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Thread: The High Cost of Winning

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    Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate reading all the various perspectives.

    I think it's safe to say I am one of the Super Fans of sports. During football season, I live from Sunday to Sunday. I loved playing football, and enjoyed playing baseball even more. I love hockey, but unfortunately can't skate. However I became a huge hockey fan when my cousin and best friend played as kids. My home is currently adorned with LA Kings, Dodgers and Rams, heavy on the Kings and Rams, with some Pink Floyd mixed in...

    ...so sports are a big part of my life. But...

    ...this win at all costs thing is disturbing on many levels. And this includes cheating.

    Under the Bill Belichick-era Patriots, New England has broken the rules more than any other sports team, by far, and this includes the Houston Astros, who redefined how to cheat and win. The New England Patriots, and their fanbase, seemingly have zero problems with the fact they cheated, multiple times...and nothing was worse than when the Patriots videotaped the St. Louis Rams practice before Super Bowl XLII. The Patriots disguised one of their employees in a Superdome security uniform and videotaped the Rams walk-thru the day before the game. That 'security guard' was later seen boarding the team plane. Former Patriots employee, videographer Matt Walsh, reportedly had the tape in his possession, and 'disappeared' (to Hawaii) while threatening to go public with the tapes. Then out-of-the-blue, Walsh reappears and claims it was all a hoax. At the same time, the 'non-existent' tapes were handed over to the league where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell destroyed them for the 'good of the sport'.

    Wow.

    That was not the first or last time the Patriots were caught cheating or attempting to cheat. But, as they say in new England: "If you ain't cheatin'. you ain't tryin'..."

    Which brings us to the Houston Astros well-designed real-time scam, which involved both high-tech and low-tech, using a centerfield mounted camera and a monitor in the walkway to the clubhouse, and a bat used to beat on a trash can to signal the batter what type of pitch was coming next. In his World Series loss to Houston at their home park, Clayton Kershaw threw 40 breaking balls, and got one swing. One.

    Wow. Again. It's like they weren't even trying to hide the fact they were cheating. If the Astros were smart, they would have swung at a few breaking balls just to make it look good.

    After Houston was caught (thank you Jomboy!), no players were punished. Sure, the team was fined (five million bucks...pocket change to any team owner) and several managers and GM's were fired, but otherwise no discipline was handed out. What kind of message does this send to our children? It's only a crime if you get caught?

    It's bad enough players such as Evander Kane and Kareem Hunt are still allowed to play after all their issues, but when teams blatantly break the rules and no punishment is handed down, sometimes it makes me wonder why I watch sports at all. I almost feel dirty...guilty even...for continuing to be a fan.

    In 'santiclaws' post, his final sentence is: "Ultimately, it's the fans who continue to buy the tickets and indirectly blessing these athletes' continued employment."

    Sad, but true...and guilty as charged.

    Everyone wants to win. But at what cost? Letting criminals play? Breaking the rules?

    I will continue to enjoy watching my sports, but when I see players like Kane out there gooning it up and laughing, it makes me physically ill.

    Unfortunately that's just the way it is today. Long gone are the days of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the MLB Commissioner who banned eight Chicago White Sox players for life after the Black Sox scandal in 1919. There's just too much money involved today. Billions of dollars. And when you're talking about that much cash, everything changes. Which is a crying shame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by santiclaws View Post
    I think a HUGE distinction needs to be made between scumbags who assault others and players who get busted for drugs, especially athletes in sports like hockey whose addiction is the result of trying to play through pain. They're mostly hurting themselves. Who cares if a player took some pills down to the pool for his teammates who are partying? They're adults, they should be able to do what they want.

    I highly recommend this video in which Kessler discusses his health issues as a result of hockey.



