Everyone gets to work their mouth. It’s the American way.
In sport, no place works the mouth like ESPN. On the whole, their people are likeable and their programming entertaining. But even The Worldwide Leader in Sports has its seamy side.
And that would be the opinionators. The guys at ESPN who get paid to push the envelope. Speak first, (maybe) think later is their creed. On the NFL beat that would include Mark Schlereth, Tedy Bruschi and Marcellus Wiley.
Last week it was Bruschi lambasting Chad Ochocinco for, of all things, praising his team.
This week it’s Marcellus Wiley going gonzo by claiming that “faking injuries is just a part of gamesmanship” (in reference to New York Giants’ defenders Deon Grant and Jacquian Williams’ bad-acting jobs Monday night against the Rams). Though bad in form, their faux-performances were Emmy-caliber in buying the Giants time for needed substitutions. Neither player will be punished by the League (Giants101.com / 9-20).
But faking an injury is no more part of “gamesmanship” than whizzing a football into the face of a bystander in some kind of hooligan TD celebration (Giants’ Michael Boley).
It goes without saying that acting has no place in sport. It goes contrary to the visceral realism and spirit of competition which drive the athletes and energize the fandom.
It’s also just one more bad message the NFL might send to kids, along with the sissy-gloves and player’s refusal to give blood for PED testing.
Then there’s the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ problem. The real injuries will get less attention if fakery becomes commonplace. At times, even trained medical people can be hoodwinked by the chicanery. Where does that leave referees and umpires?
But the best reason to speak-out against a growing trend in fraud is that it can ruin a sport. Case in point: the game of soccer / football / futbol.
Faking or ‘flopping’ has become rampant in the world’s favorite game. Without the help of slow-motion replay referees are hard-pressed to separate the truly injured from the sissy-set.
Athletes have been testing and passing the limits of fair play ever since the first two hairy guys decided to wrestle-it-out over the cutest cavewoman 100,000 years ago. As long as the trickery was rare and publicly scorned it was no big deal. But when so-called sporting experts begin to normalize clearly bad behavior, we’ve got trouble.
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.