Thursday, March 10, 2011

This weeks's Cheating Bastard Award goes to...

So much bad behavior from responsible adults this week.

First, Ohio State University head football coach, Jim Tressel, a man renowned for his integrity and paternal attributes, was caught lying. Allegedly, Tressel was informed by a trusted source, during April of 2010, that a few of his star players had been selling football paraphernalia (rings, jerseys, jackets.) to a tattoo shop operator, in exchange for cash and tattoos.

I wonder if that's like when you return something to Costco, and, rather than giving you the choice between cash and store credit, they say, "Okay, sir, we can refund your purchase in cash or you can step over to the right and Turk can etch a scorpion on your saggy right pectoral."

Even though the merchandise was considered property of the players, NCAA bylaws clearly state that gifts given by the institution to the student athlete may not be sold for profit, since this benefit is not available to other students at the school.

Coach Tressel waited until the fall, 2010 football season had concluded before reporting his players' transgressions to the university's compliance office, claiming that he had just learned about them. When confronted with evidence that he'd actually been informed back in April, the sweater-vest-wearing father figure stated that he would have said something, but he just didn't know whom to tell.

Hmmm...didn't know whom to tell.

Maybe that'll be my defense next time I get yelled at for not refilling the toilet paper. Didn't know whom to tell.

Let's face it. Jim Tressel didn't want to risk a few games without his star players...so he cheated.

We've all cheated, once, twice or fifty times. We cheated as kids, and we've cheated as adults.

Have you ever been with a large group of people, and someone says something really funny, but for whatever reason, you're the only one who hears? Then, when things quiet down, you repeat the joke and everyone laughs? You stole the joke. You cheated.

Or how about that time you found out you were getting the expanded cable package, but were only paying for the basic service? Sweet! Screw those guys! Cheating, nonetheless.

Little kids cheat all the time, but that's because they don't really understand the rules in the first place. In fact, every time I was forced to play Candyland with my young daughters, I not only let them cheat, I encouraged it: "You know what? Actually, your piece should be over here, on Queen Frostine. You don't really have to go back twenty-seven spaces."

The only adults who enjoy Candyland are serving time in Super Max solitary.

Our parents, and society at large, tolerates diminishing doses of cheating as we age, which is why the grown-ups who do it are the most despicable. Think about those such as  Enron and A-Rod, Milli Vanilli and Rosie Ruiz, who won the New York City Marathon thanks to a relaxing ride on a subway train.

They are not liked.

And that brings me to my other recipients of this week's Undistinguished Cheater Award: the Republican members of the Wisconsin Assembly, who circumvented rules on quorum and crammed through the passage of a bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state employees. Since the Democratic contingent of the Assembly has boycotted these proceedings, not enough members were in attendance to stage a vote on the bill.

However, since a quorum is only necessary for voting on bills which pertain to spending, all spending language was removed, thereby making their tactic possible.

Possible, but unethical. Possible, but highly unpopular and divisive.

Possible, because they cheated.

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