Morality In Sports

Morality In Sports.  Do sports teach good moral character? This is one of the controversial questions on the forefront of ethics debates and studies today. According to the book, Sports: Why People Love Them!, a sport is defined as an institutionalized, structured competitive activity beyond the realm of play that involves physical exertion and/or the use of complex athletic skills (Delaney & Madigan, 2009). One of the most important aspects in sports aside from talent and teamwork is sportsmanship. If a person follows the rules and regulations, and is respectful throughout the game, that person is thought of as a “good sport.” When it comes to rules and regulations, morality becomes open for interpretation. It is up to the player whether he/she wants to mold their moral principles in each situation that occurs on the field or the court. For example, a person is playing for the home team in a soccer game against the biggest rival team in the area. The score is 1-1 nearing the end of the game, and everything is at stake. When the player dribbles into the opponents’ goal box, he is nudged by a rival defender and dives to get a call. There is only seconds left and the referee calls a penalty kick, which sets the home team up to win the game. Should the player admit it was a dive or take advantage of this incredible opportunity? This is when the goal of the game interferes with a player’s morality. The player should correct the referee however he will most likely ignore that idea completely. The desire to win often governs above all else and influences athletes to ignore the rules and behavioral code of the game. After having played and watched sports for 15 years now, it is evident that sports do not teach good moral character.

The beginning of sports dates back thousands of years ago to the Ancient Olympics in 776 B.C. Over time, sports have become a tradition and with that tradition comes a long history of bad morality, namely cheating. There have been numerous accounts of cheating in various sports in the past. For example, in the WPS World Cup Final, Briana Scurry, the U.S. goalie, came two yards off her line before the ball was kicked in the final penalty shoot-out. In soccer, the rules state that the goalie can only move laterally on the goal line until the ball is kicked. Scurry’s unfair advantage allowed her to save the ball and win the world cup championship for the U.S. Her action left the Chinese traveling home empty-handed and the U.S. team basking in a morally tarnished glory (Simon, 2004). Another example was during the 1986 FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final. Diego Maradona was going up for a head ball in the final seconds of the game. He knew that he could not head the ball so he disguised a header and actually punched the ball into the back of the net to win the game. The referee failed to see this devious action and confirmed it as a score. This incident was coined the “Hand of God.” Twenty years later, Maradona was interviewed and admitted that he did in fact punch the ball in the net. Even to this day, English fans are bitter over that unethical play (Delaney & Madigan, 2009).

A third example is the “Music City Miracle”, the most infamous play ever in the minds of Buffalo Bills’ fans. In the closing seconds of a playoff qualifier, the Tennessee Titans’ tight end, Frank Wycheck, threw a forward pass to Kevin Dyson, who marched 75 yards down the field to score on a kick return. The Bills’ players pleaded with the referee, however the referee confirmed it was a score after official review. In each of these circumstances, a single player or an entire team were faced with an ethical battle: whether or not to be honest and correct the call. As a result of the pressures from the fans, teammates, and coaches, as well as the desire to win, each player cheated in the face of adversity. In my mind, the only message that this sends to our community is that winning is everything. In each scenario, the same question is brought forth in our mind. Are these actions moral? The answer is no. Cheating is immoral, and therefore, unacceptable in fair play.

One of the other issues that seems pertinent, especially in today’s sports, is misconduct. Because of such a problem, there is an extreme lack of good role models in college and professional sports. The general mentality possessed by these athletes, especially males, is that they are above the law. Because of fan praise, popularity, and too much self-confidence, many athletes believe that they are “untouchable” and that the norms and behavioral codes of society do not apply to them. As a result, many athletes have lost their cool in front of thousands of fans. Whether it was a battle within themselves or a battle with the opponent, fans, or referee, such behavior is unacceptable. For example, just yesterday, Serena Williams lost control of her emotions in her tennis semi-final. Williams, already behind in the standings, served the ball and the line judge said her foot was in front of the line. She became outraged and threatened the line judge. The line judge immediately ran to the panel. When Serena was questioned about her actions, she simply replied, “Are you serious?” That same statement made the headlines in the daily newspaper. Williams’ antics lead to crowd disapproval and many angry fans.

