Saturday, January 24, 2015

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: Gamesmanship, Ethics, and Cheaters

Remember that classic scene in the movie "Casablanca" where the police are about to raid "Rick's" casino:

    - RICK (Humphrey Bogart): "How can you close me up? On what grounds?"
    - CAPTAIN RENAULT (Claude Rains): "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
(a casino employee hands Renault a pile of money)
    - CROUPIER: "Your winnings, sir."
    - RENAULT: (softly) "Oh, thank you very much."
    - RENAULT: (loudly) "Everybody out at once!"

Here's what I think about the New England Patriots and "DeflateGate":  Since it's so commonly known among NFL officials that under-inflated footballs are easier to throw and catch in wet/cold weather, it seems to me that under-inflated balls are also just as easy to throw and catch in the heat of summer.  And if NFL officials know this, and the Patriots know it, then it's not unlikely that every other team in the league knows it, too, including the Indianapolis Colts who, coming to play in the outdoor cold of Foxboro, MA, in January, would have benefited the most from that knowledge. And if the NFL knows the benefits of using cheating footballs, then their farm teams (the NCAA) know it, too.
So, here it is:  I seriously doubt that the Colts were all that surprised by this scandal. If they were surprised, it was probably because "civilians" (those of us outside of the NFL's fraternity circle) found out about their close-hold secret so publicly--everyone's been outed! 
Everyone's now got the stink eye peeled on the Patriots, but only because they won--and won big, so check those balls (uh, footballs, I mean).  But did the umps check the Colts' balls (errr, footballs) during that game?  How about the Seahawks?  And seriously, other than Off Track Betting (OTB), Vegas, and the millions in fantasy, who really gives a damn about the losers, or their balls?  But how much do you wanna bet the Redskins, or the Jets, or the Raiders also deflated their balls (verdammt! I meant "footballs!!")?
My point: Why is anyone suddenly shocked that there's cheating, immorality, unethical conduct, graft, dishonesty, and corruption (and murder, and sex assault, and bigotry, and perjury) in an industry that involves hundreds and hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars, which incentivizes its players who haul in hundreds and hundreds of millions of those dollars?  Wait, I forgot, these are our kids' role models...that's a scary thought! 
So, did the Patriots cheat? Probably.  Steroids, point shaving, bounty hunting, game fixing, deflated footballs, corked bats, betting on your own team, taking dives, sandpaper, tar, bribery...this is all the nature of professional sports.  As fans, we're now feigning surprise and false indignity.  Just wait until next year!


Zebster said...

Nice take, G. I hope your Skins are good enough soon that they'll be noticed when they cheat.

DC Homer said...

Who? Oh, those guys! NAH!