George Elliott ENGL 1010 Strampe 11-28-17The effects of Cheating in SportEvery day, athletes are out training to get better and enhance their performance in any way possible, whether it be legal and natural or under the influence of an external factor. With sport having so much money being pumped into it also, there is now an even bigger incentive to win, whether it be fairly or not as these days everything is results driven, therefore this has led to more cases of cheating in sport. As a keen athlete for the majority of my life, growth and development has been key, both from a personal standpoint and as a game’s point of view as records are continually being broken for example.
To me cheating is an unfortunate necessary evil, and it will always occur as some are greedier than others with their desire to win. In today’s world, cheating has the potential to start from a very young age, as children will repeat what they see their heroes do on television. Take soccer for example, the world’s best in the world get paid millions of dollars to play, and yet they still attempt to trick the referee into making a decision that’s not true, such as diving to get the reward of a penalty, or acting hurt to waste time if currently winning the game. In Francisco Verdaguer’s extract of “Does Cheating and Gamesmanship to Be Reconsidered Regarding Fair-Play in Grassroots Sports” he goes on to say “There are a lot of examples of gamesmanship behaviors addressed to produce a gain for their own team: during a match, the players’ of this specific team try to destabilize the opponentteam players. Should his/her team be ahead on the scoreboard, the players constantly lose time, delaying the throws, exaggerate the pain, but when the game continues they recover without asanction from the referee” (30). This shows that now it could be seen that cheating is accepted in some forms of sport, so is it time for an adjustment of laws and rules, or a crackdown on abiding by laws from a younger age to get the nature of cheating out of the system, even if this could deter kids from competing in serious sports due the seriousness from such a young age. Another point to be made on the topic of grassroots sports, is that it is heavily influenced by coaches and parents, all volunteering and sacrificing their free time and money for sports, so some have that competitive edge that could be seen as negative, due to some their win at all costs mentality. Now for children to see this mentality, from people they look up to and idolize, this creates a cycle of win at all costs mindset, and they will probably repeat these actions when they have children too, therefore trying to eradicate this will be difficult, but it has to start at the grass roots to break the cycle, with the help of their heroes setting the right example too.
Verdaguer goes on to back up this point as he says “Actually is quite common to watch antisocial behaviors on the pitch. As commented, these behaviors are often reinforced by the various psychosocial factors surrounding the young athletes, including parents, coaches, and peers” (30).Another form of cheating that is more common in professional or top end amateur sport in comparison to grassroots or club sports is scientific cheating such as doping and blood transfusions for example. This is more common in professional sports because it is more difficult to detect this form of cheating, compared to bad gamesmanship which can be seen in plain sight, instead in order to detect this form, you have to be tested and that involves a cost to someone financially, therefore less common to test. In “Autologous Doping with Cryopreserved Red Blood Cells- Effects on Physical Performance and Detection by Multivariate Statistics” by Christer Malm, he goes on to say “The discovery of erythropoietin (EPO) simplified blood doping in sports, but improved detection methods, for EPO has forced cheating athletes to return to blood transfusion. Autologous blood transfusion with cryopreserved red blood cells (RBCs) is the method of choice, because no valid method exists to accurately detect such event. In endurance sports, it can be estimated that elite athletes improve performance by up to 3% with blood doping, regardless of method”(1).
This statement is explaining the lengths to which people go to in order to get an upper hand over others, even if it be marginal and illegal. The effects blood transfusions have is that they improve the athlete’s performance by artificially boosting their blood’s ability to bring more oxygen to muscles. Blood doping increases the amount oxidized protein in the bloodstream. So this allows higher amounts of oxygen to reach and fuel an athlete’s muscles. This can improve stamina and performance, particularly in training, so it enhances their ability to train, which raises the standard of competition, all be it illegally.This leads onto a topic that is easily debated and that is, is doping as bad for sport as people say it is, because it enhances the standard of sports, therefore should be more entertaining which will bring in an attraction from the fans. Also, athletes and their teams will always be looking for ways to get ahead of the other competitors, and if there is developments going on rapidly, then the doping authorities has no chance of keeping up with what’s going on and by the time they do, scientist have found a new thing which will take more time to detect. Anyway, if certain types of doping was allowed and legal, available to all, then sports could develop well, and bring in a new attraction.
