Has the urge to win in professional sports shoved ethics to side in favor of gaining a competitive edge above other teams?
Recently, allegations of the MLB’s Houston Astros have been accused of stealing signs using unethical and illegal practices. The allegations come after former Houston Pitcher Mike Fiers detailed how the Astros used a camera in centerfield to relay signs to the dugout using a monitor.
However, have ethics been thrown aside? This is not the first time that teams have been accused of cheating, and with technology advancing there could be bigger issues on the horizon.
Cheating is deep rooted and may start at an early level, some coaches and players will do anything to succeed. The worst part is throwing morals aside to win.
Gaining an advantage over the other team is something that seems ingrained into most sports teams at almost every level. Even in leagues such as American Youth Soccer Organization, there are coaches so competitive that they show up to film their opponent for following week and make notes about key players.
While this may just seem like over-involved volunteers in the league that care more about winning than players improving, this extends up to the professional level as well.
According to an article in usatoday, in 2018 the Major League Baseball started an investigation when an Astros employee was caught aiming a lens at the dugout of the Boston Red Sox. That employee was removed, and it was not the only time he had done this. It was late discovered that the employee was playing defense by trying to see if the Red Sox had picked up on their signals rather than trying to pick up on the Astros signals.
However, it’s not just baseball that is having to deal with this issue, there was also an incident in the National Hockey League where another player accused the player of the opposing team of cheating.
In 2017, an article on NHL website revealed in an interview with the San Jose Sharks Logan Couture that the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby cheats in the face-offs. It was vaguely explained that he times the puck drop, but he does not get in trouble or kicked out of the league because of who he is.
However not all teams follow these methods. It is normal to study the opposing team to see how they’re performing before they play. It is also in the spirit of competition and the drive to win that leads teams to bend the rules of ethics for a competitive edge.
Where is the line drawn? Should teams continue to keep tabs on each other and make sure their secret plays are safe?
Competition in sports is healthy. None the less, when it goes so far that coaches are having other employees spy during the game to make sure their secrets are safe, this may just be a step too far.