but the information being leaked is making the club look even worse off than it would have if they spoke out and apologized for the matter.

According to utilitarianism, an action is deemed ethical if it promotes all-around happiness to all parties affected. Happiness is the only thing of intrinsic value in the minds of Utilitarians. The only person obtaining happiness from this sexual abuse situation is Heath, who took joy in sexually harassing young football players on Chelsea. The club may have obtained some happiness by reaping the benefits of having this coach recruit star players and develop good young players, but Chelsea did not collect joy from the abuse done by Heath. The team overall has created immense levels of happiness for millions of fans around the globe, as they have watched their success the past 20 years and marveled at the talent the team possesses. Abramovich along with the hundreds of players that have gone through the Chelsea system have also been rewarded by this success, reaping in the benefits of million dollar salaries and bonuses to go along with it.                                                     

The second action that could be looked at as being unethical is the 50,000 pound settlement that Chelsea made with Johnson to ensure that he stays quiet. In the end, the two parties agreed to the number and decided that this amount would make both sides happy. But, the fact that Chelsea has not cooperated with the FA and made sure to keep Johnson quiet is unethical. Teams and players should be creating awareness for the victims of sexual abuse not hiding it, so the actions done by Chelsea in this situation are unethical. 

Kantianism is based on the values that ethical activity is only possible when the acting party conducts them self rationally in the goings-on of society. A business entity should never consider itself exempt from the rules. People, their autonomy, and their individual needs and interest must be respected in order for any activity carried out, to be considered ethical by Kantian philosophy. Heath’s utter disregard for the lives of these young boys’ lives is completely unethical and does not abide by Kantianism. Chelsea’s lack of cooperation with law enforcement and the FA are acting very unethically as well. They are not taking into account the lives and feelings of the accusers since they have not responded to any inquiries.

Virtue Theory

Eddie Heath: Passed Away in 1980s of a Heart Attack
Virtue theory is based on four virtue characteristics. If a business entity acts in a way that fits the four characteristics, it is, therefore, acting ethically. The four virtue characteristics are courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. The courage characteristic represents and entity’s willingness to take chances, and to stand up for what is right. The honesty characteristic represents an entity’s willingness to be truthful with the public and all other parties involved with and affected by the business activity. Temperance represents the ability of the entity to set realistic expectations and justice represents hard work and fair practice. The Chelsea coaches that performed the abuse, as well
as the organization itself that hired these abusers upheld none of these virtues. Heath acted selfishly and only thought of his best interests. He went out of his way to perform illegal actions, keep it secret, and go on with his life as if nothing ever happened. Chelsea, in order to abstain from negative publicity, have not taken action and cooperated with the FA or law enforcement, and have not done anything to assure that this type of behavior will never happen again in their club.


1 comment:

  1. Troy,

    I found this blogpost pretty intriguing, yet at the same time a smooth read. As a huge soccer fan and lover of the beautiful game, I'm pretty up to date with the news surrounding almost everything in the world of soccer. Its almost at the point where I'm not surprised when I hear about money or greed scandals in the FIFA organization anymore, but when I saw that you were posting about a sexual assault case from one of the top soccer clubs in the world, well I was more than shocked that I hadn't yet heard about it. Nonetheless, I find it crazy to think that there have been this many complaints and allegations of sexual assault against soccer coaches in England. Assuming these allegations are true I agree with your analysis on just about everything here. I think this is a quality discussion post and I look forward to reading the revised final product.