Yet another example of misconduct was the assault in the Boise State vs. Oregon football game earlier in the week. After the game and being verbally antagonized, LeGarrette Blount punched an opponent in the face and later, advanced toward rival fans as well. There was a huge upheaval over his actions. As a result, he was suspended for the entirety of the season. The headline in the newspaper read, “UO’s LeGarrette Blount goes crazy in post-game at Boise.”  One might question, “How highly is morality regarded in the minds of these athletes?” Do they know what kind of effect this will have on the sports community? Incidents like these demoralize the image of professional and college athletics. Some say, “It’s fun to watch.” Yes, but is it worth altering the moral consciences of younger athletes, who can’t quite determine the difference between right and wrong yet? The answer is no. Young kids need a positive, decent role model to look up to, in order to influence ethical and moral play.

While bad morality has been a trend in the sports world since its beginning, some argue that sports teach good moral character. These people point to times when players help opposing players back up after knocking them down, use proper language, and shake hands with the rival team and referee. These manners were taught as a matter of etiquette to athletes at a very young age. They were the result of the expectations of coaches rather than personal choice, and therefore, not true expressions of the individual’s morals. As these players got older and more choice was involved, these athletes’ true colors were exposed. As mentioned previously, Serena Williams verbally attacked a line judge and LeGarrett Blount sucker punched an opponent. They might have once been taught how to show good sportsmanship, but it obviously went in one ear and out the other. Serena Williams still possesses a bad attitude and LeGarrette Blount still lacks discipline. These athletes operated with the same mode of behavior that one would expect from a small child, and all their experience in sports did not change that.

There are always players willing to bend or break the rules to gain an unfair advantage. There are always players willing to break the code of conduct to retaliate against or injure another player. You might have heard of players like these, infamous for their actions, but encouraged, in order to raise ticket sales. Two names that are prevalent in my mind for basketball are Dennis Rodman and Charles Barkley. Each player would do whatever necessary they could to pervert the game. Referees could have done more to stop them, but were told by their superiors to let most of it ride. It seems economic interests are more important than sending a good message to the community. In football, one of the most notorious players of all time was Dick Butkus. Every time an offensive player came near him he would use any means necessary to pummel them. He wasn’t satisfied with a normal tackle, he had to hit, pick up, drive, and grind an opponent into the ground. Every time he hit an opponent, he tried to put them in the cemetery, not the hospital. In many games, there reaches a point where “opponents are looked at not as people, but as mere obstacles to be overcome” (Delaney & Madigan, 2009). This is where the moral line is crossed and animal instincts take over. One is now keying only on the opponent and not the rules of the game.

Today, character in sports is a huge problem, especially in professional sports. Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens brag and gloat every chance they get. Plaxico Burress served jail time for carrying a gun in a local bar. Michael Vick was incarcerated for holding dog fights, and Michael Phelps was caught smoking out of a bong. All of these incidents bring about negative media attention and shame to sports. As a result, these actions trickle down and influence the minds of younger athletes that see this throughout their entire childhood. Especially in the computer age, there is no sports incident that a young athlete won’t see. Any of them can log on to the internet and choose from any number of sports videos. Now, we have kids bragging, cheating, trash talking, and fighting at such a young age. These effects make us question sports’ role in our community. In regards to moral behavior, sport is a turn for the worse.

 

Teamwork: True Value

Teamwork on display.  Recently, I attended laser tag with the guys from Ryan 2 North and the girls from Ryan 3 North.  In laser tag, everyone uses guns that fire light to hit the light receptor targets on opposing players.  The three themes of Foundations can be illustrated through my experience.

 

On November 16, my Resident Assistant, Gavin, organized a laser tag trip to Zero Gravity, on Wolf Road.  His friend, who works at Zero Gravity, reserved the whole arena for our group of forty people.  The price for the whole event was only five dollars, and it was worth it.  Everyone that attended was split up into two teams (Red Team and Blue Team).  Each person put on their team vest and grabbed their laser gun.  Then, we ran out into the arena in an attempt to beat the opposing team by killing more people.

