The biggest void
If you were following the blog debates last weekend you will have seen it pointed out that those seeking or insisting upon a moral ethical Glasgow Celtic face quite the challenge as there has been very little of that from any boardroom in any era of our existence.
Example after example was listed of many unscrupulous acts, and it was all true, feathering the nest was, and still is, the norm.
The terrible truth is there’s very little ethics in football at all, the biggest sport in the world, but it’s far from alone in being deservedly tarred with that label.
Most if not all are.
Perhaps the worst of all is Baseball, America’s favourite pastime.
Its premier competition was fixed by Arnold Rothstein leading to the infamous kid crying ‘Say it aint so Champ, say it aint so !’ to the indicted players. There’s much pushing of limits in baseball to put it mildly.
Recent notables include one team videoing another bench for signs and banging a drum to alert those onfield what to expect, highly unsportsmanlike and illegal. A pitcher with pine sap at the back of his neck, happened recently, is far from a lone event.
Boxing would well give that sport a run for its money, the amount of shady characters in that sport would put Rothstein to shame.
Doesn’t Don King seem like a nice trustworthy man to be looking after your affairs! Im sure Mr Ali and co got every cent due and all that. Liston reputedly mob muscle sometimes, Belfast’s own Conlon cheated out of Olympic medal, McGuigan thrown under bus for money in the Vegas heat (outdoors in July is terrible to even walk in), and its current biggest star Canelo Alvarez has tested positive for an illegal substance which was immediately tainted meat.
Boxing has always been murky.
The NFL is and always has been followed by controversy which is not surprising considering like soccer players many were plucked from school and or focused solely on the game from a young age, suddenly hit big money when they are still very impressionable and living in a material world, surrounded by hangers on, plus there are 53 different characters in that dressing room telling you what you should be driving, wearing, plus who to be seen with.
A staggering 78% of those who retire file for bankruptcy within two years, something the sport really ought to find a way of dealing with.
A new squad of very rich and their entourages are about to move full time to live and play in Las Vegas of all places, asking for trouble there and expect headlines galore, plus those bankrupt rates to rise some more. The casinos will be happy though, and the local dealers.
Another sport that might just compete for the first spot on this list of shame is racing in all its forms, just rife to be tampered with and has been for a long long time. Earlier in the year a major PED scandal was unearthed but due to the virus didn’t see it get much prominence at the time.
I recall sitting in the bar one night and yer man swearing on his life he had fed his greyhound mars bars before every race to slow her down, specifically to keep the odds big for tomorrow’s race which he had trained her like a madman for. Easy money, hit the bookies etc and I did nearly go large on that one, resisted it and she came second so my instincts were correct.
There’s many more tales out there, from horses ending up dead by over juicing to a completely different but faster nag getting painted the same markings as the entrant and switched in.
It’s also a haven for laundering with no questions asked of the origin of any cash coming into any bookmakers office.
Snooker, why one of our own was embroiled in one of that sports recent big scandals.
Sumo, the Yakuza have had their claws into it for years and it’s been more fixed than clean.
Sailing just now has a scandal which has hit the world famous America’s Cup.
Rugby, the Saracens are essentially the Rangers of rugby after their financial malarkey.
Darts had fartgate, I shit you not, pardon the pun ! Google it if you haven’t heard this funny one.
Tennis, multiple including match fixing.
Figure skating, the Tonya Harding scandal is probably the most famous but last year one slashed a rival’s calf with her skate while training.
And there’s more, much more and chances are if you select a sport and google its history there will be unsavoury episodes. In the biggest sport in the world you can hardly turn around for finding some breach or other, why our own city has seen mega corruption and the league has dirty hands into the bargain.
Cheating and corruption just happens, everywhere, as shown above.
I guess the biggest question is WHY?
The first instinct might be to bring the root of all evil into the equation, as in general where it’s to be found temptation is also. But then the world wide web is also full of little league games that have gone wrong over parents not liking a call, or just indeed the fact they aren’t winning.
And there’s no money involved in kids baseball, its egos and children only.
There will be other examples but I believe this shows we can rule out money as the primary reason we see cheating and or rule bending permeate what feels like every sport.
There is but one common denominator in all the above, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out.
Where there’s people there’s problem’s, and it really is that simple, ask mother Earth.
For some reason competitiveness can, has, and does bring out the worst in some people, and appealing to the ethical or moralistic side of the sport doesn’t seem to be cutting it one bit.
For starters, when it comes to the question of ethics and where a line may be drawn, that line will vary from region to region and nation to nation.
As an example in Italy it is not only fine but morally accepted throughout the nation to simply play for the foul and take advantage of the ref. That wouldn’t be accepted by the Parkhead faithful.
Perhaps the greatest example is Zidane’s final act of his glittering career on the field of play, goaded into a game changing reaction when his personal threshold was crossed by bringing family into things, truly a line in the sand for many of us. Materazzi’s teammate’s didn’t leave him in a bloody heap back in the dressing room as you like to think our bhoys would, but went on to celebrate with him all night and disgracefully the sleezeball actually profited out of the affair with a tell all book release.
You can’t buy class people.
The tale of two handballs is perhaps an example in your own household as it was mine. The Hand of God was celebrated with incredulous glee for numerous reasons,,
Because it was against them,
Because of that beautiful buildup play,
Because it was HIM,
Add you own, but can you yourself truly say you treated that deliberate goal changing handball in the same manner as you treated Thierry Henry’s ‘this will probably get caught but I will try it anyway’ control and handball to force Ireland to miss the World Cup? No you didn’t.
But yet, why not, because as pointed out both were cheating at heart, yet were viewed a different way due to personal viewpoints.
So if you as a spectator can’t judge the game perfectly and set personal emotions by the wayside, then is it feasible to expect those actually participating to?
It’s clearly not.
One might then turn to the ultimate ‘dont give a toss and will call it exactly the way it’s supposed to be called’ mechanism, ie VAR and technology which obviously isn’t emotionally involved.
And yet as we see just this very week a disallowed Spurs goal which everyone involved admits should have been allowed and would have altered the game as goals do, but the machine interpreted the rules to the very fine letter of the law, it was ultimately to the detriment of the match and against the spirit of the game. Technology has not proven the answer.
Neither have Commissioner’s. The idea behind them is great in theory but baseball appointed one in 1920 after the World Series fix and that hasn’t stopped that sport from becoming a free for all. We are all aware clubs are supposed to act in good faith to one another and to the sport, but that is so vague it’s bound to create issues at some stage. There’s people out there who will push every boundary they possibly can to give them an edge even if it is seen as unscrupulous, and on the flipside there’s the consummate professional who would never even consider such a course, but yet both must share the sport. One may think he is right, the other the same.
And on any given day one judge would side with one, another judge the other.
Cheating and pushing boundaries is a very very fine line, its questionable whether is it correct to put one man in the position to judge as his/her own personal interpretation of ‘good faith’ will essentially decide many a case and indeed the direction of the sport under their watch, which can be significant.
Committees are an attempt to cut out the above by bringing lots of differing viewpoints into the arena, but as we have seen with FIFA, when some are bought off the committee is tainted and useless.
Ultimately, the biggest void in sport isnt between El Haj Diouf’s ears, its not under Shergar’s saddle or wee Bazza’s bank account after the EBT rulings.
Its the lack of ethics, morals, and scruples.
The sport that fills that void will do very very well indeed, until people get involved that is.
The above is by Mahe. Happy Independence Day.
Oh,, have a guess which Sentinel this is on the Royal Mile, marching down to Holyrood for the opening of the Scottish parliament,,,