Thursday, December 17, 2020

The World of Soccer’s Biggest Match Yet, The Duel Against Racism (1980’s - Present)

The game of soccer, or football as almost every country knows it as is truly the worlds game in every way. The game in total is played by over 250 million people in 200 countries around the globe. It is most popular in Europe, central and southern America, and Africa which proves that the game is touched by so many different types in groups of people with so many different ethnic backgrounds. The world of soccer has two major governing bodies, with the first being FIFA which stands for the Federation of international football Association. This is the governing body that rules over world soccer, as they have control over all the smaller governing bodies that are spread across the world. Anything that has to do with international soccer in any way is completely under FIFA’s control one hundred percent. The second governing body and most definitely the biggest is UEFA. This stands for the Union of European football. This is the most important of all the world's sub unions due to the fact that Europe is where soccer is most densely popular. For an unthinkable amount of time, racism has always been the biggest overall issue there is in the sport (European Football). 

        Due to the fact that there are so many different ethnicities and take part in the game of soccer, outside factors in interferences including race, religion, and ethnicity begin to play a massive role in how many of these teams and their fans view each other. Racism became extremely prevalent in the game of soccer around the mid-1980s, and it has only risen from then. The issue has become so massive that it almost seems as though nobody even knows how to approach it. Most recently over the past two years it has been all that has been talked about due to the fact that the racial cases have risen so highly over the past 2 to 3 years (Ramsay). Along with this many players, fans, officials, and soccer experts feel as though these huge governing bodies are not doing enough to protect against the obvious racism issue which has been going on for sometime.   Since racism began to run right in the mid to early 1980s, UEFA in many of the governing bodies around the world have made some steps to take on the fight against racism. But many and most people whether they are players, fans, officials, or people that are just around the game feel as though the steps are nowhere near to the level of intensity that they should be when talking about the serious racism issue the game of soccer has. This is where the true controversy begins to arise. The fact that almost all soccer affiliates no matter where they stand feel as though these large governing bodies like UEFA do basically absolutely nothing in the fight to prevent and silence racism.

     Within this controversy, ethical theories would analyze UEFA‘s actions to see if they are truly doing enough to stand up and protect not only the game, but the players themselves. For the individualist point of you, they theorize that the leader or managers only ethical responsibility is to increase the wealth of  the owners while still complying under the law. In this case an individualist would say that UEFA is doing nothing wrong and that they are taking the correct measures to ensure their true responsibility. In this case the true responsibility is to increase the wealth at all cost while still abiding by the laws, and they are doing so due to the fact that they are taking some measures to ensure they try to put a stop to racism as a whole throughout the game. The fact that soccer and especially European soccer is by far the most profitable sport in the world which really helps this individualist point of you for this argument due to the fact that so many of these teams are beyond wealthy and are only continuing up which is the main goal of individualism. The main argument from the opposite point of you is the fact that even though many of these major governing bodies like UEFA to take some precautionary measures to stop racism, it is nowhere near close to what it should be because the overall health and safety of the players, who are the ones responsible for truly bringing all the money should be paramount.    

From the utilitarian standpoint, they ethically require that people maximize happiness for the most people they can. From this point of you, they would view UEFA‘s behavior as Beyond unethical due to the fact that their actions have caused countless amounts of racial issues that have caused harm, on safety, and serious distress to many of their players, fans, and the rest of their board. This especially applies to the players who have won through more racial abuse the many could imagine. According to the Kantianism view, which judges actions by the individual decisions people make and the motives that are behind them. In this situation, kantianism would state that UEFA is not and has not been acting ethically over the many years of these racial controversies. It would be said that UEFA is using their players, staff, officials, and the fans as a mere means to get their work done and to make the maximum profit they possibly can.  In doing so they are not protecting all of their employees, fans, and players who have experienced many horrific racial incidents throughout the years. The last of the four theories is the virtue theory, which emphasizes the four main virtues which include courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. In this case UEFA’s actions would be deemed ethical on many accounts due to self interest, greed, inhumanity. Overall changes need to be made within the system in order to once again keep faculty,fan, and player safety as paramount while still prioritizing the game of soccer.

The Company Background

UEFA or the union of European football was created on the 15th of  June 1954. This Is one of the six continental considerations of the world football governing body and by foreign the largest and most prized of the six. This association is responsible for all of European football including running nation and club competitions like the UEFA champions league and the UEFA nations league which tag please each and every year. The current president is Aleksander Ceferin Who was a former football Association president of Slovenia and was elected to be UEFA ‘s seventh president in its history in 2016. In today’s world UEFA is by far one of the most well-known associations in all of world sports and has competitions like the way for champions league or some of the largest grossing competitions in games in the history of worldwide sports. UEFA headquarters resign in Basel Switzerland and play a huge role in the association as a whole is each and every year that is where elections take place. Some of the largest and most well-known countries included and UEFA‘s union include European powerhouses like England, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Russia (Chaplin). 

         These are some of the most successful soccer nations in the world and this is what makes UEFA so much bigger than any of the other soccer associations throughout the world is due to the fact that they house most of all of the best teams around the world as 12 out of the 21 World Cup that have been played have one by just European teams alone.Overall the impact and role UEFA plays in day to day soccer around the globe is massive, especially in Europe where they hold most of their control. The association makes all of the overall decisions that have to do with any type of soccer professionally that is being played with any European nation. They decide the rules, regulations, and laws of the game and have the biggest impact of all on the game of soccer (McCauley)

Case Controversy 

UEFA as an association has been responsible for the immense wave of success in the popularity that soccer has taken all over the continent of Europe. From their slow rise when they were first formed in the 1950s, to today’s day and age where they are synonymously known for some of the most popular and well-known competitions in the whole world wide game of soccer. Due to the fact that UEFA is considered the government administrative body of European football, they are responsible for not only the integrity of the game and the way displayed, but also the integrity of the teams, staff, and players themselves. Throughout the long and commemorated history of European soccer, there has been one disease that has plagued the game worse than any other, and it is racism. Since the mid to late 1980s, racism has been an ongoing issue that has caused unrest within the sport unlike any other. Hundreds and hundreds of issues have arised with claims from all different types of people throughout the sport. Staff members, fans, and most of all players have been racially abused throughout the years and it seems that no real steps have been taken to truly hold the horrible disease that is racism (Denne)

