Attitudes to whistleblowing drug-cheats differ across sports
The findings of the study on whistleblowing, by Dr Lisa Whitaker, Dr Susan Backhouse, and Professor Jonathan Long at Leeds Metropolitan, are being presented today at the British Psychological Society Division of Sport & Exercise (DSEP) Conference in Manchester.
Nine national level athletes from rugby league and track and field athletics were interviewed about their perspectives on drug taking in sport and the role of the whistleblower.
Track and field athletes suggested that they would adopt the role of whistleblower and report doping behaviour, although they were unsure of the protocol. The rugby league players highlighted the moral dilemma of implicating a team mate and showed a preference to stay silent.
This suggests that some athletes, especially those involved in team sports, will not report doping even though they feel it is detrimental to their sport. Reasons given were fears of affecting team cohesion and how they would be treated.
Lisa Whitaker reflected that: "With more emphasis being placed on investigation-led approaches by the World Anti-doping Agency, it is important that individuals feel that they have a role to play in keeping sport clean.
"By increasing awareness of reporting lines and adopting a community responsibility approach to anti-doping where every individual is encouraged to play a role in preventing negative behaviours, athletes may be more likely to report doping behaviour."