    I recall a quote from an unnamed NFL GM, who said the team would employ Jeffrey Dahmer if he ran a 4.2 40. "We'd just say that he had an eating disorder." A vast majority of pro sports teams (including big-time NCAA programs) will overlook major issues with their talented athletes. That's never going to change as long as there's big money to be made by continuing to employ those athletes. Ultimately, it's the fans who continue to buy the tickets and indirectly blessing these athletes' continued employment.
    Yup. Truer words were never written.

    This is why some of my close friends have dropped pro sports from their lives and go to little league games instead. I haven't gone that far, but this all leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moog View Post
    So you are saying Dean flat out lied, and he knew Richards entered the league's substance abuse program.....went publicly to the press (LA Times) to state otherwise......knowing that the entire franchise knew Richards was in the program?

    ....add to that Richards never responded to refute Lombardi's claims of "being played"?


    Where has it been stated with proof that Richards entered the league's substance abuse program when he was a King?
    I'm so sorry. I should have never responded to this thread. My bad, for sure...

    And I am definitely not accusing Lombardi of lying at all. Dean spoke the truth from his point of view.

    And that's all I can say. Once again I apologize for an ill-considered post to this thread. Thanks.

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    There should be a code of ethics across all sports, where all athletes are treated the same way when it comes to breaking certain ethical standards. These should be no different than the discipline you and I would face for breaking certain laws/rules. I dare say that if I had a public track record like this I would not have a job

    https://www.the-sun.com/news/3397325...t-game-fixing/

    The challenge comes around guys that don't necessarily break laws but are just flat out bad people, Kane being one of them. I personally don't think he should set foot on ice as while he's very talented, he's also as much of an a-hole on the ice as he is off the ice. He's just not a good person at all. I guess the question is, should being an a-hole be enough to keep you from playing on an NHL team? I certainly would not want him on the Kings but I can imagine if they did sign him, folks would have very short memories once he started potting goals. I'm sure the Edmonton fans would have been all over him the same way Kings fans were during the playoff series if he was a King.

    At the end of the day, it's become increasingly clear that some sports franchises will try to win at all costs because they know winning cures all ills. It's also become very clear that there looking up to athletes as role models, like I did when I was a kid, is becoming increasingly difficult. I have very little respect for most athletes though hockey seems to be the one area where many of the players are genuine, down to earth people (except Marchand). Don't get me started on the NBA, completely unwatchable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LAKingSteve View Post
    T
    At the end of the day, it's become increasingly clear that some sports franchises will try to win at all costs because they know winning cures all ills.
    Good point, but I think the real reason is not the "sports franchise", but rather the fanbase.

    If the fanbase does not care, then ownership will have a very easy time signing a "bad guy".
    If the fanbase does not stand for signing "bad guys", and sets the bar high for the organization, then the team will have to think twice before signing a "bad guy" and then having to deal the blowback from the fanbase.

    Maybe it can be said that if "your team" has a history of signing "bad guys", then perhaps one should look in the mirror as to the real reason why said team is signing "bad guys".
    The fans allow it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LAKingSteve View Post
    There should be a code of ethics across all sports, where all athletes are treated the same way when it comes to breaking certain ethical standards. These should be no different than the discipline you and I would face for breaking certain laws/rules. I dare say that if I had a public track record like this I would not have a job

    https://www.the-sun.com/news/3397325...t-game-fixing/

    The challenge comes around guys that don't necessarily break laws but are just flat out bad people, Kane being one of them. I personally don't think he should set foot on ice as while he's very talented, he's also as much of an a-hole on the ice as he is off the ice. He's just not a good person at all. I guess the question is, should being an a-hole be enough to keep you from playing on an NHL team? I certainly would not want him on the Kings but I can imagine if they did sign him, folks would have very short memories once he started potting goals. I'm sure the Edmonton fans would have been all over him the same way Kings fans were during the playoff series if he was a King.

