Fair Play and Cheating in Professional Sports

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As financial and sporting rewards become greater, athletes and sportsman are doing everything in their powers to succeed at the top level. Jones J.G. and Pooley J.C show this, "So great are the material rewards for success in sport that the pressure on a team to win are often intense (p22).

However, sometimes the line between fair play and cheating is crossed, in this essay I am going to examine cheating in sport, both competitive and recreational. I will examine the definition of cheating and the problems that occur when trying to define it. And I will examine fair play, and give examples of how sometimes cheating is not always as clear-cut as it is thought.

The accusation of cheating is often branded around the sporting arena regularly, but what actually is cheating? Prof. Dr D. Rosenberg, of Brock University suggests that there are two types of cheating, these are, Incontest and Noncontest. Rosenberg gives an example of a soccer player; "who gets away with tipping the ball into the goal with his hand on a cross commits incontest cheating" ( Rosenberg, 1994, p6).

This example shows what is meant by incontest cheating, incontest cheating is the act of cheating or deception during the game or sport concerned. Rosenberg believes that the particular soccer player in the example used, has made a conscious decision on the spot there and then to cheat to increase his chances of benefiting. Another example used by Rosenberg is of a basketball player who deliberately commits a physical foul on another player without being detected, but doesn't confess to doing so, this again is another example of incontest cheating. However, Rosenberg highlights another area of incontest cheating to look at, the example he uses is as follows: "Similarly the volleyball player who spikes a match winning ball, and who alone knows she touched the net but tells no-one, is engaged in cheating."(Rosenberg 1994).

Rosenberg then goes on to say how this example differs from the previous two in the way that this particular athlete had no intention of cheating, but once they realise that they have committed an offence they keep quiet. However this is still classed as cheating in a sense.

In some sports however incontest cheating would be impossible, sports such as gymnastics and swimming. This is where noncontest cheating often occurs, noncontest cheating is trying to fix or influence the results of an event in favour of the competitor prior to the event taking place. Examples of noncontest cheating would be to bribe or influence judges, prior to the event, tampering with equipment and any other deception, which is conducted outside of the contesting moments in sport. The main way in which the two types of cheating differ is the fact that noncontest cheating doesn't effect the player or competitor and doesn't change the way he/she performs. The example that Rosenberg uses is as follows: "The determination of cheating behavior in these instances takes place when the violations occur and not necessarily when the violations bear fruit. The manifestations of some noncontest cheating may not be required in the contest. For example, reaching a certain point spread in a basketball fix may not require a corrupt ball player to do anything but play a normal game".

This quote shows that noncontest cheating is very much premeditated and it is not a spur of the moment act like the one stated earlier.

The above examples of different types of cheating show that it is very difficult to determine what is cheating and what isn't.

Sometimes athletes and sportsman are guilty of committing foul play, but under the rules of he sport do not commit what is standardly known as cheating. The following examples of events that have occurred in sport that have caused major debates as to whether serious foul play had been committed.

J.S. Russell (1999) highlights the first example, where he displays the example of Hoak's Sacrifice "Hoak's Sacrifice - 1957 game,...
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