 

Laser tag at Zero Gravity relates to the theme of the person because the event is made up of people.  The people are split into teams, and must work together in order to come out victorious.  The attendees of the event were a very diverse bunch, including both guys and girls, along with many different races and ethnicities.  Each individual member of the team has one responsibility: Remain alive while killing the opposing team members.  The laser tag arena is very big and has many obstacles and objects to hide in and behind.  The best obstacle is a massive bridge starting on one side of the arena and stretching to the other side, containing many entrances along the way.  In essence, the first team to storm the bridge and stay there is assured the victory because the bridge overlooks the whole arena, leaving a very small number of hiding spots.  This experience gave all of its participants the chance to collaborate for chance of a win.

 

Teamwork

 

Each team in the arena can be seen as its own society because of the fact the each member of the team must work together toward the common goal of victory.  Laser tag forces the interaction among teammates because the arena is very dark and people tend to be scattered all over the place within a few minutes.  Team members get separated from each other, and must use verbal communication or signals to alert other teammates of their geographical position in the arena.  At one point, I got separated from my team, and was hiding in a bunker.  I looked out over the top of the foliage and yelled the position of the enemy to my teammates.  At that point, one of my teammates shot the enemy forces closest to my position and ran over to help my cover my area of vision with added fire-power.  This experience creates a stronger bond between the members of each team.

 

The laser tag trip relates to nature in two ways: laser tag creates a naturally competitive environment, and the physical laser tag environment, which is meant to mimic that of actual nature, like mountains, natural bridges, trees, and foliage.  The competitive environment commences the minute that people are divided into teams.  Then, the environment becomes even more competitive when victory and bragging rights are at stake.  The physical environment of the laser tag arena is a good attempt at mimicking nature.  The multitude of obstacles in the arena provide for cover as in nature.  The various types of terrain also provide cover.

 

In attending this event, I learned the value of teamwork and how it can be utilized in the real world.  If every person on the team works together, the team as a whole can achieve their goal.

 

The three themes of Foundations are the person, the society, and nature.  Teamwork among the groups is the only way to come out victorious.  Laser Tag is a good team-building activity that creates many opportunities to interact with other people and further your communications skills.  Overall, my experience was a great one.  My team ended up winning every game.

 

On a side note, unrelated to the story, but very much related to the value of teamwork, I was helped out with a car tow recently.  My tire came flying off as I was driving down the road and I went right into a ditch, so I called the guys at albanytow.com to come to my aid.  After I explained the situation on the phone, they sent over 3 people to help me out.  Not 1…3!  The 3 guy worked together as a team to get my car out of the ditch and get my girlfriend and I safely home.  They probably lost money helping me because they brought so many people to my assistance, but I am very grateful.  They acted a team, and although they’ll probably never see it, this is my way of thanking them.

Emotional Intelligence

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a very strong personality.  He is emotionally stable, charismatic, extroverted, self-motivated, and intelligent.  Schwarzenegger’s emotional stability is part of the Big Five model.  Having emotional stability means that one resists thinking negatively and has few negative emotions.  Schwarzenegger’s extroversion is also part of the Big Five model.  Being extroverted means being outgoing, emotionally expressive, being more socially dominant, and having greater interpersonal skills.  All of the traits that I have listed for Arnold Schwarzenegger are the traits that make up great leaders.  Schwarzenegger’s emotional stability allows him to keep his stress level very low, while allowing him to enjoy his life and his job, both of which can be very strenuous.  Second, Schwarzenegger’s charismatic personality appeals to many people; it makes him a very likable person.  Schwarzenegger’s extroversion is a key factor that allows him to maintain and enjoy a leadership role.  It also promotes a high level of performance because he has the capability to interact with everyone more equally.  Schwarzenegger’s self-motivation is very important because it allows him to set any goal, no matter how far-fetched, and work towards it.  This also means that he is persistent in working towards whatever goal he chooses to set.  Finally, Schwarzenegger is intelligent.  He has ability to think logically and clearly under pressure; this, in turn, allows him to keep his focus when he needs it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s aforementioned traits were crucial to his ascent to his position as the governor of California.  He set the goal of becoming the governor, and began searching for ways that he could attain his goal.  He used his connections to educate himself on the roles of the governor and how to repair California’s economy.  Then, he used his likable personality to his advantage as he campaigned to become the governor.  Eventually, Schwarzenegger was elected governor.

