In The Cheat Of The Moment
For those of you who may have missed it (you must have been stranded on an island in the South Pacific with no wifi connection) I am talking about the recent report of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots getting busted for cheating…again! Having not learned their lesson from stealing signs from the rival New York Jets, and subsequently enduring steep fines and penalties, the 4-time Super Bowl champs took to deflating footballs as a way of getting an edge on their opponents. Quarterback Tom Brady was front and centre in the controversy but refuses to accept his 4-game suspension. Instead, he is appealing the suspension as a way of trying to downplay, or even deny, his cheating.
Many would say that deflating these footballs really didn’t factor significantly in helping the Pats get their wins. In fact, even Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, who lost in the 2014 playoffs to Brady’s Patriots, admitted that the Colts wouldn’t have won anyway. However, this issue is much more than winning games. This is about the integrity of the game, and that is the real compromise. Proverbs 11:1, in the New Living Translation, says this: “The LORD hates cheating, but He delights in honesty.”
Cheating leaves an indelible mark on the unstained garment of fair play. It completely tarnishes the satisfaction of achieving a momentous victory, since it resorted to a short cut to get there.
When I was growing up and learning to play gold from my dad, he warned my brother and me to always play fair and never cheat. He recalled an incident where he, as a young teenage boy, was competing in the prestigious Essex-Kent Boys’ Golf Tournament. He was in a tie with his opponent when on the ensuing par-3 hole his tee shot landed on the green while his competitor’s ended up in a sand trap. As dad was on the far side of the green retrieving his putter from his bag his opponent secured an almost perfect sand save shot, leaving the ball only inches from the hole. As this young man made his way up to the elevated green from his position in the sand trap my dad noticed him brushing sand off the front of his shirt and shorts. As it turned out, the boy had used his “hand wedge” and tossed the ball close to the cup. He ended up winning the hole and the match, securing the win by cheating. My dad was left disillusioned by the incident, and unable to prove that his opponent had cheated because nobody actually saw him do it.
What Tom Brady did was inexcusable and malicious to the integrity of the sport. His lame efforts to downplay the infraction lacked professionalism and left a poor example for his younger generation of fans to follow. Sadly, off-season sales of NFL jerseys have him in an astonishing third place of all sales, proving his actions are not being taken seriously by the majority of fans out there. Has Brady not learned from the infamous examples who have preceded him that cheaters never prosper? Rosie Ruiz, Lance Armstrong, and Barry Bonds all had their 15 minutes of fame but the end didn’t justify the means and now they are shackled in the bonds of disgrace. Tom Brady, humble yourself and repent or else take your place amongst them. We don’t care about your wins or your trophies or your star-studded life. If you had to resort to cheating in the heat of the moment then you are not someone who belongs at the pinnacle of the sporting world. Play fair or go home! The sporting world needs a level playing field for all who compete or else the point of competition is lost entirely.