Monthly Archives: June 2015

TOM BRADY AND THE PARADOX OF CHEATING

The New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has decided not to appeal the penalties imposed on his team for the so-called “Deflate-gate” scandal. That leaves Tom Brady alone to pursue his appeal later this month of the four-game suspension imposed on him.

We’ll get to Tom Brady in a moment.Brady Balls

But first, put yourself in right field with one out in the top of the ninth inning, a runner on second, and your team leading by one run. The batter hits a line drive your way, and you race toward it, diving, and landing over the ball — a fraction of a second late. You’ve trapped it. The runner on second, with an unobstructed view, sees the trap and runs to third. What do you do?

Sprawling on the grass, you hold your glove aloft with a wondrous “hey, look, I caught it!” expression. Then you get to your feet and throw to second, doubling up the runner and ending the game.

You’ve cheated. You know it. The runner knows it. Possibly most of the cheering fans know it. But as long as the umpire doesn’t know it, you are a hero. The opposing manager is on the field screaming, but his anger is directed toward the umpire, not toward you. If roles were reversed, he would have expected his outfielder to do exactly the same.

The detour illustrates a point. In sports, there is cheating – and then there is cheating. Much of what we call cheating is not only accepted, it is admired. Continue reading

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