There may be a dark side to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s charisma and leadership skills. In most of his movies, Schwarzenegger lives by the idea that rules don’t apply.  During his ascent to government, he was once quoted as saying that his opponent’s were “girly men”.  Now although this is not a huge deal, demeaning opponents is not really the correct way to campaign.  It was also stated in the case that he does not pay attention to political correctness.  The fact that he will do whatever he needs to do to attain a goal can be a bit scary since he has a great deal of political power and a number of powerful connections. So far, Schwarzenegger has done an amazing job in California, but he needs to remain mindful of his actions.

Schwarzenegger had a rough childhood. The combination of traits that he now possesses creates a very strong personality that is hard to influence.  When Schwarzenegger sets his mind on something, he does whatever he can to achieve his goal.  In the case, he was quoted as saying, “There is no one, and when I say no one, I mean no one, who will back me off my mission” (667).  I am not trying to suggest that he would do anything illegal, but trying to convince him to change whatever plan he has in mind may be very difficult.  Schwarzenegger’s strong personality might create communication problems between himself and his peers.  For example, Schwarzenegger might not see the issues that the teacher’s union brings up in the same light.  If Schwarzenegger’s interests happen to clash with the interests of the teacher’s union, it may take a while to find a resolution.

Take Responsibility, Then Volunteer

No one is quite sure how nature and the human race were created.  No matter how either came about, one thing is certain, nature is fragile.  Humans are destructive by nature, and because of their destructive acts toward nature, the human race now has the sole responsibility of caring for it and salvaging it as best they can.

Nature can be defined as anything that is not man-made.  By this definition, the earth would be considered nature, before the human race appeared on it.  Nature itself has a delicate equilibrium among all of its inhabitants, excluding humans.  Each being, whether it is a plant or an animal, has a purpose in relation to nature.  For example, a big animal may kill and eat a small animal for food before being killed and eaten by an even bigger animal.  Nature is self-sustaining, and provides the environment for all the creatures in it.  Until the human race came to inhabit the earth, nature took care of itself and everything was in balance.

Garret Hardin once said, “In nature, the criterion is survival.  Is it better for a species to be small and hideable, or large and powerful?  Natural selection commensurates the incommensurables.  The compromise achieved depends on a natural weighting of the values of the variables.”[i]  Hardin believes that natural selection, or “survival of the fittest” maintains the natural balance of nature.  Humans were the first creatures to knock the earth out of its natural balance through the killing of animals that nature would have dealt with, and through industrious activity, which does not belong in or around nature.  The human race must take care of nature by trying to recreate its natural equilibrium because the earth now needs humans to preserve it.

