Sports role models: “just not cricket”

There are many wrongs that accompany the mounting of every Olympics, not least being the almost inevitable displacement of the homeless and those living in poverty and least able to resist or gain recompense of justice for their appalling treatment, which often includes dispossession from their homes and relocation miles away.

Sport, itself, is clearly riddled with corruption. Governing body officials, venue organisers and managers, Team owners, managers and officials, and even athletes themselves, in almost every sport have been shown to be involved in one or more of: match-fixing, prohibited drug use, taking bribes, pressuring decision-making bodies and tampering with votes, and etc.

Athletes have certainly displayed aggressive, hateful and demeaning comments on many occasions about adjudicators, referees, umpires and other athletes. Racism has been common both among the sports community and within the ranks of fans and spectators.

It would seem, that the ever increasing influence of huge fees for television and media rights, merchandising licences, advertising and marketing opportunities and simple greed has polluted sport such that ethics and its moral compass are in a severe state of disrepair.

This particular episode, whilst to some extent it may be excused as the result of the timing and disappointment of the athletes involved, actually highlights how entrenched and endemic are negative attitudes and racism towards particular athletes. It also demonstrates the incompetence and inordinate delay in resolving issues, that subsequently impact an athletes career.

Sport needs to rethink its association with MONEY and payment of indecently high salaries to those at the top. Sport needs to recapture the essence of “game” and “competition” for the play – rather than the rewards at the end.

Yes, I believe that sport offers much to us and I don’t propose that there should be bans on corporate funding or that athletes should be paid minimum wages. Recompense should be fair but the total pool shared far more equally across the range of elite competitors and a cap put on payments to those at the top.

We need to bring positive role models back into sport because, frankly, whilst I still occasionally read of a positive and I acknowledge that there are ethical athletes who put much back into their communities, I read far too often of unscrupulous behaviour that risks putting other athletes out of competition altogether, and then there is the ubiquitous and ever-present exposure of another athlete, often a great winner over many years, who either confesses to or is found out to have used performance enhancing drugs.

In the past, the Olympics were only open to amateur athletes and I believe that had much merit. In addition, sport, itself, was seen as a positive model of contribution to society and its practitioners were seen as role models for our children. Such a view is incorporated into our language: “a good sport” and “that’s just not cricket”, for instance. The metaphors are many. The difference is, that in many cases one could be easily excused for believing that they now mean precisely the opposite of what was intended when they were coined.

Sport needs to be cleaned up. The ethos needs to change. The influence of big business, big funding and big corruption needs to be halted.

In pressing their case on hyperandrogenic athletes the IAAF have ensured hostile scrutiny will always fall on women who defy norms imposed by the powerful

Source: The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit | Katrina Karkazis | Opinion | The Guardian

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