Quebec Soccer’s controversial decision to ban turbans and the subsequent efforts of the Canadian Soccer Association to overturn the ban is an interesting case study in “doing the right thing.”
Making ethical decisions or “doing the right thing” is always about maximizing benefits and minimizing harms. One way to assess the benefits and harms of different options is to view them through the filter of the True Sport Principles. As a quick reminder, those principles are: Go For It, Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Include Everyone, Play Fair, Stay Healthy and Give Back.
When we apply these principles to Quebec Soccer’s decision to ban turbans, we are left scratching our collective heads. To ban turbans would surely do harm to those whose religious and cultural beliefs require them to wear turbans. It would prevent these individuals from playing the “beautiful game.” At the same time, the ban would create no tangible benefit and yet it would violate the True Sport Principles of Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Include Everyone, and Give Back.
On the other hand, the Canadian Soccer Association’s proposal to overturn the ban would cause no harm and create many benefits – most importantly, opening up the “beautiful game” to all Canadians. In so doing, it would directly support the True Sport Principles of Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Include Everyone, Stay Healthy and Give Back.
Seems like the Canadian Soccer Association scored a golden goal. Bravo!