       Throughout the countless years in the history of soccer, hundreds of racist incidents have been reported whether it is from fans, staff members, or players themselves this has been an issue for years upon years. As the many incidents continue to pile up over the years, many people have begun to question UEFA on their actions and the way they have responded. After many of these horrible incidents have continued to occur again and again, fans, enthusiasts, and the players themselves have begun to take a stand against UEFA. They feel and believe as though UEFA as the governing body of soccer they are not taking the steps that they should be taking in order to protect their players correctly. 

Over the years UEFA has made some regulations and laws due to the problem of racism, with these adjustments have not come with any change as people feel they were not even close to a stern as they should’ve been. Many players have voiced their opinion on the fact that UEFA has not done anything for the fight against racism since the late 1990s. They are referencing the fact that in 1999 all of the European countries were skiing together as one in the fight against racism where the FARE Network was created. FARE Stands for football against racism in Europe and this organization was created due to the fact then in the late 1990s racism was running riot all across Europe and on a weekly basis there were a multitude of widespread cases involving racism. Something needed to be done and for the first time in a long time UEFA finally stepped up to the plate and created this organization which put in place a set of rules that would no longer allow these cases of racism to be swept under the carpet no longer. FARE is even still around today and it ask as a resistant organization for those who challenge racism and discrimination throughout Europe in the game of soccer. They work together with national associations, clubs, and players unions to combat racism and any related forms of discrimination all across Europe (Wachter). This is said to be the last stern action that UEFA has taken against racism and discrimination in basically 20 years. Since then the fight has only got tougher, as racism has reached its peak most recently.

        In the most recent 2019 2020 season, there were more than 150 football related incidents that were reported to the police as racist, “ a rise of more than 50% on the year before in more than double the numbers from three seasons ago” (guardian). Racism is truly beginning to run wild again throughout Europe, with the highest incline coming from the 2017 2018 season to the 2018 2019 season when numbers rose from 98 to 152 reported cases. With racism rising so quickly, many of the players have begun to voice their opinions on the fact that UEFA has not done nearly enough to protect their players and prevent these horrific actions from occurring. Just this past year, some of the worst racism abuse related incidents occurred in a very long time. Some examples of this was one Brazilian player Malcom signed for Zenit St Petersburg, his first professional division one team which was a massive accomplishment. This team is located in Russia, and has had multiple racial problems in the past. In this situation, Malcom was on the bench for his first game and as the game began, fans displayed a massive banner stating that black players were not ever welcome at the club. This all relates and references a manifesto that was written and created by extreme supporters of the club that discourage the club from having any black players whatsoever (Davies). Racism is truly running through the veins of the fans of these teams, and the players are suffering tremendously. 

Also maybe two of the worst racial abuse situations saw this past season occurred in September when inter-Milan player Romelu Lukaku scored a goal and then was taunted and racially abused by the opposing Italian fans by doing monkey chance and scratching their armpits towards him as he celebrated. The other occurred in October during the year of 2020 qualifiers when England played Bulgaria. The match had to be halted twice in the first half alone, which is a new rule that was applied by UEFA which allowed the referee to start the match in any of these situations. People thought this law was a great step but still not enough in the fight against racism. During the situation, England had scored against Bulgaria and it was the African-American man Rahim Sterling who scored the goal. Bulgarian fans in the stadium begin to make Nazi salute and monkey noises at the player and this resulted in the hault of play (Blum). 

Despicable actions like these have led to the problem that we have today and soccer all around the globe. Racism is and will always be a constant issue until real forceful steps are taken to prohibit racism at the stem of  the route. All of these examples with actions of racism have not been taken lightly by almost all soccer enthusiasts and players around the globe, especially in Europe which is the main case that we are looking at. UEFA has been asked again and again to really step up their actions against a fight of racism, and each and every time the fans and players feel as though they have failed again. It is UEFA’s duty to keep not only the integrity of the game together, but also to keep the safety of the players and fans deemed as what is most important. For almost over 40 years, the soccer world has felt let down on the fight against racism. Many of your wife’s responses to these claims is that they do in fact do what they can at the very highest level in order to prevent any racist action of any kind. In the past, where UEFA has stepped up, according to them, is with their whole entire say no to racism advert. This is UEFA‘s main claim to the fight against racism as it has in fact put tons  of the memorabilia and signs around the stadiums when their games take place. Since this came about, there are some that feel as though even though this is a good effort at a strong campaign, a lot of times it is used against The purpose as in some occasions fans I have completely disrespected the advertisement and banner as a whole. Many soccer enthusiasts around the world are beginning to believe and feel as if UEFA almost takes this as a joke. One of the primary reasons that people are beginning to feel like that is due to some of the recent actions that UEFA has taken (Blum). 

