Australia’s Cricket team and Cricket Australia need to deeply reflect on their values and commit to them publicly if they want to restore trust in the sport after the recent ball-tampering scandal according to Griffith University Professor Charles Sampford.
Professor Sampford is a leading public figure on ethics and public integrity with years of research experience as Griffith University’s Foundation Dean of Law. He also convenes the Integrity20 roundtables, a public forum delving into key issues raised by the Integrity20 keynotes.
Professor Sampford, in an article first published on Australian Leadership, says this is a turning point for the sport and that Cricket Australia and the players should be prepared to ask tough questions and prepare for a long and difficult road ahead.
“Given the admission that the Cricket Australia leadership group planned this in advance and decided which player would commit the act, the questions about the integrity of the captain and the leadership group cannot only be rhetorical ones,” he says.
“Building a culture of ethical behaviour on and off the field takes more than just owning up to mistakes, especially when caught in the act.
“Owning up to wrongdoing is to be encouraged, but doing so after damning video evidence hardly excuses the actions of the Australian cricket team or tackles the core issues of ethics and integrity.”
Professor Sampford says acting ethically and competing with integrity needs to come first and be demonstrated by the players, coaches and everyone involved in the sport.
“The first person you cheat is yourself, because you are not the person you have represented yourself to be – to yourself and the world, for both individuals and organisations,” says Charles.
Charles cautions winning money and fame should not come at the expense of playing within the spirit of the game and an athlete’s reputation depends on more than their skill and ability to win.
“Sir Donald Bradman famously said: I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his or her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty,” says Charles.