“The leadership group knew about it…I am not proud of what's happened…It's not within the spirit of the game. It was the leadership group's idea,” (Steven Smith). Even though Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were aware that using illegal means to win is against the spirit cricket and sport in general, they were prepared to put their careers and character on the line in order to have an advantage over South Africa in the 3rd Test match back on March 24.
Other infamous examples of sport's biggest cheats include: Ben Johnson testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs at the 1988 men's 100 metres final at the Seoul Olympics: All Blacks rugby player Andy Haden feigning a foul which later became known as “the great dive to victory” to ensure that the All Blacks defeated Wales in 1978; Lance Armstrong being found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs during his Tour de France races; the IOC stripping China's Dong Fangxiao of her 2000 Sydney Olympic medal for being underage and Mike Tyson being disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield's left ear in their 1997 re-match.
So why do athletes seek to cheat? According to Maurice Schweitzer, sports personalities may engage in dishonest acts for several reasons:
*It may be a situation. If athletes believe that their act/s will go unnoticed, the temptation to cheat may become the “right” choice as Cameron Bancroft stated “(when) I was sighted on the screen and that resulted in me shoving it (tape) down my trousers.”
*If winning is part of your identity, then the temptations to cheat to stay ahead becomes strong. Smith acknowledged, “We saw this game as such an important game, not that other games aren't important as well, but an opportunity.”
*Some athletes may seek to justify their action as an attempt to level the playing field. So if they believe that other athletes or opponents are engaging in illegal actions, they may resort to similar actions to 'neutralize' the situation.
*Meeting personal goals such as winning titles, medals and ranking positions may serve as an enticement to some athletes engaging in dishonest acts.
*In modern sport, some athletes may be pressured into the temptations of cheating to maintain their celebrity status as the 'best' or being among the best in their sport.
Some practical steps toward dealing with cheats are:
*Promotion of ethical behaviour that is within the laws and spirit of sport.
*Sporting organisations taking immediate action to send a clear signal that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated. Cricket Australia quickly had Steven Smith and vice-captain, David Warner stepped down from their leadership position in the middle of the 3rd Test.
The temptations of cheating are ubiquitous as the commercialization of modern sport deepens. As such, the powers that be have to be constantly vigilant and prepared to take strong action where necessary to deal with the scourge of cheating and dishonesty in sports.