In the Italian soccer league, the Seria A, where a good chunk of these racial issues occur on a year to your basis, A anti-racism advertisement was released for the new season. In this advertisement, three chimpanzees or monkeys were displayed and on their faces were different colored paints of different teams throughout the leagues. The images were said to, “ spread the values of integration, multiculturalism, and brotherhood”( gaurdian). FARE, the anti-discrimination group that plays a huge role in the game of soccer tweeted, “ once again Italian football leaves the world speechless. And a country in which the authorities failed to deal with racism week after week, the Seria A have launched a campaign that looks like a sick joke”. Quickly after the advertisement was released, players and soccer supporters all around the world voiced their opinion on just how horrible it truly looked. Overall UEFA has only employed small steps in the fight against racism, including things like being able to hault the match, or putting up anti-racist advert throughout many other games, but the problem of racism has become beyond serious in the sport and much stricter measures need to be taken in order to ensure the safety of the fans and players (McVeigh)


The stakeholders included in UEFA, The union of European football associations, includes all of the 55 nations that are in cooperation with association association. If the nation is in cooperation with UEFA, then the nation itself is also part of the stakeholders, along with all of the leagues within the country that compete in any UEFA competition. An example of this could be in the English Premier league and England, since all England teams participate in many of your waivers competitions throughout Europe, all of their teams within their major five leagues have a part of the stakeholdership of UEFA itself. An example of a team within the Premier league would be Liverpool who just won the UEFA champions league last season. Along with this, since all teams have a share of the stakeholders, so as do The players themselves. This allows everyone from the bottom to the top to have a small say in the decision making process of European football, even though with the actions that UEFA takes it feels as though nobody else’s opinion besides the people at the top matter. The relationship between UEFA and all of its leagues, clubs, and players is done by memorandums of understanding that are agreed-upon with European European professional football league, European club association, and FIFPRO Division Europe (UEFA). 


From the individualist perspective, it is said that the leader or managers' only ethical responsibility is to increase the wealth of the owners while still complying under the law. From the information that we have gained based on individualist point of you, individualist would say that the actions of UEFA have not been unethical due to the fact they have a bided by the laws while still increasing the world of the game of soccer as a whole as it is the most prosperous sport in the world. There are two ways to view individualism, the first is Milton Friedman’s View which states that the only goal of business is to profit within the constraints of the law. This means that a business should do anything and everything I possibly could to make any profit no matter the impact on others as long as it is within the guidelines of the law. The second way of viewing individualism comes by a man named Tibor Machan, Who came up with his own idea of individualism called classical individualism. It states,” according to Machan The only direct goal of business is to profit, and the primary obligation of the business person is to maximize the profit ( Salazar). With these two different views of individualism in mind, overall individualists would say that UEFA as a whole followed these values because they’re number one primary goal was to profit off the game of soccer and they continue to do that each and every year no matter the issues or problems surrounding the game. The tough part of this argument it’s coming from the law side and if UEFA was truly protecting their players under the laws and values that they have stated. UEFA has taken some steps throughout the years to halt racism as much as they possibly can, but this so-called maximum effort that they put in is felt by many fans and players as though it is much lower than it should be. As the statistics show, from the 2014 2015 seasons to the 2018 2019 season the overall revenue of UEFA have continued to steadily rise. The last reported revenue the UEFA has released was during the 2018 2019 season where they marked that A massive revenue of €2.8 billion. 

       As we continue to analyze the individualists point of you for this controversy, The toughest part will continually be if UEFA truly does do enough to protect its players. Throughout the years many efforts from UEFA in the fight against racism have been seen by both players and fans. The real question is, are these efforts enough when racism is by far the largest issue in the world of soccer. As hundreds and hundreds of racial incidents continue to be reported each and every year, the fans and players alike feel as though you were here for his efforts are nowhere near the level they should be due to the true concern of the issue. Racism has been running wild throughout the sport for almost 40 years and it seems as though UEFA always takes the bare minimum steps they have to in order to show that they are still abiding by what they say. People and players want more from UEFA, more laws, more punishment, and more stricter rules. From an overall point of view, the fact that UEFA still makes some effort to fight racism within the sport shows that they are still taking action to protect their players now even if it’s not enough for the necessary measures that are occurring, they’re still abiding by what they have said about protecting the players. An example of a change that UEFA has made most recently is that matches are now allowed to be completely stopped due to any racial abuse or interference within the game (UEFA). Overall under the individualist view, the players and fans are being protected, while at the same time UEFA is still maximizing their profit while abiding by all the laws necessary.


Kantianism is an ethical theory that was created by Immanuel Kant and it has four basic principles. These for basic principles or to act rationally, help others make rational decisions, respect other people, and be driven by Goodwill and trying to do the right thing. Kantianism primarily focuses on rationality and goodwill and doing what is correct for the good of humankind. He states that it is completely wrong to manipulate and exploit people for your own advantage and states that everything should be done under the Goodwill of the people. Within this theory there is a categorical imperative, which is basically a test that indicates whether in action is impermissible or permissible. Within the categorical imperative, is the formula of humanity which strongly states that you should never use people as a means to get what you want because of the fact that you were explaining them for the better good of yourself ( Salazar). 

Based on The information that has been collected about Kantianism and the thought process behind a theory, Kantianists would state that UEFA is and has not been acting ethically towards the fans and players of the game of soccer. Kantianism truly looks at evaluating and assessing the actions of individuals and their decisions based on their overall motives and how they treat people. In this controversy and situation, UEFA is using all of their staff, officials,fans, and players to their own benefit in order to maximize the profit of the game without the correct amount of care and protection the fans and players truly deserve. In doing so this comes to terms with the fact that it does not seem or feel like what matters most to UEFA the safety of its fans, staff, and players due to the fact that they have been dealing with racial issues throughout the sport for almost 40 years and throughout all this time UEFA and many of the major soccer governing board have only made minimal small steps to prevent racism. The fans, staff, and players are the true reason for soccer bringing in all of the revenue that he does each and every day. Without the players there would be no game, there would be no stadium, and the fans would not exist because the team would not exist. So what should be most to UEFA is the players who make the game happen each and every day, and the fans who show up and give them the massive profit that they make every year. In this situation UEFA is using the fans and the players as a means in order to gain the maximum profit they possibly can. For UEFA to straighten this out, massive steps need to be taken to show the players and the fans that they change is coming, with new laws, regulations, and rules being applied to the sport.


