Friday, May 16, 2008

Cheating from a different perspective

We've heard the names -




The list goes on. And it will.

As I have noted numerous times, there's a certain sanctimony that comes from the fans - a righteous indignation that pretty much can be summed up by, "our team is better than yours 'cause ours doesn't cheat." Unfortunately, that's just not true.

Every team cheats in some way, on some level. Was I surprised by Spygate? No. Disappointed? Yes.

When Arlen Specter came forward with his press conference he revealed that his crusade had little to do with a concern for NFL fans or the integrity of the game. It had to do with the teams of his own home state. Pure and simple.

Consider -

"I have a different perspective," Specter said. "I'm elected by 12 million people., and a lot of them are Steeler fans. ... Frankly I'm incensed about what happened with the Steelers, and I'm incensed about the notes being destroyed. I really am."
So this is about the Steelers?

Not about the fans in Tampa, San Fran, Seattle, or Chicago. It's about his voters.

For all his bluster, he doesn't appear to listen to his constituents. The most important person in relation to the Steelers, Dan Rooney, doesn't think the issue deserves to go any further -
"We consider the tapes of our coaching staff during our games against the New England Patriots to be a non-issue," Rooney said in a statement. "In our opinion, they had no impact on the results of those games."
If the tapes had serious impact, why wouldn't Rooney want a deeper investigation?

Is he concerned what might be turned up that his coaching staff was involved in? Or is he concerned that the Cheatriot nicknames would stop in favor of "Steroid" City instead of Steel City.

For anyone that thinks I'm unjustifiably attacking the Steelers, mind you, it's not because I have a dislike of the team, or that I believe they're engaging in any tactics that other teams aren't already engaged in.

I do think Specter, however, should take a look at the fact that their sideline doctor from their recent Super Bowl was dismissed after linked to the federal HGH investigation in Albany, or that Steve Courson, an offensive lineman from the Steelers last two Super Bowl titles of the 1970's admitted steroid use before his death at the age of 50 giving a lot of credence to the rumors that there was rampant steroid use on the 1970's championship teams.

And let's face it, the mid-1980's Pirates cocaine drug scandal (one of the funnier ones I've read about), just more deeply embroils the city's teams in the rumors of a massive drug culture surrounding the franchises.

As I noted before - I don't think it's anymore rampant than on other teams and in other cities. But the investigation Specter wants, if its for the "fans of the NFL," rather than just for his purposes, needs to look into all cheating in the NFL if the investigation is to be unbiased (the Red Sox did not get left off the hook in Mitchell's investigation with 14 individuals who played for the team at some point and 37 mentions of the team in the report) it needs to be all-inclusive of the NFL. Not just the team Specter wants looked at.

What I think most people don't want to face with professional sports is that cheating is a part of the culture - endemic to the individuals that compete at the highest levels. Doping has historically been a part of cycling. When was the last Olympics anyone remembers that athletes weren't expelled from the games for cheating of some sort? Baseball was ripped apart by the Mitchell Report, and I'm guessing that was the tip of the ice-berg. And football? Performance enhancing drugs, signal stealing (both with and against the rules), and god only knows what else.

Yet, despite all the evidence to the contrary, people believe that these people competing over millions of dollars aren't willing to risk a slap on the wrist and a $30,000 fine. Let's face it...that's just naive.

No comments: