Whether a rule change is required, I won't get into that, but as to whether it was cheating or not, I'm left with the impression that many of the ones who call it cheating or not sportsman like didn't really grew up with soccer...if you grew up instead with basketball...what do you think of this:
0.5 seconds left, pass to Shaq underneath the basket, Shaq's team loses 77 to 78...if Shaq dunks...game over, his team wins 79 to 78...so say a player "fouls" him (i.e. breaks the rules...the no contact rule of basketball)...so Shaq now has to shoot two free throws (let's call it a penalty kick if you like) he misses both free throws...the other team gets the ball inbounds...ref signal the end of the game, Shaq's team losses... is that cheating? If so, they have been cheating in basketball ALL THE TIME for a LONG TIME.
In sports I think it is accepted that certain rules can be broken and the punishment will be taken and some times teams in desperation plays break them, precisely in thehopes that the punishment would be less than the advantage taken.
Maradona cheated, clearly...he didn't take any punishment, he intended to deceive the referee...Henry cheated...he was clearly trying (and succeeded) to break a rule and NOT get any punishment.
Suarez, on the other hand, broke the rule and stood ready to take the punishment (you saw he didn't even try to argue with the ref, he walk right out, he knew he was done...I grant you, should the hand ball has been such that the ref had not seen it, would Suarez have come forth and confess? I don't know, if he didn't that would be cheating....to be frank though...in that sitution while it is the right thing to do...very few would be honest enough...I'm still to see a tennis player who gets ball called OUT on his side and tells the ref: No, no, actually he hit the line, give him the point....if he saw it clearly, he should....but again, people take what's given). But that is still cheating....but Suarez...he broke a rule and pay the penalty. Didn't lie, didn't deceive...if he is a cheater, then every Ghanean who commited any of the many fouls through the match (and Uruguayans for that matter) are cheaters also...that would probably make almost everybody except the keepers cheaters, right?
Basketball is a game of cheaters (they actually get to "cheat" 5 times and only on the 6th are the sent out....why is it allowed that they cheat 5 times if it is cheating? The only answer that makes sense to me is that...it is NOT cheating...it's just part of the game...you break a rule, then a consequence follows.
Take it to the extreme...if I kick the ball out of bounce...that's a break of the rule...the punishment is the other team gets the ball, I'm NOT supposed to kick it out of bounds....but if I do (because that's the best safest play at the time and that "robs" the other team of a good chance to score)...since I did it by breaking the rule that the ball must stay in bounds....is that cheating? no...it's just using the rules of the game.
To me Suarez did the same thing, a penalty kick should be score...there are no "saved" penalty kicks, just ones poorly kicked...it's just simple physics....
Now, should the rule be changed? This happens so infrequently....that I can think a handball that saves a goal in the last second...is the first time I've seen it since 1974 in world cups I've watched... I would say "no" plus it adds a lot of drama (which is why I watch sports), the punishment fits the crime and like with Basketball if you miss your free throws then sorry Shaq, that's your fault.
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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