    At the end of the day, it's become increasingly clear that some sports franchises will try to win at all costs because they know winning cures all ills. It's also become very clear that there looking up to athletes as role models, like I did when I was a kid, is becoming increasingly difficult. I have very little respect for most athletes though hockey seems to be the one area where many of the players are genuine, down to earth people (except Marchand). Don't get me started on the NBA, completely unwatchable.
    Great post, and not only do you pose an important question, it's really The Question:

    If you team is the recipient of these questionable actions, how would you really feel? If Kane were traded to the Kings, and we won the Stanley Cup, would all be forgiven? If it turns out the Kings were somehow 'bending' the rules, and that resulted in multiple championships, would we look the other way, and still enjoy the victory?

    A profound question, for sure.

    It's a moral issue. And an ethics issue. Dividing right from wrong and out ability to tolerate it. In general, knowing right from wrong is black and white. We learn as children how to differentiate right from wrong. It's what makes us civil and separates us from the animals. And it starts at a young age.

    Let's say you just cheated in a board game at a slumber party. You slipped a $500 bill from the Monopoly banker's drawer, bought Park Place, drove everyone to bankruptcy, and won the game. How would you feel? Would that victory be just as satisfactory as if you won fair and square? Even as a child, if you had any sense of ethics or code of principles, I'd imagine you'd feel a bit guilty, and enjoy the victory less. I know I would.

    If your team (Edmonton) signs a player like Evander Kane, and subsequently wins the Cup, how would you feel?

    As you write, winning cures all ills...but does it really? Or are we just pretending?

    I'm far from a perfect person, and I've met no one that qualifies as infallible. We all make mistakes. I'm a very forgiving person, way too forgiving in many respects. But I prefer my sports teams not break the rules or hire scumbags such as Kane. I honestly have no idea how I'd feel if Kane came here and we won the Cup as a result. Maybe I'd be happy enough to just kinda ignore the fact we hired a bad person to help us win. But I think deep down it would linger as something impure.

    Fortunately, all my teams have won far and square. So I've never had to deal with that particular conundrum.

    But you pose a great question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg or Rog? View Post

    Fortunately, all my teams have won far and square.
    Fair and square doesn't quite exist at the highest level. Often times the best players (McDavid) are the one's who cheat right in front of you and you don't notice. Everyone does it, you have to to win. I don't support cheating, I think it sucks, but you can't deny its existence in any game. I've played other sports at higher levels and the ones who cheated the best usually won, and many would actively practice cheating as a group. To compare the stupid sports with war analogy, all's fair in love and war. This leads to intense levels of stress, without such the game would be much less interesting to watch. It's just part of human nature to want to win at all costs, especially if you're a pro athlete. It's a required trait for a pro athlete. Players like Quick HAVE to give it 100% on the ice to function, and I wouldn't have it another way. Players like Kane however are the opposite of the work hard condition. They work a bit and used their BS to make up for the rest. It's just a different level of athlete IMO. You need good guys and bad guys don't you? Or it would be a bit boring. It's a shame when they actively do dumb **** off the ice as well, but that is not a problem directly tied to sports - many people just suck, and some become pro athletes.
    Last edited by KOPI! PEVS!; May 20th, 2022 at 06:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KOPI! PEVS! View Post
    Fair and square doesn't quite exist at the highest level. Often times the best players (McDavid) are the one's who cheat right in front of you and you don't notice. Everyone does it, you have to to win. I don't support cheating, I think it sucks, but you can't deny its existence in any game. I've played other sports at higher levels and the ones who cheated the best usually won, and many would actively practice cheating as a group. To compare the stupid sports with war analogy, all's fair in love and war. This leads to intense levels of stress, without such the game would be much less interesting to watch. It's just part of human nature to want to win at all costs, especially if you're a pro athlete. It's a required trait for a pro athlete. Players like Quick HAVE to give it 100% on the ice to function, and I wouldn't have it another way. Players like Kane however are the opposite of the work hard condition. They work a bit and used their BS to make up for the rest. It's just a different level of athlete IMO. You need good guys and bad guys don't you? Or it would be a bit boring. It's a shame when they actively do dumb **** off the ice as well, but that is not a problem directly tied to sports - many people just suck, and some become pro athletes.
    As with any profession, athletes represent a cross-section of society, and you're going to get the good, the bad and the in-between. But the problem with professional athletes is the fact they are role models, like it or not. It just comes with the territory.