Utilitarianism It’s basically explained as maximizing happiness for yourself and others. The goal is to maximize happiness for everyone involved while minimizing unhappiness for everyone. It is very simple into the point that happiness is the key to everything. According to DesJardines,” utilitarianism tells us that we can determine the ethical significance of any action by looking to the consequences of the act”(DesJardins). This basically says that any action can be ultimately viewed as good or bad by looking at the consequences that arise from the action itself. In this situation there are two actions. The first action is the racial abuse in incidence they continue to occur each and every year throughout soccer. The second action, Or so-called action is done by UEFA. These are the small changes in the rules, regulations, and laws that they have made over the years. It sure seems as though what they have done has not been nearly enough to stop the disease that is racism. From a utilitarian standpoint these actions and behavior is extremely  unethical in multitude of ways due to the immense amount of harm in pain that has been caused on the players due to all the racial issues within the sport. So many players and athletes throughout the years I’ve been racially abused and It continues into today’s game has some of the most famous players in the world like Neymar, Romalu Lukaku, Raheem Sterling, Trent Alexander Arnold and many more I’ve been racially abused just this year. Along with the players, there are also a multitude of cases that involve staff members and especially fan altercations resulting from racism. Overall UEFA is not doing enough to create a safe and equal environment for all during the time of soccer. 

Virtue Theory

Virtue theory concentrates on the rationality of people in the choices they make in their lives. Vegetarian was created by Aristotle. There are four main parts to your true theory that include temperance, honesty, justice, and courage. Is for me and virtues will help in deciding someone’s rational behavior. According to Aristotle, characteristics of people are differentiated based on the rationality of the person.  Someone who is ethical within the virtue theory,” act so as to embody a variety of virtues or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits” ( Salazar 23). According to Aristotle‘s studies, it is key to know someone’s purpose and potential in order to evaluate if they can possibly reach their highest purpose or potential. 

According to virtue theory, these four main virtues are what is key and if we are looking at UEFA as a whole, they have absolutely no courage as they have still not set up to the plate for the fight against racism even after almost 40 years of this being a constant serious issue. This is a blatant lack of courage due to the fact that they do not want to step up and create change for a better environment due to the fact that they are already happy with the immense results that I get from the game on a year to year basis. They are also being completely dishonest as they make the claim that they are against racism every single year with small adverts but they do not make a true real effort to the cause. Last but not least is the idea of justice which Is the worst of the four in this case with UEFA. These players, fans, and staff deserve justice for what they have been put through and yet UEFA’s punishment for these horrible racial actions are nowhere close to what they should be. 

Action Plan

In today’s day and age, UEFA is facing the daily problem that has taken a stranglehold of the game of soccer. This is racism, and it has been running riot throughout the game of soccer for almost 40 years. As the multitude of racist cases continue to stack up with the game, UEFA has not done nearly enough to take on the fight against racism. Over the years, UEFA has taken some steps in order to show that they are against racism, but the lack of effort and true feeling of care it’s just not there. Fans and players alike feel that UEFA it’s set in their ways, and have not made any real changes to stop the disease that is racism. When UEFA continues to do very small things like advertisements and banners that show their fight against racism, it feels as though to the fans in the players they are diminishing the actual importance of just how bad racism is throughout the sport. Much more severe and crucial steps need to be taken in order to finally hault racism from completely taking over the game. According to UEFA, their “core mission is to promote, protect and develop European football at every level of the game, to promote the principles of unity in solidarity, and to deal with all questions relating to European football”. This is the mission statement that is provided by UEFA on their true thought about the game of soccer. One crucial part of the statement that sticks out is what was said about promoting the principles of unity in solidarity, and in the hundreds of racial abuse cases that have been seen throughout this for over the years, it sure does not seem like UEFA is protecting in abiding by the strict set of core values. 

      With UEFA‘s original mission statement and core values in mind, something needs to change. The mission statement and core values themselves I personally feel are extremely well written and they display the correct view and position of the sport. According to the mission statement they are trying to protect all of their players and fans while bringing them together despite their differences for the love of the game. Sadly The actions of UEFA over the years I’ve come to show that this is not as important to them as it should be. I believe that UEFA needs a completely fresh new start on the whole entire situation. I would personally recommend that UEFA change their mission statement in order to show that change is  coming. I believe that their original statement is actually very well worded and displays the value of the sports and what they believe in very strongly, but with the past lack of effort that was shown by UEFA, a change in wording to show that changes are being made I believe would be a smart decision on the part of UEFA. Personally a rewording to something along the lines of,” UEFA strongly believes in their core values and their overall mission to promote , protect and develop all of European football equally at every level of the game. This includes equal and fair standings for all clubs, leagues, players, and fans who are part of the UEFA family. We promote the principles of unity in solidarity where no other is held in any other higher regard or standing, and we promote the true values of  a safe, equal, fair functioning league of European soccer”. These small changes in the mission statement with adjustments including words like equal and fair well allow people to see that UEFA is taking a turn in a new direction where they will put maximum effort and care into providing a safe equal non-discriminatory game for all who play. 

      According to UEFA, there are eleven key values that UEFA holds highest for European football. These values included football first, pyramid structure and subsidiarity, Unity and leadership, good governance in autonomy, grassroots football in solidarity, youth protection in education, sporting integrity and bedding, financial fair play and regulation of competition, national teams and clubs, respect, and European sports model and specification of sport. All 11 of these key values have descriptions explaining UEFA‘s main thought process throughout these values. Relating to this case, some of the most important values that are listed include the one about unity and leadership and respect which or two of the most important values of the list. Throw all these cases of racism and racial abuse that have been reported that UEFA has put their own fans and players through does not show any acknowledgment of them following these important values that they have listed.