  1. Richard Niebuhr described responsibility as having four parts: response, interpretation, anticipation of reaction to our reaction, and social solidarity.[ii] In applying nature to this theory, assume that the human race killed too many of a certain species of animal. This, in turn, would throw off nature’s equilibrium.  Assume then that the prey of that animal began to overpopulate because the animal that the human race almost drove to extinction was not there to equalize the amount of the prey.  The logical response to this would be to think about how to solve this problem.  Being responsible, the human race would anticipate that nature may destroy itself unintentionally without help from them.  Finally, the human race would realize that the responsible action to take would be to stop killing the predators, and possibly re-introduce some deteriorating predator species.  The human race has done exactly what was described, but on a much larger scale.  The human race has killed off many natural predators and destroyed millions of acres of land, creating overpopulation among the predator’s prey in small areas of land.  Nature is ubiquitous, meaning that any time the human race develops land for some industrial function, all of the animals in that area and their natural habitats are destroyed.  Niebuhr’s Theory of Responsibility would suggest that the human race analyze the damage it has caused, and find a way to reverse it.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, shows how the actions of the human race affect nature and its equilibrium.[iii]  The main problem is that society today is becoming increasingly fast-paced.  This has led to the creation of fast-food.  Farmers who produce food for these fast-food restaurants are hurting nature.  The farmers level huge amounts of land and prepare it to facilitate the growth of the food that the fast-food restaurants sell.  The same products, and or animals, are raised over and over on the same piece of land, draining the ground of all of the essential nutrients.  Then, only bits and pieces of the final products are used by the fast-food restaurants; the rest of the food is disposed of.  Not only is this wasting food and draining nutrients from the area, it is also destroying the natural habitat of the animals that used to live there.  This affects the surrounding areas because the animals that are now homeless must move into the territory of other animals, leading to overpopulation.

In the movie The Day After Tomorrow, a group of scientists are drilling for samples of ice in Scotland when one of the scientists drills too deep.[iv]  This causes a massive chain reaction that disrupts nature’s natural equilibrium.  A colossal sheet of ice separates from Iceland and melts, increasing the water level of the earth, which then disrupts the temperature of the water.  All of this leads to the beginning of a new ice age.  Snow covers the whole northern part of the United States, killing millions of people.  This scenario could actually happen.  Roland Emmerich, the director and producer of The Day After Tomorrow, most likely created this movie to raise awareness on the effect that humans have and potentially could have on nature.

Immediate actions need to be taken so as to stop the destruction of land, stop the overpopulation of animals, and allow nature to be left alone.  As of right now, there are many environmental conservation groups working hard to save as much land as they can in order to preserve the natural habitats of all of the animals on the earth.  There are also laws that were created in an attempt to balance animal populations by hunting.  To this day, hunters must be granted access to hunt certain animals in certain areas, at certain times.  This is a reasonable attempt at controlling animal population.  In regards to the animals near extinction, there are many man-made nature preserves where humans are attempting to breed the animals to increase the population of each once again.

Nature has its own balance which the human race upset at some point in earth’s recent history.  The human race’s careless destruction of land and animals has led to many problems in nature that need to be fixed as best as possible.  The movie The Day After Tomorrow shows what can happen to the earth if it is not taken care of.  Nature is self-regulating and could return to normal with a little help from the humans that need it to survive.

 

[i] Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of Commons. 1-12.

[ii] Niebuhr, The Meaning of Responsibility, 87-91.

[iii] Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 102-105.

[iv] Emmerich, The Day After Tomorrow.

Summer Olympic Games

Summer Olympic Games are held every four years in various venues across the globe.  The Summer Olympics are a world-wide competition that invites each country to send its best athletes to compete in sixteen days of events, ranging from basketball to martial arts.  It promotes sportsmanship and moral principles above all, but also dedication, hard work, and athleticism.  When a country hosts the Olympic Games, it is required to provide comfort, and safety and security for all of the people that wish to attend because the whole world will be watching the event on television.  The 2008 Summer Olympics will be held in Beijing, China.  Unfortunately, China has a major pollution issue; there is air pollution as well as water pollution.  It is imperative that these issues are resolved before the Olympic Games next year.

In regards to air pollution, China is listed as one of the top three contributors of air pollution emissions in the world (“Pollution”).  While it is believed that the largest cause of air pollution is motor vehicle emissions, there are many other sources, including chemical and power plants, oil refineries, and most other heavy industry.  These factories and plants release toxins into the air which deplete the ozone layer surrounding the earth and harm human health.  On a very recent trip to China, Satoko Ishikawa, an American citizen, said, “The dust and smoke were so thick that, almost from the moment our aircraft landed, my husband and I started nervously re-checking our departure arrangements and wondering exactly how many breaths we would have to take before it was time to leave… the pollution began to return just as we were leaving…” (10)  The pollution has become so bad that some people may not want to attend the Olympic Games, but rather watch it all on television if the pollution is not stopped.

