Sport bombshells affect perception

HAS the world of sport ever faced a bigger identity crisis?

Bombshell after bombshell of allegations and admissions has the general public suddenly questioning everything to do with elite sport.

Lance Armstrong’s confession.

News international police have smashed a world football match fixing ring involving hundreds of matches all the way up to the FIFA World Cup.

Some of Major League Baseball’s biggest and best paid stars drawn into new allegations of performance enhancing drug use.

Baltimore Ravens’ American football icon Ray Lewis’ fairytale career finish in the Superbowl on Monday tainted by claims he used deer antler extract allegedly containing growth hormone to recover from injury.  

What these scandals and allegations have done is move the weight of pure public opinion on the amazing performances by the world’s biggest stars that have thrilled us through the years to “suss”.

Until this week there was little hope that Australian sports were largely clean of such scandal.

The Essendon Football Club’s supplement saga and the release of an Australian Crime Commission report into drugs and corruption in Australian sport shattered those hopes this week.

Former Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority head Richard Ings made perhaps the best point in all that has been said and written this week: “Sport is all about integrity. It’s not just the actual integrity but the perception of integrity.”

It’s a great statement because right now perception is damaging world sport.

In that regard it’s brilliant to see the Victoria Police will establish a sports integrity unit to target revelations made in the Australian Crime Comissino report.

Sport is reportedly a $9 billion industry for Australia. It’s too valuable to destroy. So it’s essential that lost integrity is restored as quickly as possible.

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