This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Good athleticism can instill great morals that last a lifetime. Values such as teamwork, integrity, and respect are all critical for athletic success but can also be transferred to any other aspect of life. 

Unfortunately, not all athletes perform with a sense of morality or integrity. This has caused many controversies and problems within the athletics industry in recent years. So how can we instill morality in athletes to diminish this problem? Read on to learn more about what causes athletes to act immorally and which morals are essential for authentic athletic success. 

What Causes Athletes To Act Immorally?

Instilling morality in athletes is an industry-wide effort. For example, when many athletes are caught using performance-enhancing drugs or cheating in a match, the issue is usually much larger than just the athletes themselves. Therefore, training moral athletes is not just the responsibility of the athlete themself; it is the responsibility of everyone involved in the training and support of the athlete. 

The main factor that causes immoral actions is that many athletes believe they can get away with it. Maybe they think that their teammates will just look the other way or that they are too successful to be reprimanded for their actions. Whatever the case, few athletes would cheat or lie in this industry if they thought they would get caught. This can point to a lack of morals teamwide or issues throughout the entire industry. 

Another major factor is how the athletes were raised and trained. If the athlete had parents or coaches that did not care much for morals and only pushed them to win at all costs, then the athlete would be more likely to resort to any measure to achieve success. Conversely, athletes who are raised to perform ethically are more likely to keep their sense of morals and values when making it to the big leagues. 

And finally, a grandiose sense of self or individuality is also at play with this problem. In team sports, some players tend to attract more fame and appeal than others. The fame can get to their heads, and they may believe that they are beyond reproach or can do whatever they want. Instead of focusing on the team, they care only about their performance and how people perceive them. This issue can be worsened by pressures from the coach or even the media. Therefore, these athletes may be more likely to cheat or act immorally to stay ahead and famous. 

Important Morals For Athletes

In order for the world of sports to continue without scandal, athletes need to play their games fairly and morally. But which morals are most important in the world of sports? To play morally, athletes should have a solid sense of teamwork, respect, fairness, integrity, and responsibility. 


Many athletes violate moral codes because they focus only on themselves. They do whatever they can to make the sport work for them and don’t consider how their actions affect their team. Therefore, a sense of team spirit and teamwork must be instilled so that athletes understand that they are part of a vital community. Everyone has a role to play and shouldn’t step above that role to gain more fame and recognition. The team comes first, not the individual. 


Respect is necessary for good teamwork. There should be respect amongst everyone involved in the industry, including athletes, coaches, referees, fans, and commentators. Respect is the foundation for good moral behavior. Without respect, there will be far too much temptation to break the other morals on this list. 


Fairness is respecting that the rules and guidelines apply to all athletes and players. No one is exempt from these guidelines or above them in any way. Therefore athletes should be taught early on that they are equal to their teammates and opponents no matter how much success and fame they achieve. 

Furthermore, no team, coach, or any other person in the industry should discriminate or exclude players based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. Anyone with the skill and hard work should be allowed to play the game. 


Integrity means that all athletes play without breaking morals or being deceitful. That means they don’t use performance-enhancing drugs, fake injuries, tamper with equipment, or cheat to get ahead. As with fairness, athletes should remain on the same playing level as everyone else and not do anything to give them an unfair advantage. 


All athletes and coaches must take responsibility for their actions in a game. This includes emotions, mistakes, and bad judgments. Many athletes and coaches will blame others instead of seeing where they went wrong. However, this blame game doesn’t help anyone and only causes unnecessary tension and drama. Athletes must take responsibility for their actions and take control of themselves to avoid the same mistakes in the future. 

Final Thoughts

Morality is crucial to keep sports entertaining and essential. When athletes break moral codes and cheat to get to the top, the sport isn’t enjoyable anymore for either the athletes or the fans. It also is a huge break of trust that is very hard to rebuild. However, by instilling the morals of teamwork, respect, fairness, integrity, and responsibility early on, sports can continue to entertain without being tainted by scandal. 

If you’re interested in learning more about morality, you can find more information here