Sportsmanship and Gamesmanship in Basketball and Football

Physical education

Sportsmanship and Gamesmanship in Basketball and Football


Sportsmanship comprises of ethical morals that govern the manner in which the different players behave during sports. The paper looks into sportsmanship in both football and basketball sports. Also, it addresses the manner in which the sports are conducted and the psychic income that sportsmanship generates to individuals and societies. Football is a sport that is common around the globe. “It involves two teams of 11 players each tossing around an inflated ball towards the opponent’s goal post (McIntosh, 2010). Football sportsmanship stipulates the rules lay out to outline the set of morals expected of both the players and the coach (Morgan,2018). The rules help in cultivating ethical morals among the players. Often, the values that players acquire in the course of participating in the sport go a long way in governing their daily behavior. According to Morgan (2018), sportsmanship can either be viewed as a moral perfection or minimum morals. Each sportsman should live out the ethical ideals of sportsmanship during games and in the daily lives.

Basketball is a choice sport among many college and high school students. Unlike Football, Basketball involves a team of four or three players who dribble the inflated ball while making passes aiming to shoot into the opponent’s basket.  Sportsmanship in basketball is correlated to avoiding fouls during and after the game (Anderson and Pierce. 2009). In contrast to football where the behavior is inculcated as morals are adhered to, basketball sportsmanship is on what ones avoids doing in the course of the game. Some behavior traits such as technical fouls do not need to be directed to anyone. It might be a subtle facial expression in reaction to an official’s decision. Often times Basketball is viewed as an elite game in comparison to football.

Sports playing

Football is a game that contains two teams, each having eleven players tossing around an inflated ball towards the opponent’s side.  Football consists of four, fifteen minutes quarters. McIntosh, (2010) states that after every second quarter the teams take halftime break. The breaks allow the players to rest and the bands play. If played live on television, the breaks help in airing the various commercials. Ideally the whole game should take about forty minutes but some teams take more depending on the number of actions in the sports field.  The start of the football game is signaled through a kickoff from a referee. The recipients of the ball shall play offense through trying to move the ball at least ten yards from its position. Movement is mainly through passes made to various teammates. A team playing offense that fails to move the ball at least for ten yards, puts the ball down the field ”punts” and  lets the opponent’s  team play offense.

 Immediately a kick-off starts the offense may hold the ball for as long as it is making the first downs.  The ball should be snapped in the right place. Failure to do so penalizes the offense into five yards and must repeat the downs (McIntosh, 2010).  The opponent’s team main aim is to receive the ball and run into it to the offense goal post. Touchdowns earn teams points.. Due to the nature of the game, the players are adorned in protective gear. The uniforms contain a jersey, helmet, shoulder, knee, and thigh pads, and cleats.             The Jersey is usually the team’s uniform. Sportsmanship in football relates to the ethical behavior portrayed during the sport to teammates, opponents and the spectators.  Abad (2010), states that a set of true elements of sportsmanship is narrowed into four elements, fairness, equity, the will to win, and good form. The sportsmanship has the positive influence in improve social relations beyond the playground.

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            Basketball comprises of two opponents teams containing of five players each. Its name was acquired from the ball and basket used during the game.  The first team to receive the ball plays offense and usually dribbles the ball while making passes aiming at scoring in the opponent’s basket (Carr, 2017).  Mostly the scoring is through either slow deliberate attacks or a first attack on the opponent.  The opposing team plays defense. It may choose to oppose the game at individual levels or as a team. Team defense occurs while blocking out a specific area. The main objective of the defensive team is trying to take the ball away from the opposing team. Unlike football the breaks during basketball games occur during a dead ball. Each of the team, as well as the coach may request for a time out in a span of eight minutes. In contrast to football, Basketball has many fouls which impact sportsmanship negatively.  Pushing, tripping, body contact and holding are some of the main personal fouls (Carr, 2017).  Any player having the fifth foul is automatically disqualified from the game. Interestingly, basketball rules awards the players that was on the receiving ends of the fouls. Basketball field is more detailed than football field. It usually consists of a highly polished floor when played indoors or a cemented court when the game is played outside.

Fairness in Basketball and Football Games

             Fair play is closely related to the ethics of sportsmanship since it entails following the set code of conduct whilst playing.  Some players engage in ways that are not out rightly illegal to win games. The sports coaches and referees rely on the set rules to ascertain the outcome of the game fairly. In sporting activities, fairness entails the manner in which the basic rules of a game are used in the determination of a winner (Brown and Baines, 2015). Fairness considers the aspect of uniform play side for each team.  In Football, often the referee comes into trouble with the spectators and players in decision making affecting the players. In an endeavor to boost the fairness in the game, football organizations such as FIFA are advocating for the use of technology by referees (Jordaan, and  Surujlal, 2013).. According to Brown and Baines, (2019), technology helps determines the exact location where a foul occurred and whether the ball crossed a particular line for it to be determined as a goal.  Goal Line technology involving the use of sensors in the goal posts and the ball was used in the 2014 world cup in Brazil (Brown and Baines, 2019). Immediately the ball gets into the post the sensors make the magnetic field to change its color.

