Brown: Cheaters never win … or so we’ve all been told

Carolyn Brown

“Cheaters never win” – a cliché all our parents branded into our brains since we even understood the concept of cheating. How true this cliché is, I couldn’t tell you. I’m sure many agree with me that the meathead sitting next to you in class who stares at your paper and somehow always ends up getting a better grade than you in the class is doing just fine. Recently, however, in the world of sports, cheaters are finally getting caught and they aren’t winning anymore.

I’m sure all of you have heard about the Patriots situation. If not, I will clue you in on the latest scandal. In their game versus the Jets, the New England Patriots were caught videotaping the Jets’ defensive signals. A Patriots’ employee was confronted by the Jets and league security while filming on the Jets’ sideline at Giants Stadium. It has been stated that the cameraman was videotaping hand signals used by the coaches to relay defensive plays onto the field, a violation of NFL rules. The Patriots punishment may include not having a first-round pick come draft season.

You would think at this level of play that stealing signals would be unnecessary. The best football athletes in the nation are drafted to the NFL; you would think skill would be enough. However, the importance of winning has taken priority now, and simply being the best is not enough. Sports are all about the number of wins in a season. More wins equal more money and job security. Therefore, any step that needs to be taken in order to record more wins is accepted with no thought of consequences.

The shortcuts are not going to fly anymore as organizations and athletes are being caught for enhancing their performances in different ways. I guess the athletes don’t make enough money. It is sad that money is even an issue. These athletes make more money than the common person could dream of, yet they decide their natural skill and hard work cannot earn them the paycheck they crave, so they turn to breaking the rules in order to fill their lives with luxuries.

While cheating has dominated the news in recent weeks, the steroid issue has been prevalent in the world of sports for a few years now. Players like Barry Bonds, who set a new home run record this year, are finally being caught for using performance-enhancing drugs. Not only is his record now scrutinized for his use of steroids, but his reputation as an exceptional baseball player is questioned by everyone.

Even at the college level, breaking rules is prevalent. Drug tests are implemented throughout college campuses to make sure these athletes are not using drugs like steroids. The NCAA constantly sends representatives to different colleges to make sure that teams are following guidelines. Additionally, athletic offices often pay athletes as part of the recruitment process, a clear violation of NCAA policy. Athletes all of a sudden show up with a brand new car on campus that their “uncle” paid for. Schools are being caught providing these athletes with more than the occasional meal.

Athletes learn from the beginning that in order to be rewarded they have to win. Winning is not a simple desire anymore; it is a need. When this need is fulfilled, the money comes pouring in, and everyone is satisfied, including the fans. Top teams are able to recruit the best and then reap the benefits.

Breaking rules in sports is never going to end. However, the fact that organizations are finally being punished for the actions is hope in itself. Maybe sports will someday go back to the times when it was just about the sport. Two teams will show up to play each other in order to show their fans the love they have for their sport.

Is stealing signals that big of a deal? I’m sure many other teams are doing the exact same thing the Patriots did. However, what is the fun in cheating yourself to the top? Is the game really that much more fun when you know exactly what play the other team is about to perform?

Sports completely change from the time you are little and all that matters is having fun. When you reach the professional level, winning is a requirement. Today the cliché is not “cheaters never win”; it’s “rules are meant to be broken.”

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Carolyn Brown is a senior communication major from Oklahoma City, Okla. She can be reached at [email protected]