Cheaters never prosper (except in pro sports)

By Stephanie Holland

By Stephanie Holland

Today’s athletes have forgotten that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game.

This year will go down in sports history as the year of the shortcut. It seems like every time someone accomplished something great this summer, it would only be a matter of days before we found out that they were on steroids, or spying on competitors.

Cheating in sports is nothing new, one of the most famous incidents of cheating dates back to 1919 when several players on the Chicago White Sox decided to throw one game in the World Series.

The scandal that followed tainted the entire team, resulting in permanent suspensions and ruined reputations.

The punishment that these men received for cheating was severe and everlasting.

Nowadays we’re lucky if a player even gives us an insincere apology and an attempt to place the blame on someone else.

As we approached spring, baseball season began and talk turned to steroids and Human Growth Hormones. With Barry Bonds on the cusp of breaking Hank Aaron’s all time homerun record, the whispers that he had medicinal help to get there became deafening.

Bonds went on to break Aaron’s record and was hailed in a game stopping celebration featuring legends like Willie Mays and Aaron himself.

Since breaking the record the excitement around Bonds has died down and the San Francisco Giants announced that they will not be renewing his contract for the 2008 season. Many sports pundits have speculated that Bonds career may be over since no other teams will want to carry the extra baggage of his soiled reputation.

As summer turned to fall, we thought surely football will save us from the endless parade of apologies and admissions of guilt, we were wrong. After their trampling of the New York Jets, the New England Patriots were being crowned as the team to beat.

The next day word spread that an assistant was found recording the New York Jets coaches in order to steal their signs.

While this flagrant breaking of the rules had many players around the league crying foul, it is widely known that a lot of teams employ these methods and the Patriots just happened to get caught.

On Oct. 5 Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones admitted to using banned substances prior to the 2000 Sydney games. She will be stripped of her five medals won in those games.

The interesting part of the story is that the second place finisher in the 100 meter dash has also been investigated for doping. How far down the roster will the International Olympic Committee have to go to find a clean competitor?

From the NBA referees betting scandal to alleged match throwing in tennis to stolen designs in Formula One racing, it seems like there is not a single professional sport that has gone untouched by cheating.

With the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China less than a year away, this growing trend puts a damper on all the heroic and record breaking performances we are likely to see there. The most disturbing thing about this pattern is that athletes are role models and this propensity toward breaking the rules only teaches college and high school athletes that it really doesn’t matter how you play the game as long as you win.