Montgomery Village, Md., Nov. 30, 2010 — On Saturday, November 20th, the Maryland Terrapins played the Florida State Seminoles. The game was quite entertaining; The Terps were holding their own against a team that they were supposed to lose to - by a lot.
However with little time left on the clock, the game had still not been decided leaving one particular play very important to the final outcome.
With about 10 minutes left in the game, a pass from the Terps quarterback O’Brian was ‘apparently’ intercepted by a defensive player for Florida State. The call in the field was an interception and the Seminole players came up to the line quickly to prevent a review of the play.
This alerted the officials and they stopped the game to take another look.
The stoppage of action allowed experts at ESPN and ABC to view the event from several angles. After showing these frames, the conclusion of the sportscasters and any biased or unbiased watcher was that the defender had dropped the ball making the interception null.
However, the defensive player that made that play, had left the field with a smile on his face. Before the officials review, could that grin have been interpreted as if he had gotten away with something. He knew he dropped the ball.
The replay was interpreted by the referee as not being conclusive and the interception was affirmed. To everyone watching and even the players and coaches on the ‘Noles side line it was a surprise; the play gave the ball to the visiting team.
It was as if they had won the lottery, and they broke out in wide smiles, especially the young man that had “intercepted” the ball.
In the next series Maryland was able to stop the opposing team and forced them to punt. However, the ball hit the back of a Maryland player and was recovered by Florida State.
They scored in a few plays and went on to win the game. Chances are that Florida State would have won the game in any case.
After the game, in a moment of relaxation, I started thinking about why I was so upset about the final results of the game. After all, it was just a game and the young men participating will have other games to even out their football careers.
Pondering some more, it was obvious that the game’s outcome was like acceptance that it was OK to cheat to accomplish a goal; this was giving me problems.
Is it acceptable to teach that as long as one wins, the details shouldn’t be analyzed? This is what the coach was in fact teaching his players. This is what we called the eternal question that we tried to resolve in Ethics in High School and College: Does the end justify the means?
It was pretty obvious to me, by the attitude and actions on the Florida State side line, that they knew the defender had not intercepted the ball. This knowledge didn’t stop the coach from either trying to run a play and short circuit a review or acknowledging that the call had been wrong.
This was the time for Coach Fisher to take the high road and acknowledge that the call had been wrong. I would like to think that if the situation had been reversed, Coach Fridgen would have acknowledged the obvious mistake.
I remember when, as a young man, learning recent history of the world, my Catholic School teacher emphasized over and over again that the communist gains in the world had been made using the philosophy that the end justified the means. To him this was unethical and the wrong way to obtain gains.
At that time we all believed that our country was moral and took the high road, or at least this is the way it appeared.
Extrapolating to more important subjects in the present, this is the attitude that ex President Bush exhibited when asked about his authorization of torture to obtain information from terrorist and presumed terrorist.
His response didn’t leave any doubt that he also believed that the end justifies the means.
Have we changed so much, or maybe we never really believed in ethics and morality as long as an acceptable end was gotten?
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.