 UEFA need to completely restart over relisting their values once again while making it clear and evident that solving the racism issue is their main concern. In my action plan, more severe punishments and steps will be taken in order to ensure that racism is completely wiped out from the sport. Racism within soccer, is an extremely broad Action as it occurs in many different instances and places. The punishment will be severe due to the fact that racism cannot be put up with in any form no longer in the sport of soccer. For the players and staff, if any racist comments are made online through the form of blogs or social media, severe suspensions and fines depending on how severe and the amount of past occurrences you have. For example, with these players making millions of dollars, a first offense would lead to a $500,000 fine, and a suspension of the next three games that you participate in. For in-game punishment, there will be new stadium regulations and laws posted all around the stadiums of Europe that states that any and all racist activity of any kind Will result and a multipletude of punishment. These will include the game being completely shut down on the spot by the officials, the protagonist fans and team will be fined, penalized, and suspended depending on how severe the occurrence of the case is. Punishing both the fans and the team then forces the team itself to crack down on their own fence due to the fact that the team will be losing revenue and taking losses in games that should have never occurred due to their horrible actions of racism. Even though UEFA will begin to crack down harder on both fans and teams due to the amount of racial incident that have been occurring, the profits will still be maximized and stay the same due to the fact that soccer is the most popular sport in the world any amount of following that most of these European teams have is so high thank your fans and games will always be attended and sold out the matter the rules and regulations. These fans have an extreme love for the game and nothing is going to stop that even if the regulations and rules become much stricter over time. Overall a serious change needs to be made in order to ensure the integrity and safety of all involved in the game.


Baxter, Kevin. “Soccer Newsletter: Racism Remains an Issue for the Sport.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 10 Dec. 2019, 

Blum, Sam. “Why Racism Is on the Rise in Soccer Again.” GQ, Jan. 2020, 

Chaplin, Mark. “The Values of UEFA for European Football's Future: Inside UEFA.”, 16 Feb. 2017, 

Davies, Guy. “Racism in Soccer an 'Epidemic' That Mirrors Disturbing Trends in Europe: Advocates.” ABC News, ABC News Network, Feb. 2020, 

Denne, Luke. “English Soccer's Push to Fight Racism Is Reminder of How Long It Has Plagued the Game.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 17 June 2020, 

Doyle, Terrence. “Soccer Commentary Is Full Of Coded Racism.” FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, 30 June 2020, 

Engle, Jeremy. “Lesson of the Day: 'When the Monkey Chants Are for You: A Soccer Star's View of Racist Abuse'.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Jan. 2020, 

Football, European. “Aleksander Ceferin: Uefa President Says Football Needs to Do More to Tackle Racism.” BBC Sport, BBC, 

Guardian. “Sharp Rise in Football Racism as Incidents Go up by More than 50% in One Year.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 30 Jan. 2020, 

Homeyer, Brad. “UEFA Isn't Doing Enough To Protect Players Of Color From Racism.” The18, 

Lane, Barnaby. “15 Racist Incidents from across the World of Soccer That Made 2019 One of the Sport's Most Shameful Years Ever.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 30 Dec. 2019,

McCauley, Kim. “Why UEFA Is Useless at Dealing with Racism in Soccer.”,, 14 Oct. 2019, 

McVeigh, Niall. “Serie A Anti-Racism Artwork Featuring Monkeys Condemned as a 'Sick Joke'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Dec. 2019, 

Smith, Rory. “'Intelligent' or 'Strong': Study Finds Bias in Soccer Broadcasts.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 June 2020, “Stakeholders: Inside UEFA.”, 13 Feb. 2017, 

Wachter, Kurt. “Racism in Football – Football against Racism: The FARE Experience.” United Nations, United Nations, 

Uber and Lyft: Employee Reclassification

Uber and Lyft: Employee Reclassification

By Benjamin Kolb


In the past year of 2020, Uber and Lyft services have provided easy access and affordable driver services to people across the United States. Their drivers have played a key role in executing these services to the general public. Recently however, both companies have come under fire by the state of California for the misclassification of their drivers as independent contractors. The state of California sued both companies, claiming that these drivers are employees, not independent contractors and they should be given employee benefits. Uber and Lyft fought the courts, and the final decision turned into a ballot question for the public to vote on. 

By looking at business ethics theories including Individualism, Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue theory, Uber and Lyft can be found morally right or wrong in their actions. An individualist would find these actions of Uber and Lyft as justified, because they are within the law. A Utilitarian would also find these actions as morally okay, because they are maximizing the overall happiness of all involved. Kantians would however not find these actions as permissible because using the formula of humanity, they are treating their drivers as mere means for profit. A virtue theorist would also find these actions as showing poor characteristics, because Uber and Lyfts’ leadership qualities are poor. This article will discuss the situation and the court case, along with the ethical theories surrounding the case and will finish with an action plan for Uber and Lyft to use when similar situations arise in the future.

Summary of Case

Uber and Lyft have been two of the largest and most forward-thinking companies following the turn for the 2010 decade. They offer a more available and simple transportation service that relies on independent contractors, or drivers, to sign up and work like a taxi service on behalf of Uber/Lyft. Uber (established in 2009) and Lyft (established in 2012) hire many different civilian drivers and pay them for driving people to where they need to go based on their mobile phone technology or app. Drivers for Uber and Lyft must go through several background checks and be 21 or older with a valid driver's license to qualify. However, after going through this process and being accepted by Uber or Lyft, drivers are not considered employees of the company but rather independent contractors. The difference simply put, although being paid by Uber and/or Lyft, they do not receive basic benefits such as health benefits, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and other supplements that most employees would be entitled to. Nonetheless, the state of California recently noticed this unfair treatment towards the drivers and sued Uber and Lyft for their inequitable treatment of their workers. In addition, the general public recognized this as well and was immediately enraged. Many people believed that a company with such large prosperity should not be able to withhold basic fundamental employee benefits and thus began to criticize these companies. But was this a one-sided story about a big company wronging their workers or was this a misunderstood industry? 

