Tiger Woods Scandal and Ethical Disucssion
Submitted By Racingminnieb
Utilitarianism vs. Deontology, Should Tiger Woods have his contracts reinstated by the companies that dropped him? I will be discussing both of these theories and the positive and negative side of each. I will also tell you my thoughts and how I would answer this question.
The Tiger Woods scandal brings up many questions concerning today’s society and the ethical and moral obligations that celebrities have when companies invest in you in exchange for your endorsement of their products. Although, Tiger Woods may be a great golfer his moral choices have proved to be less than desirable by the masses. According, to the Judeo-Christian values that our country was founded on (Cherry, 2007) adultery is believed to be morally unacceptable and thus makes the basis of the utilitarian approach to this discussion. The utilitarian theory is based on the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. This theory may hold true when speaking of adultery. I agree that adultery is wrong but do Tiger’s personal indiscretions warrant the abandonment of his endorsers. Was Tiger hired on the basis that he lived a moral life or because he is a great golfer? Now that Tiger Woods has made a public apology, does the belief that everyone deserves forgiveness prove to have priority over the condemnation of adultery?
The utilitarian approach determines the greatest priority by the happiness level or consequences it produces. Since your happiness level is greater when influenced by positive behaviors, it is natural to assume the endorsers should reinstate Tiger. But is it realistic. No matter how much I want to believe that everyone in America would forgive and forget, I do know that the majority of people in today’s society are highly influenced by the press and tend to lean to the extreme side when we find that a person has flaws. So, is it ethical to punish someone in their professional life for the indiscretions in their personal life? If you look solely at the fact that our society finds adultery bad and is highly influenced by the press then I would have to say yes. Tiger Woods is a public figure and many adults and children look up to him not only for his professional achievements but the public image that he portrays. Now, let’s discuss the deontological approach to this question.
The deontological approach says that an employer has a duty not interfere with your private life and the employee has the duty to uphold their contractual obligations. This begs the question, was Tiger Woods contractually obligated to live by a higher standard than the rest society? If he did in fact sign a moral clause with his endorsers than no he should not be reinstated. He had the duty to live up to the standards in the contract he signed. However, if the contractual obligation does not exist, does the employer have the duty not to make decisions concerning your professional life based on the choices made in your private life even if the consequences could have a potential negative effect on the company? According to the deontological approach, consequences are not a factor in the decision making process. That being said, the employer/endorser should not have dropped Tiger Woods in the first place. Both the utilitarian and deontological theories are acceptable. But the answer to the question of which is the more appropriate for this situation depends on the personal judgment of the employer and what level of commitment/happiness they are trying to achieve. We have the absolute duty to ensure everyone is treated equally. We live by the theory of do unto others as we would have done to us. Both of these thoughts have negatives and positives it is up to the individual to ensure the positives outweigh the negatives. If Tiger Woods’ endorsers reinstated him there might be a slight backlash from the public but I don’t feel it would have a true effect on the company’s earnings over a long period of time. I tend to believe that it is more important to be able to forgive someone for their mistakes so we can grow and learn. However, I have learned that this approach is not always accepted by the masses and flexibility is the key to success. Therefore, I have concluded that there is no entirely wrong or right answer to this question. Tiger Woods will continue to golf with great success and it is only a matter of time before our society finds a flaw in someone else and we have all forgotten about his indiscretions. After all, Tiger Woods is still a great golfer and will still win championships.
Cherry, R. R. (2007, September 15). American Thinker: The Judeo Christian Values of America. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/09/the_judeochristian_values_of_a.html