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Cheating in Sports

Commentary by Judy Winters

Cheating in sports is a something that happens in any generation. However, it has become so common nowadays that it is driving fans away from the games they love. Baseball players were caught doping (and lied about it in the case of Ryan Braun); the most successful cyclist of all time Lance Armstrong was a nasty cheater; soccer clubs were embroiled in match fixing; Olympic-winning sprinters tested positive for PEDs and the list goes on and on. As a fan of all sports, I feel disheartened. Young kids often look up to these false role models as they grow up; some of them may follow their path and become cheaters in sports as well as in life. 

Some say we should treat athletes as entertainers rather than as professionals or quasi-professionals. Sport should just be a non-competitive physical activity. Unfortunately, the competitive nature of sport is its greatest asset. Just imagine every student in a class receives a perfect grade just for showing up or every runner receives a trophy for participation. There would be no incentive or motivation to work hard, to think critically and to learn from successes and failures. If athletes became merely entertainers, we will lose many great stories of perseverance, dedication and the pride of representing one's country. Who want to strive to become an athlete if applying to become a circus clown is just as enticing? 

As long as athletes are being paid millions of dollars to compete, we expect them to live up to the conduct of a professional or quasi-professional. I couldn't care less what they do in their private lives, but they must adhere to the enforceable rules of competition. Hence, I call upon the sports’ governing bodies to clean house and make sure all egregious cheaters receive the harshest punishment possible. Depending on the severity of the offenses, I feel they should all be lock up in jail for defrauding the public.

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