Does a defensive back admit to holding and demand a penalty? Have you ever seen a baseball player ask an umpire to reverse calling him safe? In the post-Michael Jordan era, traveling is almost never called because scoring titillates.
Sport shares the ethics of crime and politics: Cheating only matters if you get caught.
The only game with a remaining shard of honor is one of the most elite: golf. If you commit an infraction, you are required to report it. Occasionally, that still happens.
The New England Patriots have been busted for much worse than football gas.
Who cares? They win, and the huddled masses feel success by cheering.
Predictably, along comes Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison.
“Harrison strips kids of non-winning participation trophies,” screamed ESPN.
He wants them to “earn a real trophy.”
At its most basic, isn’t a high school diploma a participation trophy? So if you can’t win and become valedictorian, why participate?
Back when he was a Democrat and a motorsports champion, future Reno state Sen. Randolph Townsend’s favorite saying was “you win some, you lose some, some get rained out, but you always suit up.”
He was also a teacher.
Woody Allen said it shorter: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
Before you send nasty notes, I admit that some kids wouldn’t show up for school if not for sports. Bueno, but Harrison is a stud-horse extremist.
“I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u (sic) up and keep you happy,” he Tweety-Pied.
Sufferin’ succotash, Sylvester!
‘’Everybody does it. It’s only cheating if you get caught,’’ said Team USA soccer goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who admitted cheating to block a penalty kick and set up Brandi Chastain’s famous stroke that won the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Great for marketing.
‘’Professionalism is not sportsmanship,’’ former SF Giants star Chili Davis told The New York Times afterward.
‘If you don’t succeed, you won’t be in your profession for long,” Davis added.
So if you can’t win, don’t play. Cheat to win but don’t get caught.
Superstars, governments and lawyers thus invent defensive plays entitled “plausible deniability” and “to the best of my knowledge.”
Lance Armstrong stands disgraced but lives filthy rich. Not a bad tradeoff.
“It’s no disgrace being poor, but then again, it’s no great honor,” lamented Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.”
So hit the keyboard command for plausible deniability, launch your killer drone to read the other team’s signs and come to play.
And play to win, dammit!
REAL WINNER. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., memorialized the late Sparks Freedom Rider Erma Fritchen in the July 30 Congressional Record.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 46-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.