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Cheating to Win

Monday, March 26, 2018
Australia v South Africa 3rd Test

“The leadership group knew about it - I am not proud of what's happened -It's not within the spirit of the game. It was the leadership group's idea,” (Steven Smith). Even though Smith was aware that using illegal means to win is against the spirit cricket, the Australian captain was prepared to take the risk to get ahead of South Africa in the 3rd Test match. Cricket has been known as the 'gentleman' sport, however, as it has become deeply commercialised and 'technologicalised' the stakes have increased not only for athletes individually and collectively, but also for coaches, medical personnel, trainers, and even match officials.

So why do athletes seek to cheat? According to Maurice Schweitzer, sport personalities may engage in dishonest acts for several reasons:

*It may be situation. If athletes believe that their act/s will go unnoticed, the temptation to cheat may become the “right” choice as Cameron Bancroft stated “(when) I was sighted on the screen and that resulted in me shoving it (tape) down my trousers.”

*If winning is part of your identity, then the temptations to cheat to stay ahead becomes strong. Smith acknowledged, “We saw this game as such an important game, not that other games aren't important as well, but an opportunity.”

*Some athletes may seek to justify their action as an attempt to level the playing field. So if they believe that other athletes or opponents are engaging in illegal actions, they may resort to similar actions to 'neutralize' the situation.

*Meeting personal goals such as winning titles, medals and ranking positions may serve as an enticement to some athletes engaging in dishonest acts.

*In modern sport, some athletes may be pressured into the temptations of cheating to maintain their celebrity status as the 'best' or being among the best in their sport.

How to deal with cheats? Some of the practical steps available are:

*Promotion of ethical behaviour that is within the laws and spirit of sport.

*Sporting orgnaisations taking immediate action to send a clear signal that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated. Cricket Australia quickly had Steven Smith and vice-captain, David Warner stepped down from their leadership position in the middle of the 3rd Test.

The temptations of cheating will always be around given all the stakes that available in modern sport. As such, the powers that be have to be constantly vigilant and take strong action where necessary to deal with the scourge of cheating and dishonesty in sport.

"I don't feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning." Michel Foucault



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