Character Education, English, Physical Education, Reading
This curriculum guide’s Word Study focuses on ethics and its relationship to sportsmanship. Give students “Is That Ethical?” The etymology study includes questions to answer.
Vocabulary that is found in “A business model to save the black rhino?” is included in “When Animals Are a Business.”
Terms used by the authors of “Do No Harm” are listed in In the Know. Teachers may wish to review them before reading and discussing the article about medical ethics and athletes. Many of the terms could be used for a look at medical careers associated with sports.
Distinguish Heroes From Role Models
Character Education, English, Physical Education, Reading
Ask students to write a journal entry on the topic of heroes. Topics could include:
I do/do not have heroes. My hero is ____ because. ____ is no longer my hero because. A hero is …. This could be a homework assignment to be shared at the beginning of the next class or an in-class warm-up activity.
Share and discuss student responses. At the conclusion, ask students to list qualities that make someone a hero. For those who removed someone from their list of heroes, what actions or attitudes caused their fall from respect? How many of the heroes are musicians, movie stars, athletes or relatives?
Define “role model.” A working definition might be: a person whose behavior, success and attitudes are to be emulated; a person to be admired; individual to aspire to be like. After discussion, ask students to define "hero."
Give students Fred Bowen’s KidsPost article, “Are sports stars heroes?” Discuss how to distinguish a “hero” from a “role model.” Reading comprehension questions are provided in “Star Athletes as Heroes and Role Models.” The first question will indicate what students have understood of the class discussion of “hero” and “role model.”
Be Fred Bowen
English, Journalism, Physical Education
In March 2013 KidsPost and the Washington Wizards teamed to sponsor an essay contest. The topic: What does it mean to be a successful team? The winning student essay was published in place of the weekly commentary by KidsPost sports columnist Fred Bowen.
Have your students write on the same topic or write on this topic: What position does ethics play in sports?
Students could be asked to share their essays in small groups. After reading all essays, select one from each group to read aloud to the class. Discuss the ideas presented. Your students’ essays could be compared with the winning essays in the KidsPost contest.
Consider Endorsements and Character
Business, Character Education, History, Journalism, Physical Education
Discuss with students what an endorsement is. Ask students to give examples of products and the athletes who endorse the products. How can getting a contract to be a product endorser change an athlete’s circumstances? “Beyond the Games” is an activity to match an athlete with the product he or she endorses. Students might also research what foundations the individuals have founded, such as Cal Ripkins’ Cal Ripkin Sr. Foundation or Darrell Green’s Youth Life Foundation. All of the athletes pictured in this activity could endorse products based on their athletic achievement and their character. In the third column students are to list a product that they think each athlete could endorse successfully.
For older students and teachers with time to explore this topic further, the following suggested Washington Post articles focus on athletes who have excelled and been identified for their recognition value. What happens when the character of the athlete is tarnished, the accomplishments questioned and the ethical breach could carry over to the product they once endorsed? Liz Clark wrote “Steroid-era athletes confront how much they’ve hurt their legacies.” She uses the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s evidence against Lance Armstrong and the news peg of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s voting decisions on the 2013 inductees to write about tarnished heroes in many sports.
This article could be used to compare and contrast with Fred Bowen’s column or as in introduction to the theme of sports role models, Lance Armstrong’s deception, or the business ethics of endorsements. Cindy Boren wrote about the impact of one athlete’s behavior on his endorsements in “Lance Armstrong doping allegations could leave lasting stain on Livestrong” Liz Clark addresses Armstrong’s loss of an endorsement contract from a different angle in “Disgraced Armstrong dropped by Nike.”
The allegations moved to a certainty when Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey in a televised interviewed that he had used banned substances.
• What actions have been taken against him?
• What actions do students think should be taken against athletes who lie, cheat and use performance enhancing products?
• Should their records stand?
• Should they be disqualified for any Hall of Fame recognition?
Endorse Products, Establish Foundations
Business, Economics, Physical Education
Star athletes can earn extra income by endorsing products — wearing, using and promoting the brand. Other athletes focus on helping others by establishing foundations or giving their recognition power to established groups to encourage fans to donate to the cause. Give students "Beyond the Games" worksheet. All of the individuals pictured have received recognition for their athletic abilities. In the middle column, students are to put the products each endorses, the foundations they have founded or the ventures in which they are involved. This could begin by class discussion that is verified online or as an application of online search skills to find the information. In the right column, students are to suggest a product for each athlete to endorse. Students should explain why this is a good pairing.
Meet a Star Athlete
English, Health, History, Journalism, Physical Education
Washington Post Sports columnist Mike Wise introduces his readers to Redskins linebacker London Fletcher in "Redskins linebacker London Fletcher has grown from boy in peril to NFL elder statesman." Wise unveils more than Fletcher’s 15 years in the game, 240 straight games and countless hours dealing with pain that make him a professional and a man to model.
Read and discuss the profile. Give students “Role Models — Ethics in Motion.” Fletcher’s life is part of this activity, but the aim is to annotate Wise’s writing to understand how readers get to know the man. Just as a short story writer, the journalist writing a profile brings his character/subject to life by
• What the character does (actions related, observation)
• What the character says (quotations, interview)
• What the character thinks (quotations, interview, diaries and other writings)
• What others think about the character (interviews)
• How the character relates to others (observation, interview)
Students are asked to read profiles of area athletes. This will give students the opportunity to learn more about the student athletes and the techniques to bring them to life on the page. Teachers may ask students to consider how the reporters got the information they included. Possible profiles of student-athletes include:
• "An immigrant's transition gets a boost with help from the game of baseball," Josh Barr
• "'She is so strong' — Cystic fibrosis can't slow Stone Bridge's Tiernan," James Wagner
• "Separating the myth from DeMatha," Rick Maese and Brandon Parker
The third part of this activity is to write about a student athlete. The interview may be done in the form of a class press conference/interview, in groups or individually.