How Personal is too Personal?

UK Sport, which is the body who oversees funding for British Olympic and Paralympic athletes, has warned its athletes against, “attending a lap dancing or strip club regardless of gender” and had placed this new policy on their list of unacceptable behaviours.   If athletes were caught doing this, they would loose their funding. Now the question that I will raise is, is it fair that athletes can be held to policies in regards to what they can and cannot due in their personal lives and be reprimanded on those basis?

On one side, athletes are being funded by this body to perform as athletes and to represent the British Olympics and Paralympics.  This means that these athletes are being recognized in the media and they are responsible for acting in a respectful manner as they are representing UK Sport. Anything these athletes do that is not responsible can create a bad image for the British Olympics and Paralympics and going to a strip club could put athletes in a position where they do not uphold an image that UK Sport supports.  In addition, these athletes are intended to be role models and attending a strip club does not uphold such morals that would necessarily be a good model for younger fans.

However, to look at it another way, these athletes are being funded to be athletes not to sign their entire personal lives away.  Whatever an athletes chooses to do in their free time, should be their own choice and their careers should not have to suffer as long as they are not doing anything illegal.  They should not be threatened to have their funding being taken away because of legal actions they choose to do in their free time and a policy like this is infringing on an athletes personal freedoms and rights.

Considering both sides of the argument, I would tend to agree that this type of policy would be infringing on an athletes personal choices and freedoms.  Theses athletes are humans too and what they choose to do in their free time should be their choice as long as it is legal.  Going to strip clubs is a legal action, and therefore, I believe that these athletes should not have to follow a policy like this.

This policy was recently dropped by UK Sports.  What are your opinions on the subject? Should athletes have to follow a policy that controls their personal lives? Do you think that this policy should have remained in tact or do you believe it was a good decision to drop this policy?

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3 Responses to How Personal is too Personal?

  1. devongribble says:

    I completely agree. While these athletes are role models, it would be unethical to place such a rule on them. They have personal lives and as long as their actions outside of sports are legal there should be no punishment. If an athlete were to get into an altercation or be involved in something that would lead to negative press then something should be done about that. In addition, if an athlete is going to strip clubs it’s not like it’s a front page story in the paper. Take Tiger Woods for instane, he had been attending strip clubs for quite some time, but that was not in the media until his affairs were revealed.

  2. mmorello11 says:

    I completely agree with you that it isn’t fair that these athletes are being placed under a microscope SO much so that even their personal lives are being dictated. If the activity they want to engage in- such as a strip club- is legal than I don’t see how the committee can try to control your actions in this sense. If it is illegal activity- like you stated, than yes it makes sense that they can threaten to take away the funding, however I do not feel it is fair. I think it was a good idea that the policy was dropped because it’s just a little ridiculous to me that they think they can act and dictate every little action on behalf of the athletes. They dedicate their lives to training and getting to where they are, let them blow of a little steam every once in awhile without having to worry about the implications it would have on their sport life.

  3. bozceko13 says:

    This is one of the most ridiculous rules I have seen, there is absolutely no way that any organization can impose something like this on people. I could understand if these athletes were all going out to the strip clubs and blowing coke and abusing the dancers, then it is reasonable to ban them from such activities. Going to a strip club is not illegal and maybe it is a way for some athletes to relax and unwind and like mmorello11 said it is crazy to think that they can dictate every little action the athlete takes. Personally, I would be offended if I was told that I couldn’t do something that is legal and open to everyone, somebody really needs to step in and take a stand because it starts with taking away something like this but where does it stop, are they going to say that athletes can’t be intimate while at competition? Personal things should be left out of the sport and while the athletes are not on the competition or practice floor they should be allowed to do anything they want.

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