Monday, 28 June 2010

Honour and integrity during sport

After the England game, and the goal that never was, it made me reflect on honesty in sport.

I watch, and have played a fair bit of Cricket in the past, and I see the players being honest with the officials. During a recent game, a 15 year old boy admitted the ball did not carry when everyone else thought it did, including the umpire. The boy in question was applauded by us for being honest (even though we needed that wicket!!).

In professional sport, cricket and golf especially, your honesty seems to count for quite a lot. Often batsman walk if they knick it finely to the keeper, or fielders admit they didn't catch it. Golfers often admit they accidently touched or moved the ball incurring a penalty.

Now not all of them are honest, some stand their ground and wait for the umpire to make a decision. I'm sure some golf players aren't always truthful either, but these seem to be the odd exception rather than the majority.

But in football, you rarely see it. The German goalkeeper knew that ball had crossed the line. He was confident enough to say this afterwards.

Neuer said: "I tried not to react to the referee and just concentrate on what was happening - it was difficult. I knew it was close.

"Then I saw it on the television in the doping control office and what actually happened. I knew it was tight - probably about two metres."

He can say what he likes, but the photo of the ball crossing the line shows him looking directly at it.

So why not be honest during the game? Why didn't Thierry Henry admit he handled the ball during the France vs Ireland World Cup playoff match?

Yes, I understand that the pressure to win is huge. Money is at stake. A countries pride was on the line in the biggest game for years. But, you have just let yourself down. You now appear as a cheat to the rest of the World.

Wouldn't you have rather won the game fairly and honestly? Keeping the sports, and more importantly, your own integrity in tact.

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