The People vs Uber Technologies was filed on April 26th, 2020. The main issue behind the suit was the misclassification of employees within the company and in violation of the California Assembly Bill 5. The purpose of Assembly bill 5 is to define the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. If categorized as an employee, the employees have employee rights and are entitled to benefits. The bill highlights the ABC test which says that workers are employees unless the hiring entity satisfies all three of the following conditions: 1) The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact; 2) The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; 3) The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed. The court in this case ultimately justified the use of the Assembly bill 5 as applied to drivers, and thus determined that Uber and Lyft violated misclassifying their workers. This decision was ultimately upheld by the Appeals Court on August 22, 2020. The Court granted the state a preliminary injunction that would require Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees beginning August 21, 2020. Consequently, Uber and Lyft responded to this ruling and spent 20 million dollars to make up a California ballot question: Proposition 22. Proposition 22 was designed so that the public could have the power to decide whether or not Uber and Lyft drivers should become employees. Uber's argument through this entire lawsuit and public scrutiny was that “Our drivers don’t want to be employees”.

It is easy to see why the state of California and its citizens were upset with Uber and Lyft and other companies that operate in the same capacity but to fully understand what happened in this decision, both sides need to be understood. During the November 2020 election, proposition 22 was released for the public to vote on, the results were 58.6% yes. The people of California voted in favor of Uber and Lyft, allowing them to continue calling their drivers, independent contractors. This was a major win for the gig economy, meaning all companies similar to Uber and Lyft services. The reason why the people voted for this solution was because of what Uber and Lyft were claiming the whole time, “Our drivers don’t want to be employees''. Uber and Lyft arguments according to reporter Alex Schulman was “...uber views itself as a tech company and so there only employees are those involved with the Tech of these apps”. While this wasn’t good enough to please the courts, the actual drivers for these companies also had an argument. As Uber drivers spoke about this issue, one said in an interview what many were expressing. He said that “This effort to make me an employee is trying to fix a problem that I don't have...I live a life separate from my work. And I set the hours for myself when I want to work and when I don’t want to work. If one of my grandkids has a Little League game that they want me to go to, I can just go ‘yeah, I’ll show up.’”. Many people that now work for Uber and Lyft quit full-time jobs to become drivers because of the flexible hours. This sort of response represented a majority of gig workers but not all. A Uber and Lyft driver named Gage said in an interview that “After every single ride when I get out and sanitize the car, I'm not getting paid for that,” said Gage. “If I get a flat tire on the road, I’m not getting paid for that. If I’m returning a lost item, a lost wallet or cellphone, to a passenger, I’m not getting paid for that time.”. This problem started because drivers were upset about not receiving benefits but a far majority of drivers seemed to like the flexibility and the way Uber and Lyft operated. 

This court case was so important because Uber/Lyft is challenging the constitutionality of the law, known as Assembly bill 5. This will be seen as a landmark case because it is the first case of its kind and a big win for the gig economy. Companies in the future that use gig workers as independent contractors will now have a defense from the government when being pushed on the issue of classification of employees. Although the public did vote for proposition 22 to pass, the state of California was very split in this decision. Many people call this a loss for democracy and a win for the big companies who were able to put lots of money into campaigning this idea. Proposition 22 did however give drivers more benefits but not nearly as many as they could have. Drivers will now get vouchers to access subsidized health insurance and guaranteed hourly earnings. The companies will also implement new safety measures including more frequent background checks of drivers. Although this case was long and seen from many different angles, the ending result is that Uber and Lyft will be allowed to do the same business they have been doing and for the most part, drivers are happy with that. 


The main stakeholders or decision-makers in the case and all that are affected include; Uber and Lyft, the state government of California, the people of California, the gig economy(all other similar companies), and most importantly the drivers or independent contractors. For Uber/Lyft to maintain their successful companies, they will have to gain the popularity of the people, and the drivers to remain in business. These are their main customers and workers and will need to please them to continue making profits and operating. Uber/Lyft must also win out against the state government because if they lose this case in California, many other states will follow California’s lead, and soon Uber and Lyft will be out of business. The gig economy will also be concerned since this will be a landmark case in the classification of independent contractors. This case could likely result in a change in the economy if companies like Uber and Lyft are unable to win over the people and their potential legal issues. 


Friedman’s Individualism is one of the ethical theories that will be applied to this case. Friedman’s Individualism is one of the most basic ethical arguments that revolve around maximizing profits within the law. The theory states that the only goal in business is to profit, so the only obligation that the businessman has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders, within the law. According to this theory and looking from the standpoint of Uber or Lyft, their actions are complicated but in the end, morally correct. Although this theory is relatively simple, the case of Uber and Lyft make it complicated legally speaking. The case started as an unethical practice because they were tried and convicted of breaking the law, by not following assembly bill 5. They later went into the appeals courts which only confirmed the initial court rulings. If the case ended here, then based on this fact they did indeed break the law, and although this was not a criminal court, they still do not follow Friedman’s Individualism. But, because this was a civil court problem, they have some options to be exempt, which they pursued. The two companies challenged this ruling and made their argument into a ballot question, known as proposition 22. During the recent 2020 elections, the people of California favored Uber and Lyft, overturning the state's rulings on assembly bill 5. This means that although they were found guilty, the public voted and allowed them to continue their current employee classification system. Revisiting individualism ethics, if they are maximizing profits within the law, then the business is doing well. If proposition 22 did not pass, Uber and Lyft may have left the state to maximize stockholder value, which would have meant that they could still follow individualism but not in the state of California. In the end, based on the fact Uber and Lyft are not exempt from following assembly bill 5, they follow individualism ethics and therefore their actions are morally acceptable. 