According to Jonathan Fenby, of Financial Times, China is currently following a five-year plan, created by Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the Communist party.  According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), this plan calls for a ten-percent reduction of pollution emissions, but so far, China’s pollution emissions have risen (Fenby 17).  Analysts of the Beijing Review reported that sulfur-dioxide (SO2) emissions increased last year by 1.8 percent (Power Plants to Cut SO2 Emissions by Two-thirds 1).  This totals to a whopping 25.94 million tons of sulfur-dioxide emissions, with at least half of the pollutants originating from power plants run through the use of coal.  The Energy Information Administration said that the combination of increasing sulfur-dioxide emissions and soot from the combustion of coal has led to acid-rain affecting one-third of China (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  This acid rain pollutes the China’s limited water supply.

Water-pollution in China is just as bad, if not worse, than the air pollution.  Over the past few years, China’s industry and economy has experienced a large amount of growth and prosperity, but the government is not adequately distributing funds among the many firms (Wu et al. 251-256).  The water-pollution has only increased of recent because China’s water-supply and treatment infrastructure is very weak.  Failure to increase the amount of water-treatment facilities and improve them will most likely result in an increased number of deaths because of the fact that water can carry millions of chemicals, toxins, and diseases.  The Olympic Games can not be held in an area that is unfit for human existence.

Up until 1998, China did not have any type of environmental protection agency.  The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) was the first; it was created in order to circulate environmental policy and regulations throughout the nation and gather information about the environment to facilitate the improvement of it state of condition (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  Even with China’s environmental organizations and the help of the government, pollution continued to remain high.

The government has been the least effective force in the fight against pollution.  The first law that the government passed to combat pollution was the Cleaner Production Promotion Law.  This law created programs with the sole purpose of demonstrating how to lower rates of pollution.  It even pointed out the most heavily polluted areas in China that required attention.  The Cleaner Production Promotion Law proved ineffective because of the absence of the word “mandatory”.  People simply did not follow the law most likely because of the fact that following it was optional.

Specifically regarding Beijing, the Energy Information Administration said this: “In an effort to reduce air pollution in Beijing, the municipal government in 1999 ordered city vehicles to convert to liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas. By 2002, Beijing had the largest fleet of natural gas buses in the world – a total of 1,630 vehicles” (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  Unfortunately, a report by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) in 2003 showed less than satisfactory progress toward China’s pollution removal goals.  Since 2003, there have been no laws passed related to the issue of pollution.  This poses a major problem for China since the 2008 Olympics are just one year away.  If the decaying environment is not enough, maybe the massive wave of negative publicity that the Olympics normally carry with it will inspire the government to take action.

At the moment, China is considering its options for lessening pollution.  According to the Energy Information Administration, China is currently researching and testing new technologies to prevent air pollution and treat any water pollution (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  A small step was taken by SEPA last month when the vice-director, Pan Yue, suspended 30 national projects that were not able to reach its environmental standards (Bremner 1).  The problem is that currently in China, there is no effective legislation to clean up the environment.  China has done very little to solve its pollution issues of recent. Time is of the essence, and something needs to be done immediately.  The government has laid out multiple plans to solve pollution, but has taken no action.

The Olympics Games are a world-wide competition that joins the best athletes from every country for sixteen days of events.  The host country of the Olympic Games is selected three years in advance of the next Olympics in order to give that country time to prepare for the event.  The host position is highly regarded because of the publicity that the Olympic Games bring in.  Beijing, China was selected as the location for the 2008 Summer Olympics.  There is only one problem standing in China’s way: pollution.  If China is not able to clean up the environment enough to provide for the comfort, safety, and security of the crowds that will watch the games, some people may not attend.  Lastly, if that occurs, the amount of negative publicity that China receives will be devastating.

