It was the final of the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase competition at a big money “amateur” NCAA PAC-12 track and field meet, the Pepsi Team Invitational, held at the University of Oregon. Tanguy Pepiot, a runner from France for the Oregon Ducks – one of over 7,000 foreign college athletes imported by US universities to boost their programs – had a large lead with about 100 metres left. As he approached the finish line he looked to the crowd and raised his right arm twice hoping to increase the noise level of the home team crowd a few decibels as he coasted to the finish. University of Washington’s Meron Simon, from 10 metres behind, tracked him down, overtook the senior and won the race by .10-seconds. Tanguy’s face at the end is priceless:
As for Tanguy, he obviously wasn’t happy (see end of video) and said, “I saw the crowd, and it was very loud. I just wanted to celebrate winning in front of our crowd. I was excited about it. But the race wasn’t over. … It wasn’t very smart. But it was a learning experience.”
Along with the never-say-die attitude of Meron Simon, and the old adages of “the race is not over until it’s over” or “don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” I believe there is another moral in this story that is missing from the many American commentaries on this race: the negation of the ideals of amateur sport, sportsmanship, e.g., respect for one’s opponents, that is characteristic of too much American and Canadian professional sport. I remember seeing different competitions internationally where the winner would not leave the finish line until the last competitor would cross, and then shake his or her hand.
Quarterback Tom Brady, it seems, probably had knowledge of footballs being deflated. Maybe. | MADDIE MEYER / GETTY IMAGES
Where cheating is an organized system: “If employees of the Patriots could pull off cheating for over a year, get caught in obvious lies, leave text message evidence, impede NFL investigators, and come out of it with a report that cannot definitively say they cheated, then it raises some questions. First: Why wouldn’t you cheat, any way you could? Second: Who else is cheating, with their doofuses, trying to gain an angle in this merciless league? Third: Imagine if the NFL spent this much time and effort investigating how it handles concussions, and tried for the truth.” And, fourth, what if the criminal justice system was investigating this sports cartel, as the alleged offence in the “deflategate” is, in fact, a criminal offence under law, e.g., fraud, rather than an in-house, private investigation?
By BRUCE ARTHUR in the Toronto Star
By TONY SEED
Exempt from the rule of law by U.S. federal legislation, the powerful sports cartels rule their domain by exception. Once again the US National Football League (NFL) is investigating itself for dirty tricks. The articulate Seattle player, Richard Sherman, denounced it openly, i.e., without fear of fine, declaring that “it looks like a conflict of interest.”
For the past three years, the NFL has faced one “moral crisis” after the other involving organized fraud, collusion, violence and cheating of the health and safety of its players, constituting a credibility crisis that is part and parcel of the overall crisis of the American economic and political system and its institutions, with economic crisis at the base.
The latest crisis: Did the New England Patriots intentionally deflate the footballs used in the first half in the AFC Championship game on January 18 to gain an unfair competitive advantage? Continue reading
The “Red Devils” bedevilled the devil. The country that hosts the NATO headquarters – at a time of economic hardship, NATO is constructing a huge new $1 billion headquarters in Brussels. The eight-floor structure contains enough blast-proof glass to cover 10 football fields – ousted the military bloc’s supreme commander in a World Cup match played in Salvador, Brazil on July 1st. The significance of the match was as much off the pitch, as on.
The American Dream
The thinly disguised shock and disappointment of the TV broadcasters and sports media, which clearly wanted the United States to go through to the final rounds for commercial and political reasons, at the victory and the disparity in play was all too apparent. Continue reading
Algerian star dedicates World Cup success to the Arab world, ‘especially to Palestine’
Algeria’s qualification to the knockout round of the 2014 World Cup is historic. On June 26, after a late equalizer against Russia, sending them home on Aeroflot, Algeria clinched its spot in the round of 16, finishing second in Group H. This will be the first time a North African team has advanced to the knockout stage since 1986. And with Nigeria finishing second in Group F, two African teams will play in the next round of World Cup action for the first time ever.
It’s not just a football game. There was a tweet in Arabic from the leading Algerian player, attacking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli, dedicating the victory to Palestine.
The message can roughly be translated to, “Thankful to God that we forty million Algerians and millions of Arabs have advanced. We gift all of the Arabs with this win, especially the people of Palestine. Thank you.” Continue reading
Photo of the day: Vincent Enyeama, Nigeria’s No 1 goalie, was all smiles as he pumped fists with Argentine talisman, Lionel Messi, in the tunnel before the world cup game between Nigeria and Argentina; with the Albiceleste running out 3-2 winners.
Yesterday, as the Nigerian and Argentinian teams at the World Cup waited together momentarily in the tunnel before emerging onto the field for the second half, the Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama reached out to Lionel Messi and patted him on the back.
Nigeria had stood on the brink of being the first, and only, team from Africa to qualify for the round of 16. The Super Eagles, the reigning African champions, required just a point from their match with Argentina to secure qualification. But one man, Messi, had stood in their way.
Despite facing one of the top players of all-time, Nigeria keeper and vice-captain Vincent Enyeama had not been worried, as a press report published the day before the match related. Continue reading
Rogers Sportsnet is blowing its horn. “Our own Damien Cox,” it reported tonight, to paraphrase, has the scoop on the appointment of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s (MLSE) new president, Brendan Shanahan. The NHL executive is further being called “the former Olympic champion.” Damien Cox is a Toronto Star columnist and a regular on PrimeTimeSports.
How do journalistic scoops and exclusives work these days? A few days ago, we blew the whistle on W5’s “scoop” on the Canadian Special Forces operating in West Africa, which was actually arranged by the Department of National Defence. Rogers owns 50 per cent of MLSE and a new $5 billion contract for TV rights to Canadian NHL games. Does one think this “exclusive” non-story was going to be leaked from the boardroom of the MLSE empire to the CBC? Continue reading
Mike Babcock’s rant: “And the other thing that happens for the NHL player, and probably for you in the media, is the respect you have for the opposition.” Welcome to the G-20 Winter Games and the Harper agenda for a “new patriotism.” | TONY SEED* Continue reading
What is the real match, the real contest here? Is the Olympic spirit manifested in Sochi or is it something relegated to the distant past? The whole pragmatic, unprincipled “winning is everything” approach embodied by the “Own the Podium” program of the Harper government and the corporate monopoly sponsors of the Canadian Olympic Committee is incompatible with the high ideals of sport and the modern spirit of friendship and mutual respect between peoples and their athletes. These ideals are manifested in some of the most indelible Olympic memories that have nothing to do with medals and victories. One of those moments happened a few days ago when a Swiss gold medalist waited at the finish line of a cross-country ski race for 28 minutes to shake hands with the skier from Peru who came in last, as pictured below.
Respect for one’s opponent in competition is a well-known norm and one of the high ideals of sportsmanship. This human-centred ethos is under assault from all sides by commercialized, professional sport, with its basis in the fetish of capitalist competition. The big sports monopolies, such as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), stage the arena to promote blind, mind-numbing support for the “home team” as “our team.”
LA Galaxy David Beckham is covered in streamers handed out by management as he prepares to take a corner kick against Toronto FC during the first half of their quarter-final CONCACAF Champions League soccer match at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on March 7, 2012
Fans at the Air Canada Centre are organized to disrupt opposing players when they take foul shots, or incited to boo basketball or hockey players who have been either traded away by MLSE or signed with another franchise. The sports media sets the table with a “debate” as to why the athlete should be vilified. This hooligan behaviour is astounding. Continue reading