Utilitarian theory is another one of the main ethical theories that can be related to this case. Utilitarian ethics theory revolves around the idea that happiness and pleasure are the only valuable intrinsic things. A more specific definition of Utilitarian ethics is described by J.R. DesJardins, “Utilitarianism tells us that we can determine the ethical significance of any action by looking at the consequences of that act. Utilitarianism is typically identified with the policy of ‘maximizing the overall good’... Acts that accomplish this aim are good; those that do not are bad.”. Uber and Lyft may have approached this argument so that they will benefit but the result of this issue also led to maximum happiness. Uber and Lyft may not have wanted to give their drivers benefits that came with their new reclassification of employees, but due to the public voting, neither did the drivers. Many drivers spoke out saying that they want benefits, overtime pay, and job security, but a great many more, claimed that the reclassification would hurt them. The general public also weighed in, some saying that they want to stand against big-name companies and others claiming that if the drivers don’t want it, ‘Why should we?’ Drivers claimed that they liked the way things were and especially the flexible lifestyle of an independent contractor. The state of California would be happiest with reclassifying the drivers as employees. The public and the independent contractors or drivers are currently mixed between standing up to big corporations and getting the best lifestyle for the drivers. In the end, the people voted for Uber and Lyft, in the form of proposition 22 on the ballot sheet. Proposition 22 did offer the maximum happiness for this situation however because proposition 22 offered a compromise for the drivers that were not happy. Proposition 22 offered some healthcare based on the number of hours you work and offered to pay the difference of minimum wage if the driver does not achieve this engaged time, meaning in actual driving hours. Along with other things, this offers a good mix for the drivers that wanted things to stay the same and the ones that didn't. Drivers and the people who wanted things to stay the same now have this, with some bonus benefits, and drivers that wanted to be employees now have some of the benefits that they wanted which makes them happier than before. The public was the ones that voted for this solution, meaning that if they were not happy with it they would have shown this on the ballot sheet. Overall this solution makes the majority happy, and with the risk of losing Uber and Lyft in California, this solution is best. If Uber and Lyft left, then people would have been very upset and troubled because people are reliant on their transportation. If anything could have been different, Uber and Lyft could have offered employee status to those special workers who do clock in a lot of hours because these employees are most valuable to the company. This would have been seen very favorably because they would be offering something that the public has been protesting about and they wouldn’t lose any current independent contractors or money.


Developed by Immanual Kant, Kantianism is another business ethics theory that will determine whether or not the actions of Uber/Lyft are permissible. Kantian business ethics are different from Utilitarian and Individualism because while those two look at what is ethical from a judge of happiness or legal perspective, Kantians use the categorical imperative. Part of the categorical imperative is the law of humanity, which states that humans are required never to treat others merely as a means to an end, but always as ends in themselves. Kantian ethics specifically differs from Utilitarian ethics by looking at maxims, or the reason for doing something while Utilitarian ethics looks at what result will make people the happiest. For Kant, it doesn’t matter if you use another person for achieving a goal but one cannot use another for the mere purpose of achieving a goal then dismissing them. In terms of Uber and Lyft, a Kantian would look at whether they are using the drivers or anyone in the situation as a mere means, and if they are, then this act is not morally correct. The main suspect to see if Uber and Lyft were mistreating or using as a mere means would be the drivers for both companies since the whole case revolves around their employment status. Uber and Lyft need these workers to be independent contractors to make a profit, and they rely on not giving these drivers benefits to make a profit. Uber and Lyft both threatened to leave the state of California if they had to give these drivers benefits because their business couldn’t afford to pay these workers. Whether or not the drivers wanted to be employees or not, Uber and Lyft by not giving their workers benefits or protection on the job, and by needing the workers to continue to not have these benefits shows that they are indeed using them as a mere means. The end goal is to make a profit and by not showing support or giving benefits or protection, Uber and Lyft are using their drivers for the only purpose of using their cheap labor to make gains. Yes, proposition 22 does include benefits for workers and even some overtime pay, but these benefits are for only a select few drivers that drive for a certain time and the benefits they do give are minimum. From the viewpoint of Kant, what Uber and Lyft are doing is not morally correct and can only be corrected by treating their drivers as people and not just numbers and figures. A way that Uber or Lyft could achieve this is by giving their drivers benefits, or by announcing a driving reward program, or by even taking on full-time employees if drivers want that choice. This would prove that Uber and Lyft aren’t just looking at their drivers as a way of making profits, but looking at them as a useful tool that needs to be treated as important. Kantian ethics do not align with what Uber and Lyft are doing and would agree with the state in making these drivers and employees. 

Virtue Theory

Another business theory that will be applied is Virtue theory, which was first founded by Ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Virtue theory varies from some of the other ethical theories that were already discussed because virtue theory focuses on characteristics a company shows, rather than the outcome of the situation. In The Case Manual by Heather Salazar, virtue theory is described as, “Act to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and to avoid vicious or bad character traits.”. The opposite of a virtuous trait is a vice, meaning that for every good trait there is an equal bad trait that people/organizations can have. Uber and Lyft have shown many bad characteristics in their actions that a virtue theorist would find unethical. One of the main vices that Uber and Lyft showed was greed. Their entire motivation for not categorizing their drivers as employees were that they wouldn’t be able to afford them and therefore would not make a large enough profit. Both companies went as far as to threaten to leave the state. Uber and Lyft showed little compassion when making proposition 22 and showed even more greed and selfishness when coming up with the plan. For the people who wanted to become employees for the benefits and protection, Uber/Lyft gave these people very little compromise and few benefits that are next to impossible to qualify for. The one virtue that Uber and Lyft have displayed was justice. Although they were stubborn throughout the whole process, they did in the end let the drivers and the people decide what was the right thing to do. They let their workers and customers decide and it ended up working out for them. However, although they did show some virtues, the leadership and decision making qualities overall showed greed and selfishness. Their compromise in proposition 22 for the drivers was very little and left many drivers abandoned with no protection or benefits. Uber and Lyft showed very few virtuous traits and their qualities represent unvirtuous leaders. 

Justified Ethics Evaluation

In my opinion of the case, Uber and Lyft acted aggressive and selfish, but nothing impermissible. From the beginning, Uber and Lyft advertised this job as a ‘side hustle’ and not a full-time job with the same description as an employee. This case would not have been so controversial if Uber and Lyft didn’t have the support of their drivers. If the people that the government is trying to protect(the drivers) do not want these benefits and employee classification, then why should the government be fighting for them? The independent contractors working for Uber and Lyft indeed deserve job protection, and some benefits. However as long as the drivers know what they are getting into before they begin, then I don't see the problem with Uber and Lyft withholding these benefits for the overall profit of their company, especially if the drivers don’t want these things.

