Ethical codes in sports organizations:


New England Patriots Press Release:  Allegations of videotaping opposing teams

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In the recent past, allegations have been made public about our team’s involvement in spying on opposition teams to gain an advantage over them. In the said allegations, our team’s scouting department spied on and videotaped an unnamed number of teams in what has now come to be referred to as Spygate (The Guardian, 2015). These allegations question the integrity of our team and our sportsmanship. Since these accusations got public, we have received thousands of inquiries from our stakeholders, from fans to partners and from shareholders to regulatory authorities. We want to respond as follows:

New England Patriots is a professional sporting organization that strives to adhere to the highest standards of ethical behavior, both on the pitch and off the pitch. We have internal rules that guide all people who work with us. Besides, we appreciate that some regulatory practices and cultures guide the sport and with which we are bound (De Waegeneer et al., 2017). As the leading sporting organization in this discipline, we must be the last to break the rules since we are expected to lead by example in all aspects of the sport. Thus, we were deeply hurt as an organization when allegations of spying and videotaping opposition teams were revealed. 

Upon receiving these allegations, we undertook an internal investigation to establish the veracity of the allegations and determine the depth of the practice, if at all the allegations were true, and how long the practice has been going on. We regret to accept that the allegations of the practice of spying on and videotaping opposition teams are true. We have established that some of our officials in the scouting department have been colluding with some officials in the coaching teams to get information on the tactics and formations of opposing teams without regard to the rules of the game (Davis, 2015). Besides, these officials acted in blatant disregard of the internal rules. 

We want to offer a public apology to all our stakeholders, including but not limited to our fans, competitors, partners, shareholders, and the regulatory authorities. These actions do not represent who we are, and we do not associate with them or endorse them in any way. We appreciate the adverse effects of the integrity of the sport. We want to reiterate that we are committed to promoting the highest standards of professionalism as an organization. 

 To prevent the occurrence of similar practices in the future, the organization has adopted a raft of measures. Firstly, we have enhanced our internal control mechanisms to enforce internal and external regulatory practices compliance. Our investigations established that we do not have strong internal controls and these weaknesses provided loopholes that the officials exploited. Secondly, we have undertaken a fresh training to all employees on ethical behavior that form the basis of our activities. We have realized that many of the employees do not know the ethical practice standards set by the organization. Additionally, we have required all employees to express their commitment to organizational and regulatory codes of conduct in writing. Finally, we demanded a written apology and a commitment not to repeat the offenses by the culprits. While appreciating that it might have been attractive and appropriate to terminate the services of the culprits, we appreciate their remorse and long-time loyal service to the organization. Just like everyone else, they deserved a second chance, and we granted it to them. 







Davis, S. (2015). Bombshell ESPN report says Patriots’ ‘Spygate’ scandal was way worse than people realized. Retrieved from com/espn-report-patriots-spygate-scandal-2015-9?r=US&IR=T”>

De Waegeneer, E., Devisch, I., & Willem, A. (2017). Ethical codes in sports organizations: An empirical study on determinants of effectiveness. Ethics & behavior27(4), 261-282.

The Guardian. (2015). Report: Patriots spied on rivals 40 times and stole play sheets from locker rooms. Retrieved from

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