You can now add deflated footballs to a long list of other ploys that athletes and organizations use to gain an edge during athletic competition. Past scenarios include scuffed baseballs, hollowed out baseball bats, sticky substances on receiving gloves, and oh yeah the usage of performing enhancing drugs. Remember the Vlade Divac flop days or when Jason Kidd intentionally spilled water on the floor? I think we all remember George Brett running toward the umpire after his home run was waived off. Maybe there is some truth about the Howie Long jersey that was recently auctioned. Should we really be shocked about deflatable footballs used by an organization that was involved in spygate? No, not really.
Athletes are looking for an edge. Their mindset is to defeat the competitor period. Society still gets excited and/or shocked to hear of an athlete that has used steroids or hormones to better their performance or of an organization that has altered the equipment to gain an edge for their athletes. Athletes have spent years perfecting a craft throughout the various levels of competition while organizations have paid millions for the services of those athletes. For those athletes or organizations, using a cream, or doctoring equipment is something that falls within the window of competition. Remember, although the pay is great, the window is so small for professional athletes that everything is fair game in trying to create an edge in competition. The same small window is their for organizations. We’ve all heard the phrase “rebuilding” defined as an organization that no longer has a collective group of athletes that can compete for a world championship.
Athletes and organizations are in the business of competing and ultimately winning. They will take chances, whether within the rule guidelines or not, to be successful. Interesting enough this includes some of the so-called model franchises.
Like one of my former coaches told me, if you ain’t cheatin you ain’t trying.
Dr. Timothy Foley is the Dean of Student Services and a faculty member for the United States Sports Academy.