What is Cheating in Sport?

My book The Edge focuses on cheating in sport. I have made Chapter 3, which defines cheating, freely available here in PDF. Here is how the chapter starts . . .

In discussions of sport, the word cheating is used in blunt fashion to refer to a wide range of actions. For instance, in 2016, tennis star Maria Sharapova failed a drug test at the Australian Open for taking a substance called meldonium, which had been added to the list of prohibited substances just a couple of weeks earlier. Sharapova revealed that she had been taking meldonium for a decade, leading former top-ten professional tennis player Jennifer Capriati to label Sharapova a cheater over those ten years: “I didn’t have the high priced team of drs [sic] that found a way for me to cheat and get around the system and wait for science to catch up.” In stark contrast, another former professional, John McEnroe, said that Sharapova’s use of the drug before it was added to the prohibited list was fair game: “If a drug is legal? That is like a no-brainer. I mean, are you kidding? People have been looking since the beginning of time for an edge, and you’re constantly looking for these things in any way, shape or form.”

To productively debate the point of contention between Capriati and McEnroe, we need a clear conception of what it means to cheat in sport, as well as a clear idea of those other activities that might go right up to the edge but don’t quite make it to the other side. In other words, we need a palette of shades of gray rather than black and white. This chapter develops a vocabulary for discussions about the edge. It offers a definition of cheating and related behaviors, and thus it sets the stage for consideration of the five battlegrounds in the next part of this book.

Read the rest here in PDF.

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