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Stacy Danley: What are the Four Virtues of Sportsmanship?

Sportsmanship is widely considered an ethical approach to athletics. Through sportsmanship, healthy competition is seen as cultivating personal honor, virtue, and character. It contributes to a community where trust and respect exist between competitors and society. Sportsmanship is not all about winning but pursuing victory with honor by giving your best effort.

Here are the four virtues of sportsmanship, as shared by Stacy Danley.


This virtue of sportsmanship means that athletes should show respect for teammates and opponents, as well as coaches and officials. Coaches should likewise respect their players, opponents, and officials. Fans, especially the parents of athletes, must show respect for other fans, teams, and officials.


Any athlete who looks to gain an advantage over their opponent by means of a skill that the sport or game itself was not designed to test exhibits a lack of personal integrity. It also violates the game’s integrity and is considered unsportsmanlike, says Stacy Danley.

For instance, when a player fakes an injury or a foul during a soccer match, they are not acting in a sportsmanlike manner since the game is not designed to measure an athlete’s ability to flop. Faking is used to intentionally deceive a referee into making a bad call, damaging the credibility of the officiating and the integrity of the game.

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Fairness as a virtue of sportsmanship means that all athletes and coaches have to follow established rules and guidelines in their sport. Teams that look for an unfair competitive advantage over their opponents create an uneven playing field, which violates the integrity of the sport.

Fairness also means that athletes and coaches are not discriminated against. They are not excluded from participating in a sport based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other factor. Referees are also required to apply the rules equally to both teams and all competitors and cannot show bias or personal interest while doing their job, explains Stacy Danley.


To be sportsmanlike, players and coaches have to take responsibility for their performance and actions on the field. It includes their emotions.

A lot of times, athletes and coaches make excuses for losing the game. One of the most popular excuses is to blame the referees. The honorable thing to do instead is to examine closely the aspects of the game that you can control. It includes your performance. You also should be able to question yourself about where and what you could have done better.

Stacy Danley adds that responsibility also requires that players and coaches be updated on all the rules and regulations governing their sport. This virtue demands that players and coaches be honorable off and off the field.

Stacy Danley is the President and CEO of SLD Sports Management Group, a premiere management consulting, sports, and special event marketing and management company specializing in providing quality event management corporate consulting, strategic planning, fund-raising, new business development, sales, and corporate marketing. For more posts from Stacy Danley, follow this site.

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