    Since the beginning of professional sports in this country, there have been some less than noble athletes, from golf to baseball to football to hockey. For every Kurt Warner and Clayton Kershaw, who both run charitable foundations in their names, there is a Michael Vick and Ray Rice. But for the most part, fans seem willing to forgive and forget, with some exceptions (murder and dog fighting). After his sex scandal became public, I thought Tiger Woods career was over, but today he's once again mobbed by fans on sight. It seems some fans have short memories. But after the scandal first broke, Tiger was not exactly welcomed back with open arms.



    For me personally, I've only known a few professional athletes, and that's only because we played sports together as kids before they became successful pro athletes. But pro athletes are people too, and not infallible role models, so I try to cut them slack if they make mistakes (Jarrett Stoll and Mike Richards first come to mind), but I draw the line at athletes that abuse or otherwise harm women.

    Pro athletes are well-compensated for playing games they love to play, and being in the spotlight is part of the deal. And they are expected to act accordingly.

    By all accounts, Evander Kane is not a good person. As reported in The Athletic, several key players on the Sharks informed team brass "that if Kane was going to be a part of the Sharks going forward, they didnít want to be.Ē Ouch. That speaks volumes about the type of person and player Kane is. But there he is, out there playing for the Cup, despite it all.

    Whatever. It gives me someone to root against...and on the lighter side of the subject, we get to see and hear things like this (Matthew Tkachuk making fun of Kane's money troubles):

    https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/tkac...-flames-oilers

    I never thought I'd be cheering for Tkachuk...under any circumstances...but that's good stuff. Looking forward to game two tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg or Rog? View Post
    Great post, and not only do you pose an important question, it's really The Question:

    If you team is the recipient of these questionable actions, how would you really feel? If Kane were traded to the Kings, and we won the Stanley Cup, would all be forgiven? If it turns out the Kings were somehow 'bending' the rules, and that resulted in multiple championships, would we look the other way, and still enjoy the victory?


    If your team (Edmonton) signs a player like Evander Kane, and subsequently wins the Cup, how would you feel?

    As you write, winning cures all ills...but does it really? Or are we just pretending?
    I think the pretending thing would vary depending on the individual. I would personally still be very happy that my team won given there are probably 30+ other players that contributed to the success. But there would still be a bad taste in my mouth that a guy like Kane is on the roster, especially if he contributed significantly. The other side of the coin is people in our fanbase that wouldn't care if he was on the team...some might even embrace him. Heck there were people here that were all about bringing Voynov back because they thought he would help us win...despite slamming his wife's face into a TV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moog View Post
    So you are saying Dean flat out lied, and he knew Richards entered the league's substance abuse program.....went publicly to the press (LA Times) to state otherwise......knowing that the entire franchise knew Richards was in the program?

    ....add to that Richards never responded to refute Lombardi's claims of "being played"?


    Where has it been stated with proof that Richards entered the league's substance abuse program when he was a King?
    ^^^This.

    If there is one event which will forever taint the Lombardi era with me, then it will be classless way they handled the Mike Richards situation. All these years later I can remember how it was leaked (to the sycophant Kings press) and the press made their clownish statements along the lines of "I can't talk about it directly but it is icky. It is really icky." Making it sound like Richards did something truly gross or creepy. And then when the news finally breaks, we hear that it is a guy who plays non-stop all the time is addicted to pain pills. It was such bull****. Just a contrived excuse for Dean to perform a buyout after he'd blown his opportunity to execute a compliance buyout the summer before.

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