 

Works Cited:

  • Bremner, Brian.  “China’s Big, Dirty Secret.”  BusinessWeek. 1 Feb. 2005 <http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/feb2005/nf2005011_6686_db065.htm>.
  • “China: Environmental Issues.” EIA.  Jul. 2003 <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/chinaenv.html>.
  • Fenby, Jonathan.  “Beijing is aiming to cut industrial pollution levels.”  Financial Times Jan. 2007: 17.
  • Ishikaa, Shatoko.  “Beijing and back, hardly drawing breath.”  Financial Times. Jan. 2007: 10.
  •  “Polluted Water Puts 2.5 Mln Residents at Risk” Beijing Review. 3 Apr. 2007 <http://www.bjreview.com.cn/headline/txt/2007-04/03/content_60801.htm>.
  • Pollution.  2007. 8 Apr. 2007 < http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Pollution>.
  • “Power Plants to Cut SO2 Emissions by Two-thirds.”  Beijing Review. 29 Mar. 2007 < http://www.bjreview.com.cn/headline/txt/2007-03/29/content_60424.htm>.
  • Wu, Changhua, Crescencia Maurer, Yi Wang, Shouzheng Xue, Devra Lee Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack and Jack: The Quick Bio

Jack and Jack, who are they?

The first question you’re probably asking is why are you talking about this on a site about running.  The reason is because the Whistler Spirit Run was not just a run – it was meant to raise money for important causes, which it did a phenomenal job of.  Jack and Jack are giving back despite only being famous for a short time.  This post is dedicated to them…

Jack and Jack

Jack and Jack is actually Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson, two Nebraska teens who seemingly came out of nowhere and are now living in LA, California, the most expensive area in the country, and touring the country singing their music.  How did they get here you ask?  Vine.  If you’re not familiar it’s a social media app that allows users to post 6 second videos that play on a loop.  Vine was acquired by Twitter in 2012, and ever since, it’s picked up massive momentum, similar to that of Facebook when it first started.

Jack & Jack found success in 2013-2014 using Vine by consistently posting their content and gaining a gigantic follower base.  That  consistency paid off, allowing the American team of two to do a complete life 180 and start a legit music career.

Why did so many people follow them?

People follow the Jack & Jack team for the same reason they follow anyone popular in social media – they’re captivating.  Fame on YouTube requires you to not care about what anyone in the world thinks.  You need to completely let go, be yourself, which is hard for many people during normal life.  Try doing the same in front of millions of strangers.  Social media may make it easier, since you’re only staring at a computer screen, but let’s not downplay it because it’s a unique ability that the masses don’t possess.

The start of momentum was 2013.  Jack & Jack loaded funny 6 second videos into Vine in mid 2013.  One of the videos – I Never Miss – went viral, accumulating 25k followers in a very short period.  Loading vine after vine, the Jack and Jack duo send out 6 seconds of singing or comedy.  After high school graduation in mid 2014, Jack and Jack moved to Los Angeles, California to launch a music career with the help of DigiTour Media.  The tour stretched across 18 cities and was made up of singing, comedy, interaction with fans; it sold out.

Jack and Jack continued to pick up momentum through 2014, adding a list of sponsors, tag teams, and guest spots to their resumes, such as Verizon, ABC, JanoFest, Tyga, Kid Ink, and more.  Popularity continued to increase as Jack and Jack monetized their lives through social media.  8 months later, in early 2015, the shared account of these two teens had amassed more than 5M followers, ranking them among the top 20 most popular people on Vine.

Where Are They Now?

Here are the current stats on social media:

Latest YouTube video: 7,241,628 views on Jack and Jack – California (Official Music Video)

Twitter following: 1.5 million at a career total of 1,813 tweets

Facebook likes: 937,811

Vine: 1,884,615,211 loops  (almost 2 billion? wow.)

iTunes: Released 11 singles, totaling 1.3 million songs sold without a label’s help.

Current status:  On Tour. Loving Life.

 

Jack and Jack Giving Back

  • Skin cancer awareness promotion
  • Anti-bullying promotion (targeted at social media like Vine and Facebook)
  • Safe driving promotion, in partnership with Michelin tire company
  • Charitable causes, such as Mile for Music and Ronald McDonald

That’s a lot of returned love in a couple years from the teens.

Peace Out,

Whistler Team