chapter  13
Cheating and self-deception in sport
ByGordon Reddiford
Pages 15

It is nothing very new that has brought me to this topic. From the earliest records of sport in the Classical world we learn of cheating and gratuitous violence in sporting contests (Skillen A. 1993 passim). Given the appropriate qualification that most sportspersons play fairly, it is nevertheless incontrovertible that a range of morally-dubious (and worse) activities flourish at all levels at which sports are played. Violence, the use of steroids, bribery, betting and ‘bungs’ have come to characterize much of sport, and its backstage contexts. Even that model of cricketing excellence, C.B.Fry, said: ‘It is widely acknowledged that, if both sides agreed to cheat, then cheating is fair’. What is unsettling is the claim that it is widely acknowledged. For if this is the case then playing fairly, without cheating, could come to have but a tenuous hold upon the sentiments and motivation of participants, especially when cash is at stake, which is the case in most élite sport. All, then, might be fair in love, warand sport.