When the media and the public found out about this case, immediate outrage took place. People were upset that Uber and Lyft were fighting back so hard against the government and because the government was claiming they are doing things in the best interest of the drivers, people sided with the state. This was not the case however, drivers should be able to choose how they wanted to be treated and for the most part, they were pleased with their working situation. From my interactions with Uber and Lyft drivers, they seem very happy and sometimes even gloat about their working situation. Uber and Lyft showed many aggressive and bad qualities in this case, but I do think that they were justified in fighting back so hard. Their company couldn’t afford to operate in the environment the government wanted and was most likely confused. This issue had never come to their attention by their workers, so they saw no problem and in reality, I don’t think I see one either.

Action Plan

The current issue for Uber/Lyft is some of the drivers feel they are being cheated out of benefits and certain protections that they feel they deserve. Uber and Lyft drivers feel as though they should be considered employees and they want to be employees. This problem is challenging however because not all of their drivers feel the same way or want the same thing. Uber and Lyft are also unable to pay for all of their drivers to become employees. Based on the situation that Uber/Lyft are in, there are action steps that they can take to get them out of or resolve their conflict of interest. 

Step one of the action would include the following proposition 22 for at least six months. Their proposition 22 was the agreed-upon arrangement between Uber, Lyft, the public, and the drivers and should be followed for a certain period before going into step two. Step two would involve resolving this action plan to make their benefits, for full-time drivers, more attainable, and more rewarding. Uber’s and Lyft’s agreement in proposition 22 was to offer benefits for qualifying drivers, but these qualifications are met by a very small number of drivers. Surely Uber and Lyft would be able to offer committed drivers, who want the employee status, and employee benefits. The number of drivers who want this is reportedly small for Uber and Lyft, so if the number is small they should be able to offer this without losing too much money. The public would love to see this because it is two large companies, going out of their way to see that they are taking care of their employees. Thus, Uber and Lyft could see a rise in stock value and therefore maximizing their stockholder value. Step three would be more situational and would depend on what other drivers and other states want. Step three includes not giving these options to other states until they reach resistance from their drivers of that state. Although their stock may rise for this plan, their profits may suffer a small loss. This wouldn’t be a large loss and with more innovations from the Uber and Lyft teams, they will be able to recover. However, releasing this plan to ever state all at once may be too much money and complications for the two companies to handle at one time. So, step three would be the gradual integration of steps one and two, into the other states when requested upon by drivers. This would forgo the many legal fees they would have to repeat from the past case, which was high, and immediately look like a caring company in the eyes of the public. Making a good impression on the people who ultimately buy the companies stock, is always a wise thing to do, especially with the increase of companies going into the same business. 

Uber’s current mission statement focuses on bringing transportation to everyone, everywhere; Lyft’s mission statement is similar but adds to the improvement of customer’s lives. None of their statements focus on the drivers and this should be addressed. The new mission statement I propose for both companies would be; “Provide safe transportation for everyone, everywhere, looking after everyone in the car.”. This mission statement improves the original by adding attention to everyone in the car, not just passengers. Core values that will come from this statement will be safety, accessibility, affordability, and accommodation. Safety must always be mentioned because Uber and Lyft must guarantee their customers will be safe when riding with them. Accessibility because from the start, these two companies have revolved around how anyone from anywhere can order a driving service. Affordability is similar to accessibility because they want anyone to be able to afford their service to make the most profits. Accommodation is new and needs to be mentioned because they want all their customers and drivers to feel as though they are being heard and can be listened to if they have any problems. Uber and Lyft would reshape their core values and focus on making sure everyone in the car feels safe and happy. 

Everything following the action plan steps and the new mission statement and core values will fall into place. New drivers will be brought into the company knowing that they could receive employee benefits for acting as though a full-time employee would. Uber and Lyft will need to focus on having conversations with employees after the fact as well. To ensure that they do not need to spend money on a lengthy lawsuit and to make sure that they are not exploiting their workers. They could also hire a third-party company to come in to perform an ethical review and employee evaluation to find out what they are doing well or what they could expect to happen if they continue one of their practices. It is important that Uber and Lyft follow good ethical practices, not just for the face of the company, but to ensure they will continue to make profits. Expensive lawsuits and ballot questions are not how any company wants to continue business and if they want to avoid this in the future then following these steps will help to prevent this.


California, S. (2020). ABC Test. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from

Feiner, L. (2020, August 10). Judge grants preliminary injunction requiring Uber and Lyft to stop classifying drivers as contractors. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from

Legislative Branch, C. (2019, September 19). Bill Text. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from

The People vs Uber Technologies, 1 Https:// (California Appeals Court September 22, 2020) (Justia US Law, Dist. file).

Salazar, H. (2020). The Business Ethics Case Manual. Springfield, MA: Western New England University.

American Politics, B. (2020). California Proposition 22, App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative (2020). Retrieved November 09, 2020, from,_App-Based_Drivers_as_Contractors_and_Labor_Policies_Initiative_(2020)

Bond, S. (2020, October 23). Uber And Lyft Must Make Drivers Employees, California Court Rules. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from

CBS News. (2020, October 23). California appeals court says Uber, Lyft drivers are employees, not contractors. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from

O'Brien, S. (2020, October 23). Uber and Lyft must reclassify drivers as employees, appeals court finds. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from

Roher, C. (2020, October 19). Drivers on Both Sides of Prop 22: What They Want Voters to Know. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from

DesJardins, J. R. (2020). Modern Ethical Theory: Utilitarian Ethics. In 1067447215 812769305 J. R. DesJardins (Author), An introduction to business ethics (p. 29). New York, NY, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.