Huggins:: Your minor league basketball team has regularly sold out each game, and you expect to sell out again this season.Despite the sellouts, your organization is experiencing a budget crunch and you are under pressure to deliver as much revenue as possible.You also normally set aside 500 tickets for the local Boys & Girls Club.The tickets are given to those children who do well in school (3.0 or higher).The owner of the team suggests that you sell the annual allotment of tickets designated for the Boys & Girls club rather than “just giving them away for nothing”.What would do as team general manager?
To:Sup A. Vyzhor
X-cita-ball: Better Basketball
Re:Our recent ethical / legal situation
Scenario: A player for your league has been accused of sexual assault while the team is playing an away game.
I know it is of utmost importance that I respond to your inquiry regarding the player and the alleged assault that occurred yesterday.I began crafting my response as soon as I received your phone call and I am completing this e-mail first thing this morning.
Our real problem boils down to: is the player guilty of the sexual assault?If he is, our decision is pretty cut and dry: he is terminated immediately.Our players’ code of conduct as well as the players’ contracts stipulate that they can be terminated for cause if there is substantial evidence that they committed a crime.Moreover, the players are absolutely supposed to be on their best behavior AT ALL TIMES.They represent our league and therefore our brand.
The facts so far appear to be this:
1)The players had a party at the team hotel
2)Several fans (mostly young ladies) were invited back to the hotel by several players
3)One of the fans (over the age of 21) became heavily intoxicated on her own
4)The player said he would rent a room for her because she was unable to drive
5)The player stayed in the room with her
6)When she awoke the next morning, both parties were nude and she stated in the police report: “I was sore everywhere and had a huge bruise on my forehead.”
7)Police also photographed bite marks on her forearm
Players Contract / League Code of Conduct
It clearly states in our players’ contracts that accusations of moral turpitude (sexual assault would qualify) are grounds for immediate dismissal from the league.Because all players are employees of the league, we have the right to suspend this player until further investigation or outright terminate his contract.
The relevant passage in the players’ contract says “Any substantial findings of moral turpitude on the part of the employee are grounds for either (1) reprimand; (2) suspension (without pay); (3) termination; and / or (4) legal action for damages.” I am including a copy of the player’s signed contract for your reference (Attachment 1).
Personally, I believe the player has exhibited extremely poor decision-making and placed the league in a precarious position.That alone is grounds for his termination.Moreover, I believe he tried to have the room he rented billed to the league – that in itself is grounds for termination as he does not have the ability to do that and were told that during orientation as well as in the players’ handbook.He has signed both of those documents.(See Attachments 2 & 3)
I have reached out to some colleagues in other basketball leagues and other coaches.90% of them have said “fire this guy and don’t look back.”I am hesitant because we have a young man’s professional career possibly in our hands.That being said, we stress good decision-making from our executives down to our interns.This was a case of extremely poor decisions at a minimum.
(1)Suspend player (with or without pay)
Implications of Each Option
(1)Suspensions – Players would recognize that actions have consequences.This might also prevent the player from filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination.
(2)Termination – This would send a strong message that our players are ambassadors. They are a reflection of our brand and we cannot have them harming / tarnishing our brand.Also, what these players have done does violate their playing contracts.
(3)Warning – Nobody was “harmed” by the incident.It also happened after hours between consenting adults.The player would receive a warning and still be eligible to play.However, they would know that future incidents would lead to a stronger reaction
The Decision and Justification
We have chosen to terminate the player involved.Their decision shows a lack of a strong moral compass. Our players are league & team ambassadors.Their actions send the wrong