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Honesty, integrity and trust

I’ve been feeling down about the human species this week. Trust and integrity seem to be things of the past in many ways.

Over the last couple of years or so there just seems to have been a plethora of “No, no, not me, I am innocent” cries followed by “I am so sorry I stuffed up, please forgive me”.

American cyclist Lance Armstrong giving a talk...

American cyclist Lance Armstrong giving a talk in 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports people do seem to be high on the list but they are by no means the only ones. The first high profile one recently was Tiger Woods and his women. Then we had Lance Armstrong and his drugs. We now have the Essendon Football Club (my team) drowning in accusations as I type. I am an Essendon supporter and have been for years. Hird has always been such a magnificent role model and I DO NOT want him to be one of the bad guys. Plus Mr O Jnr 1 has defected from soccer and is playing AFL for our local club which falls in Essendon’s catchment. If he is good enough…….

We’ve had politicians in it up to their eyeballs, from both sides of the fence. If I typed all their names, I’d fill this article with nothing else. No, don’t go telling me your party are all angels, they aren’t.

All of the ones I can think of protested innocence SO LOUDLY, Lance Armstrong probably loudest and longest, yet in the end the feet of clay crumbled and the stars fell. Then comes the pleading for forgiveness. You know what? As far as I am concerned, you can keep your high profile “I am only human” crap and just go away.

My children come from a country that is known for corruption. My husband despairs of that situation and prays for change for the land of his birth. A place where you have to pay bribes daily just to go about your normal life. Not unusual in many parts of the world, I have to say, as I discovered from a co-worker that even in parts of Europe a quick bribe will prevent a traffic fine.

I want my children to see honesty, trust and integrity at work. Yet when we have these high profile people crash and burn, what am I supposed to say? Yes, they are only human, but is this what humans are about? Win at any cost (whether it be sport or politics)?

Who do I hold up as examples of honesty and integrity? Who do I say can be trusted?

Personally, in the current case, I am hoping that Hird has been nothing more that stupid enough to trust a man with a questionable past. Then I tell myself he shouldn’t be that stupid in his position. I tell myself that the investigations are still in process and procedural fairness and due process must be allowed. I remember Hird’s surgery after the game in Perth and him returning to the field. I hope like hell he isn’t one of the bad guys.

I am a mother trying to raise four children in a new and very different culture. Trying to guide them along new paths. What if Mr O Jnr 1 does turn out to be a damn good player? Would I allow him to be signed?

What is wrong with just being a fit and healthy player? Why all the shady sports science? I don’t like it and I hope it goes away.

I was thrilled we won last night. Yet in the back of my mind, I was wondering. I hate the doubt, the questions, the feeling of being let down. The feeling I may have to protect my kids from a sport I really enjoy following.

Please let it all be OK in the end. I want to know there is still honesty and integrity in our western culture: the culture we are so keen to hold up as being THE best culture in the world.

EDIT: I have just read this article in The Age which shows the forms players signed were specifically, in my opinion, designed to persuade the lay person. http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/players-cautioned-on-injection-complications-20130412-2hr8m.html In my opinion, Dank should be banned for life from ANY involvement in sport.

Matthew Lloyd has also written a good article on James Hird. http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/fight-on-20130413-2hslr.html

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15 comments on “Honesty, integrity and trust

  1. While footballers, for example, get paid obscene amounts of money for kicking a ball around, there will be cheating and corruption!

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    • I didn’t mention money, simply because with sports people I am not sure it is all about money – I think a lot of it is about the glory. Most of them have more money than they know what to do with already – it is about pushing the envelope in a lot of cases, I think.

      Also, while our footballers DO get paid nicely, it is a pittance compared with UK and USA players!

      Back to the glory – look at Lance as an example – richer than many will ever be, but still, even now, wants to WIN. Addicted to the competition aspects of it all.

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  2. It is sad to me that people feel the need to cheat at all, it is even more disappointing that they lie about it. Lance’s story made me feel let down in humanity. Seriously. Someone I had looked up to since the first day I heard of him, whom I followed and admired…with no integrity at all. How sad is that? I get it. I really do, getting caught up in the lies can happen…it just makes me really sad, and somewhat less trusting… :(

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  3. So many scandals in football recently. It has got me wondering whether club officials have become more immoral or whether it is just more difficult to keep scandals hidden from the public domain.

    If I were a club official, I would look at what has been going on and say to myself, this is why morality and integrity matters. For that, I can look on the positive side here.

    Anyway, lots of fumbling in the game last night but it was a good win.

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    • It was a damn good win! Presumably also there is not a lot of shady sports science assistance happening either! :)

      Yes, if I was a club or AFL official I’d be having a VERY hard look at processes and procedures around approvals.

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  4. Robyn, excellent article.

    So true on all fronts, nobody wants to be accountable for their own actions anymore. This the public stupidly encourages by refusing to name these and so many high profile people for what they truly are.
    Liars, thieves, drug users and all round simply people of less than credible character.
    Thank god many can play sport or they wouldn’t have any credibility at all.

    I still fume over the Ben Cousins disgrace, that anyone could so obviously break almost every rule, then defy the games authorities and get signed again by another club defies belief.

    The day he was signed was the day I wrote a letter to the Richmond Football Club advising that any club who forgave such as Ben Cousins and his deliberate actions was a club I would no longer be a member of and I resigned my membership.
    Then I spent a week trying to make my son see him for what he was, but it was tough with the media making him into some kind of fallen rock star.

    If Hird is innocent of simply being stupidly trusting and using bad judgement great, but if not, the full weight of penalties and public disgrace needs to fall upon him.

    Only in this way will the kids of Australia begin to realise the difference between whats acceptable and whats not, who is a true hero to emulate and who is to be shunned and derided as a cheating liar.

    However I suspect the road to that end result is long and heavily obstructed by greedy officials and shameless self promoters.

    Cheers.

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    • Thanks Brooksy. You know, I forgot about Ben when I was writing. Silly of me.

      I know people can change with the right help and so on, but really there has to be a meaningful penalty. Look at all the talk that Lance only came clean in the end so he might be allowed to compete again. We allow these guys to repent, all is forgiven and they become repeat offenders.

      The repent and repeat pattern is common in other areas of our society too, which is out of the scope of this article. Even so, we need to ensure than we don’t allow so damn many “strikes” before there is an “out”. There is not enough of a warning for others who may be tempted to walk the same path.

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      • Exactly, Cousins and those you list evaded testing, lied, and failed to show remorse until forced to do so. Cousins for me was one of the worst and how was he rewarded. A big fat new contract with Richmond. I almost threw up in disgust. Then I resigned my membership, sadly I was one of few who did, or else you maybe could have written this article focussing on the outstanding ethics and morals now contained in Australian sport.

        That would have been enjoyable to read…(-:

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      • I am encouraged by the fact Essendon seem to have come forward unprompted, which is a positive.

        I think with Ben it was a case of people hoping he had turned his life around, but I don’t think he has really. I must admit I didn’t keep up with his saga, it just all got too much.

        We WANT our heros to “come good” but so many don’t seem to manage it. I wonder if Tiger is a one-woman man these days? Let’s hope he learnt a lesson.

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