I Won’t Cheat!  is the official motto of the Little League, whose annual World Series is on TV each August, from Williamsport, PA. The words are on a patch on each uniform. If you’ve ever watched the Little League World Series, you might agree that it is far superior to watching the multi millionaire divas who play most of our professional sports. This past year, Uganda became the first African team to qualify even though most of the boys had only played baseball for two years- usually without shoes until they had to wear them in the tournament!  With no family able to afford to come with them, the Uganda team became the favorite of all the other players and fans. That’s sportsmanship. You can also sense how much all these kids just love playing the game. True they are only 10-12 (or 13 before May 1), but I really believe most of the Little Leaguers would never cheat.

Yet every few years, there is a major scandal at the LLWS, as its called, about the age of a player or something. Almost all of these scandals can be traced to the kid’s parents or coaches. The kids just love to play.

So when and how do we go from non cheating kids to adults with issues?

Especially adults in business (including sports) with issues on morality and ethics?

When I left the  corporate world for the second time, I had an interesting conversation with a very astute, retired guy in Florida. Upon asking what I had done, I replied “I was a Chief Financial Officer for two big public firms” then I playfully added, “and I am proud to say I was never investigated, charged or convicted of any crimes by the Securities Exchange Commission or any state Attorney Generals!”

The older, astute, long time business guy, then smiled and not as jokingly said, “ Then you must have gotten out in time.”  What a sad commentary. But ethics and morality should matter in business, sports and life and not just in the Little League.

So what about Lance. His “interview” with Oprah speaks for itself. He stated he did not feel he was cheating at the time. Yet he also sued or denounced many sources and fellow competitors who dared to suggest he had cheated.

In my forthcoming book, The Business Zoo, we look at ethics, morality and fraud using both actual stories from my career and today’s headlines. Then we summarize some lessons we can learn from them.

It’s never too late in business, sports or life to learn something!