Michael Josephson often says that an ethical person does more than the law requires and less than the law allows. In other words, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. To what extent does that apply to athletics? More specifically, what are we to make of this trick play executed during a middle-school football game in Texas?
Driscoll Middle School was down 0-6 in the city championship game against Wynne Seale when Driscoll’s quarterback and coach feigned confusion, and the quarterback pretended to take the ball to move it ahead a few yards. As soon as he was past the linebackers, he took off running and scored a touchdown.
Time ran out with the game tied, and due to weird middle school football rules, Wynne Seale won the championship because their offense penetrated Driscoll’s 20-yard line twice and Driscoll only got through Wynne Seale’s 20 once.
The trick play didn’t yield a victory, but what did it do?
As Bob Reno at Badjocks.com points out:
[Y]ou have to wonder what this teaches the young players . . . on both teams. That if you have a coach who understands the rules better than the other coach that you can win? That being sneaky is better than working hard and being good at what you do? Or that you have to be a student of the game and take the risk of knocking the crap out of an opposing quarterback who looks like he’s doing something unusual even if it means you might get penalized?
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