Tom Brady is considered as one of the best American football players to walk on the field. But sometimes, you want to win so much, you do horrible things. In the 2015 American Football Conference (AFC) championship, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won against the Indiana Colts. Each football game has 12 footballs that are inspected before being used. However, in the championship game, 11 of the 12 balls were not inflated to the regulation weight of 12.5 to 13.5 lbs. The balls were measured at 12.5 lbs. but because of the cold air, the ball lost air during the game. Why would you want to flatten a football? If you flatten a football, you get a better grip on it. But this wasn’t the worst thing the Patriots did—they tried to blame it on the NFL! In press conferences after the game, the team denied any foul play and said the NFL was behind the deflating. The team was fined $1,000,000 and was not allowed to pick college players in the first and fourth round of the draft.
Sometimes, athletes go so far to win that they commit crimes. On January 6th, 1994, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were going to face each other in the US Olympic Trials in Figure Skating. When Nancy Kerrigan was practicing for the trials, a man used a weapon to attack Nancy, hitting her in the knee and hurting her severely. It was later discovered that the mysterious man who hurt Nancy was Shane Stant, who was hired by Tonya’s ex-husband. Shane Stant was later arrested. During the Olympics, Nancy competed against Tonya. Tonya had problems with the laces on her ice skates, which led to her devastating loss in the Olympics while Nancy placed second. With evidence mounted against her, Tonya admitted she knew who was behind the attack. Tonya received a $160,000 fine, three years’ probation, and was banned from the Olympics forever.
In the 2017 World Series, the Astros played against the Dodgers and the Astros won their first ever World Series, but something was fishy. The Athletic published an article based on the Astros’ activities throughout the season as well as an interview with their former player, Mike Fiers. He snitched on his team, telling the publication that they had a camera hidden in center field to steal signs! If you’re wondering, “What is sign stealing?”, a sign is what a catcher signals the pitcher on what ball to throw. If the catcher wants the pitcher to throw a fastball (a ball thrown at top speed), then they might hold up a finger to signal, “I want you to throw the ball as fast as you can!” The Astros staff would see these signals and bang on a trash can to tell the batter what the ball will be. The team was fined $5 million dollars and was banned from selecting players during the college draft. This punishment was very small because they ultimately took away the fun in baseball, rigging the whole system.
Cheating is never OK, and no one should ever take shortcuts to success. If they do, they’ll most likely get caught and their reputation will never be the same. Why do athletes cheat? They cheat because they want to feel powerful, and they want to go down in history–they want to cheat the system without anyone knowing. And you? What if you found the answer key to a test? Would you use it? The rule of thumb may be: cheaters be cheaters, but cheaters be caught.