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Ethics Blog #4

Ethics Issues are the Center of Sports Controversies 

New report claims that Lance Armstrong again is linked to performance-enhancing drugs; golfer disqualified for exceedingly minor infraction says rules are rules; National Hockey League considers tougher rules to prevent head injuries

Ethics played a role in several stories from last week’s sports file.

Sports Illustrated

Golfing star Padraig Harrington was disqualified from the Abu Dhabi Championship in the opening round of the European Tour after failing to do what’s generally expected of golfers — call a penalty on himself even if the infraction is minor and doesn’t advance his position. CNN reports that video shows that while picking up his ball marker on the green, Harrington brushed the ball, moving it forward almost microscopically. Harrington said he was aware he had brushed the ball but thought it "had just oscillated and had not moved," so he continued on. Referee Andy McFee said: "It’s a minute movement, but it’s a movement and he never replaced it, so he should have included a two-stroke penalty. Because he signed for a score lower than actually taken, the penalty is disqualification." Harrington said he would accept the ruling, reports CNN, and praised the sport for the strict nature of its rules.

The National Hockey League is being pressured to change its rules to cut down on the potential for head injury, reports Toronto’s Globe & Mail. Sources tell the paper that a recent concussion suffered by Pittsburgh Penguins standout Sidney Crosby has motivated some to note that while the NHL penalizes even accidental high-sticking, it allows checks to the head. Recent advances in neurological diagnostic tools have indicated that concussions carry far more serious, long-term, and insidious consequences than previously believed, according to the report.

Accused cyclist Lance Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs during his reign as Tour de France champion and of attempting to convince his teammates to use them, too. According to the Week and National Public Radio, Armstrong, who is the focus of a grand jury investigation in California, denies the story, saying he has "nothing to worry about on any level." Allegations of doping have dogged cycling in the past decade, with several stars of premier races admitting the use of performance-enhancing substances and sponsors becoming wary of tainted events.

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