Is Profitability Driving the Severity of Punishment of Professional Athletes?

Date of Award


Degree Type

Archival Copy

First Advisor

Laura Lamontagne


Athletes and coaches both in professional sports and the NCAA often find themselves in legal trouble. Some coaches and players suffer extreme consequences, including banishment from their respective leagues, while others bear no burden. The question that emerges is what allows management to appropriate varying degrees of punishment in comparable offenses. The answer can be found by examining viewership and consumer demand for professional athletics. The more talented the player or coach, the more valuable he is to his respective team and league. Value here refers to how profitable the player makes his/her organization or program. Management seems increasing likely to turn a blind eye to past offenses if the profit potential outweighs the backlash. While it can be easily argued that this is morally wrong on the part of management, the viewer is the one driving the demand and consciously ignoring the character of players and coaches being watched, begging the question is the viewer just as morally wrong? It is a fact that some players and coaches suffer less major consequences for comparable offenses and it seems management acts in this way because some players are quite frankly just more profitable than others.

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