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In an era when our nightly news is filled with reports of athletes run amok on the field, on the court, and on the street, and when cheating by players and coaches has become a part of the daily discourse, sportsmanship has never been a more timely topic.
According to a national survey of high school athletes conducted by the Josephson Institute,
40% of boys surveyed and 25% of girls surveyed see nothing wrong with using a stolen playbook sent by an anonymous supporter before a big game;
54% of male football players, 49% of male basketball players, and 18% of females in all sports approve of trash talking; and
34% of boys surveyed and 12% of girls surveyed approve of a coach trying to pump up the team by swearing at officials to get ejected from the game.
These statistics illustrate the importance of clarifying the boundaries of healthy competition and modeling the principles of fair play. Sport and Character: Reclaiming the Principles of Sportsmanship can help those involved in sport tackle the important lessons of sportsmanship by encouraging them to practice and teach respect for opponents, coaches, officials, teammates, and the game.
Using examples from common situations that occur on and off the field, Sport and Character brings to life what is required in order to be a good sport. Special “News Breaks” incorporated throughout the text present practical examples of sportsmanship drawn from current sport news, including articles about Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Jimmy Rollins, and Nastia Liukin. Inspirational quotes by Phil Jackson, John Wooden, and Mickey Mantle add vitality to this tool for building good athletes and in turn good citizens.
Sport and Character: Reclaiming the Principles of Sportsmanship is endorsed by the American Sport Education Program (ASEP). Established by world-renowned sport psychologist Rainer Martens, ASEP has trained more than 1.5 million coaches since its inception in 1981.
Part I Thinking About Sportsmanship Chapter 1 Reflecting on Your Own Experience Chapter 2 Sportsmanship and the Nature of Sport
Part II The Principles of Sportsmanship Chapter 3 Respect for Opponents Chapter 4 Respect for Teammates and Team Chapter 5 Respect for Officials Chapter 6 Respect for the Game Chapter 7 Respect Between Players and Coach
Part III Thinking About Sport and Life Chapter 8 Sport, Society, and Education Chapter 9 Beyond Sport
Craig Clifford is professor of philosophy and director of the
honors programs at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.
Clifford received a PhD in philosophy from the State University of New
York at Buffalo in 1981. He has an extensive background in teaching
ethics and philosophy of sport, both at the undergraduate and graduate
A frequent guest columnist for several major newspapers, Clifford has
frequently written on the subject of sportsmanship and the American
sports culture. He is also the author of Learned Ignorance in the
Medicine Bow Mountains: A Reflection on Intellectual Prejudice (Rodopi,
2008), The Tenure of Phil Wisdom: Dialogues (University Press of
America, 1995), and In the Deep Heart’s Core: Reflections on Life,
Letters, and Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 1985).
From 1988 to 1992 Clifford coached the men’s and women’s tennis teams at
Tarleton State University. He has competed in a number of sports. Taking
up the sport of Olympic-style target archery in his mid-40s, he won the
state outdoor archery championship in 1997 and finished the 1999 season
ranked 26th in the nation.
Randolph Feezell is professor of philosophy at Creighton
University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Feezell received a PhD in philosophy from the State University of New
York at Buffalo in 1977. He is an award-winning teacher at Creighton
University; his classroom and research interests include ethics,
philosophy of religion, and philosophy of sport. He is a member of the
editorial board of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport.
Feezell is the author of Sport, Play, and Ethical Reflection
(University of Illinois Press, 2004) and Faith, Freedom, and Value:
Introductory Philosophical Dialogues (Westview Press, 1989). He is
the coauthor, with Curtis Hancock, of How Should I Live?
Philosophical Conversations About Moral Life (Paragon House, 1991).
He has also published numerous articles and reviews.
Feezell played baseball at the University of Oklahoma. He has coached
baseball at virtually all levels, including over 10 years as a college
assistant and hitting coach. He has played semiprofessional baseball,
AAU basketball, and tournament tennis.
“Randolph Feezell is, as I see things, quite simply the most engaging
writer in philosophy of sport. His contributions to virtue ethics,
especially regarding the virtue of sportsmanship, should be read by
everyone who is interested in the moral character of contemporary
athletes, coaches, and fans.”
Daniel A. Dombrowski
Professor of Philosophy
“Sport and Character addresses the key reason athletic competition is
relevant and important—the development of sound character through
competitive sports. This book provides a good look at the reasons for
our national decline in sportsmanship and ways we can restore
time-honored principles dedicated to character development through