Wherever there is competition people will try to get a “leg up” on their opponent. Good sportsmanship has an inherent quality of honesty, integrity, fair competition, and a level playing field.
However, the nature and integrity of sport is destroyed when someone cheats or has an unfair advantage. For the glory to be deserved, and the accolades to be applauded, men and women need to compete according to the rules of the game.
It’s fine to be competitive, but that competitive zeal that says “win at all costs,” or “the end justifies the means” drives a fierce competitor to bend, break, or in some cases, shatter the rules to be crowned the champion. Annoyingly, this is not a minority issue, cheating is rife across all sports.
Most recently, the Australian cricket team were caught out ball-tampering for which they were punished heavily – several of those guilty were served long-term bans from the sport. However, that didn’t go far enough. The punishment was not heavy enough.
They should have been banned for life, all of them, without any chance of retraction. They may be the most recent, but they are not the only ones. Renowned drugs cheat Justin Gatlin was somehow allowed back into athletics, which needless to say did not go down well with athletics fans; and rightly so.
However, he was allowed back and subsequently beat Usain Bolt – an honest, professional athlete – to the gold medal, when he really shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Drug cheats are the worst of all, and should be punished as such; stripped of all their medals, and shamed for the worthless cheat that they are. Such was the case deservedly so with Lance Armstrong, serial doper and Tour de France cheat. The cycling governing body have the right idea, and it would do well for the other sports to emulate their zero-tolerance stance on cheating.
In football, cheating is rife, from diving to handballs to even biting (looking at you, Suarez) – such is the case with the disgusting acts that they need to be punished severely – every instance of cheating should always warrant a minimum five-game ban and a fine of a month’s wages for both player and manager; let’s see how quickly it stops then. Some may claim it’s draconian but to be honest, it’s what the sport needs, and frankly, if draconian measures are what it takes to bring honesty and integrity back to the beautiful game then so be it.
If we are to truly eliminate cheating from sports, then all cheating, no matter how it is done, whether by diving or doping, must be met with an authoritarian stance. No one likes cheats anyway, and to be honest, if any sportsperson cheats they should get no sympathy from any spectator or supporter of any side, and they deserve everything that comes to them, regardless of how harsh some may feel the punishment to be.