            In Basketball, Fair play means that proper behavior is manifested by players in the course of the game. Also, Fair play involves attendance to practice sessions and maintaining the right attitude during the games (Koryahin et al, 2018).  Unlike in football fairness in Basketball involves both the players and the coach during and before the start of the game.  Several coaches may differ on what is termed as a foul and what is not a foul (Anderson and Pierce, 2009). As such, fairness may vary from one match to another. Lack of biasness in the officiating officials serves in making a game fairer (Abad, 2010). Therefore, football is a more fair game as opposed to basketball as rules governing fair play are not static. The moral behavior of the basketball players are not governed strictly as football players are.

Fairness in sporting activities involves the actions taken to different players regardless of race or tribe. In professional football, there have been cases where players have signed contracts for specific clubs without fully understanding the details (Brown and Baines, 2019). In such cases, fair play entails the football clubs to breakdown the contract details for the players to fully understand what each contract means. Carr (2017) states that the fairness in basketball may include the appropriateness and proper play the player manifests.  Unlike in football, fair play in Basketball players may entail the number that a player is picked out as performing a foul. African- American players enrolled in Basketball clubs might suffer discrimination in terms of fouls committed (Anderson and Pierce 2009). Fairness in sporting activities might be brought forth through the differential pay to the players. An English club may pay a native player higher salaries as compared to foreign players from third world countries.


             In sports rivalry is similar to sports war.  Reams and Eddy (2017), states that rivalry among opposing teams often arise due to strained relationships.  In Basketball and football, team rivalry may stem out of annual sporting competition. A team may be playing against a specific team for a while. Therefore, it becomes definite that the winner is among the two teams playing.  Fans impact greatly on the rivalry among two teams. The jeering of players and chanting’s serving as a demonstration of the ongoing rivalry among two sides.  Brandt et al (2017), brings out football rivalry in the context of international matches. Rivals from a common region (such as USA) may join up in chanting against a common enemy.  Rivalry may extend beyond sports (Brandt et al, 2017). Specific football rivals may dictate the nature of national politics.

            In Basketball rivalry has contrary to football rivalry increased unethical behavior (Kilduff et at, 2016).   However, when teams are playing against non-rivals, their moral behaviors should be at its best. Basketball rivalry similar to much competition arises after a series of interactions with the opposing teams.  Players aim at becoming super teams so as to win championship medals.  Unlike football, the rivalry is often exhibited among individual team of players.  The number of fouls that players within a team are acquitted with is a reflection of the bitter rivalry among the two teams. Unlike football basketball players often exhibit gamesmanship over sportsmanship. The players look out for the best way of winning championships in unethical ways. Football players often exhibit sportsmanship in playing within the games set of conduct.

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Psychic income

Sportsmanship has a great impact to social interactions in terms of improved moral behavior (Keating, 2017).  Manners have always been emphasized in the concept of civilization. Sports became a major leisure activity in civilized societies. As such, the psychic income was not only to individual players but to the society at large. Sportsmanship helps in molding the behavior of players which then impacts the society where the matches are played (Goksel,  and Zorba2017).  Ethical behavior impacts societies as people emulate the players and thus live within the tenets of good moral behaviors.  Football has emphasized sportsmanship among the players. Aspects such as handshaking have served in bringing the hardness between the two set of players. Gamesmanship involving use of illegal ways to win matches is highly discouraged.  In the contrary, Basketball has been labeled as a rough game due to the fouls exhibited in pursuit of the championship win.  Gamesmanship is often applied in basketball games as players seek all means possible to win matches.  Gamesmanship increases unethical morals as players seek all means possible to win games as long as they are not illegal means (Lenhart, 2019). Therefore, societies where basketball games are played might not benefit from the positive social impacts.


 Sportsmanship greatly impacts the social behavior of players and societies.  Football advocates sportsmanship through a set of conduct where players must adhere to it. Fairness is advocated through embracing technological means to eliminate any kind of biasness towards a particular team. Still, racial discrimination against foreign players is eminent among some of the English clubs. In Basketball gamesmanship is exhibited as players seek all ways possible to win matches as long as they are not illegal. The conduct of basketball games may be biased towards a certain team as coaches may point out fouls on a certain player and rule out the fouls in a different player.  Rivalry among teammates may lead to unethical behavior in basketball players. In conclusion, football due to its advocacy is a more fair and ethical game as opposed to basketball. The football players greatly impact societies where the teams hail from and  where matches are played. Lack of definite restrictions in Basketball coaches while conducting the  games eventually causes gamesmanship to take root leading to unethical behavior among the players.  


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