Also it wouldn’t be seen as bad because it would be a level playing field for all, it would just be your decision whether you take it or not. In terms of fans, if sports were more entertaining to watch, then doping could be seen as okay, possibly the norm after a while, as they will see that they are getting more for their money if they pay to go see a ball game for example. A downside to this could be that there could be an expansion in the level between amateur and professional sports.Cheating is seen negatively from ethical standpoint, both in the professional game and the amateur game, but if cheating were to be allowed, why not just become more flexible and accepting of people having advantages that are not natural to the normal human, so long as it’s allowed to all with no discrimination. Paul Whysall in “Reflections on Ethics, Sport and the Consequences of Professionalization” goes on to make the point that maybe not all athletes cheat in a way that enhances their actual bodily capability, but the majority stretch rules and boundaries wherever possible. For example “To play to the extreme limit of the rules is a necessity in most elite sport. The long jumper will strive to get as close to a foul jump without actually committing one as possible.
Soccer players defending a free kick typically mount a defensive wall as close to the ball as possible despite the referee’s duty to ensure they are the required distance away. Thus, the constitutive rules are both a required and a minimum standard in some respects. To play to the very limit of the rules is the competitive norm, and if an advantage can be gained, that is not necessarily cheating” (421). The definition of cheating is to act deceitfully or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game, and as Whysall said, all athletes try to play to the extreme limits of the rules, so is seen to be deceitful or just testing the rules as much as possible, either way they’re not being 100% honest and compliant with the set rules.Furthermore, this leads onto another point, gamesmanship. Gamesmanship is the skill of winning games by using various tricks and strategies to have a psychological advantage over the opposition. Whysall in the same article says”This raises the concept of gamesmanship.
Gamesmanship takes many forms across different sports. Playing slowly (or quickly) to upset an opponent is not uncommon in games such as tennis or snooker. In cricket, ‘sledging’ an opponent – talking to intentionally disturb their concentration – or its American sporting equivalent of ‘trash talking’, is seen as part of the professional game. Yet once we accept such practices, does that make the more skilled performer of gamesmanship a better competitor” (421)? Gamesmanship, follows closely to this ideal of winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. When people are considered gamers in sports, it’s that they are so committed to win and are eager to do whatever it takes. Whether that’s pretending to be hurt, hurting an opponent, or even using performance-enhancing drugs. It all involves either bending or breaking the rules in order to gain a competitive advantage over an opponent.
In today’s world, a large percentage of athletes either bend the rules or break them undetected, probably due to the fact that athletes are under extreme external pressures to perform, from the likes of managers, owners, fans and peers. With this being said, there is more understanding as to why some cheat, such as Lance Armstrong and the doping incident, as you play sports to win, and it could be said that it should be anticipated that athletes would blur the lines of fair play and defy limits to win, especially at the top level where the potential of millions of dollars are on the line. Also, there could be an argument to say that why is there different forms and standards of sporting equipment, as the more expensive one on average will help more than the cheaper one, therefore giving an unfair competitive advantage, couldn’t this be seen as cheating as you have an unfair advantage? Peter Mewett in “Discourses of Deception: Cheating in Professional Running.
” goes on to say “working class athletes have manipulated chance through tactics involving secrecy, deception and tactical concealment of ability. Done effectively with the skill that eludes detection by others, it can result in a handsome payout, rewarding the opportunity costs of participation and providing a ‘kick-on’ for the person’s post-sport career. The promise of a reward from the investment of time and effort in the sport justifies the opportunity costs necessarily incurred” (292). Here, Mewett is explaining the fact that in today’s world, with the added pressures