Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald.
Any readers who are cricket fans will have struggled to miss the controversy of two weeks ago. English all-rounder, Stuart Broad, elected not to ‘walk’ even though he knew he had edged the ball to, firstly the wicket keeper and then the slip.
For any who do not follow cricket; the furore was because the honesty part of the game was called into question. The moral fibres of the game being lost are worrying for the traditionalists, but merely part of the evolution of the sport for the newer members of the cricketing fraternity.
This is much the same for Formula One, and the way in which the rules and regulations are respected. Is pushing the limits as far as you like okay, as long as you do not get caught? Michael Schumacher, all those years ago in 1994, springs to mind. Is it a fair way to win the WDC by taking out your opposition? A sportsman would do whatever he (or she) can to win. After all, ‘Winning is everything!’
A look at nature
The Queen wasps in a nest will eat the eggs of other Queens in order to guarantee they win the battle for dominance. By ensuring there is no competition, there is no possibility of a struggle. This basic desire to succeed is something which is paralleled in the Formula One paddock as well. There are no prizes for 2nd place, as Felipe Massa would tell you.
Fernando Alonso has lost 3 separate WDCs at the final race of the season in 2007, 2010 and 2012. 2010 and 2012 must have been especially tough, given he was leading the WDC, at some point in the day, in both of these cases. Although, even he has been involved in more than one scandal over the years…
A driver and more importantly, a personality, like Fernando Alonso, which controls all aspects of a team so tightly, would surely know the entire goings on, down to the core management. So how could he have not known a thing about 2007 and spy gate. Then there is the following year, a planned crash around the streets of Singapore to bring out the safety car.
Are mind games any different?
So why is it frowned upon to break or bend the rules, but perfectly fine to distract your opponent with games that will affect them mentally. Last year (2012), we heard of rumours being spread by, (as it has now come to light) the Maranello setup, of Sebastian Vettel moving to Ferrari in 2014. Christian Horner’s words over the team radio in Brazil referencing this.
All this, after Red Bull were vilified for their engine mapping antics at the German GP earlier in the year, which eventually caused a change in rules from the FIA. At the time, this was not against the rules, so surely this was a clever move, not one to be frowned upon.
Money changes everything, right?
If the £££ signs increase at the same rate that success does, how can human beings be expected to not ‘cheat’. If as they say, ‘money makes the world go round’, then that would be the motivation for professional sportsman to cheat. However, that does not explain the reason for cheating at an amateur level. This would take it back to a more primal desire to win at any cost.
If you can’t beat them, join them!
Lance Armstrong, in the words of the UCI, “ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” People everywhere were outraged by the cheating that went on, but in truth people in they should be applauding him and the US postal team.
It is widely known that a high percentage of cyclists at the time were using illegal methods to enhance their riding potential; it was Lance Armstrong who was able to maximise this. Professionalised for me is the key word. Blood doping had become a profession, and the man from Texas was the best at it.
There is only one man who finished in the top 3 in the Tour De France during Armstrong’s reign (1999-2005), who has not been linked to a drugs scandal. He was Fernando Escartín, who described the situation as, “illogical and unreal.” However, it seems perfectly logical to anybody outside of the sport…
When glory is involved, it means so much more to so many more.
So maybe we should be teaching kids everywhere to be more like Stuart Broad. Honesty and integrity are noble, but they are rarely awarded. After all, it was that ‘non-walking’ incident which in truth won the match for England. Worth it?