Grauer: Pickle from pickleball event
Two Aspen educational organizations, the school district and the Aspen Education Foundation, should re-examine the ethics of using of over $25,000 raised in part by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in a “celebrity pickleball event” this year.
In the election campaign for Pitkin County Sheriff, Joe DiSalvo garnered significant criticism for his business ownership and sales activity in Armstrong’s vodka company.
Now that the public spotlight has been back on Armstrong, the organizations should consider the appropriateness of using his doping notoriety to attract donations for education.
They would do well to use the McCombs School of Business-U.T. Austin case study, “Armstrong’s Doping Downfall,” to consider the ethics of keeping the money. https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/video/armstrongs-doping-downfall
The study’s conclusion: “When people omit ethical considerations from their frame of reference and focus upon only material goals, such as victory and fame, they can make very poor ethical decisions.”
Improper ethical framing applies to Lance and the education foundation, which made a flawed decision to use him as a fund-raising attraction, without considering the confounding message it sends to students, parents, and educators.
Everyone deserves a second chance, but Armstrong, in a 2015 TV interview, said he did nothing wrong when he cheated, lied, and doped to win the Tour de France seven times. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reported, “He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team; he enforced and re-enforced it.”
Ethics requires the education foundation to return event proceeds to the generous donors.