Arise, ye hypocrites.
Roids are back in the news, thanks to the Biogenesis scandal and the subsequent suspensions, and with them comes righteous indignation and faux outrage.
Ryan Braun is an asshole, not only because he cheated, but because he turned a guy’s life upside down with his lies, having the audacity to say he lived by honor, integrity, and dignity because he thought he got away with his transgression. Indeed, any athlete who uses PEDs is an asshole, plagued with the vileness of selfishness, greed, and an utter lack of integrity.
But what do you expect in our me, me, me society?
Steroids are not a baseball problem or a sports problem. Steroids are a symptom of a greater societal problem. We are taught early on in life that individual achievement is key - whether it is winning a race or scoring the highest on a paper. We have widespread inequality and a winner-take-all philosophy. Concepts like honor and integrity and community are unknown to far too many Americans; it’s all about getting what’s mine, regardless of who or what gets hurt in the process. Sports are but one industry where cheating occurs to get ahead, to be the best, and to get more money.
Take a look at Wall Street. Bankers brought the global economy to a halt by cheating. One survey of 500 financial professionals found these sad results about the banking industry:
· 26 percent said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.
· 39 percent believe that it’s likely that their competitors who have succeeded did so by bending or breaking the rules.
· 24 percent said they thought that the rules may need to be broken in order to be successful.
· 16 percent said they would commit insider trading in order to make $10 million if they could get away with it.
(Hell, bankers can’t even stay loyal to their spouses. This survey shows 72% of bankers commit adultery.)
Cheating is rampant in schools, both in high school and in college. It is an acceptable means of getting ahead to young people. According to many studies, 80 to 95 percent of high school students admitted to cheating at least once in a year. MBA students are the worst, with this study showing 56 percent of them have cheated, compared with 54 percent in engineering, 48 percent in education, and 45 percent in law school. Academics is a competitive realm; students have no problem using dishonest means to beat out their peers. Parents and teachers even encourage it. Along those lines, cheating is also prevalent among educators to improve their rankings and to meet standardized test expectations. It’s all about getting ahead.
This is not different than athletes cheating at sports. One study shows that cheating at sports starts at an early age, with parents encouraging their children to cheat. Yet we expect them to be saints when they become pros?
And Corporate America. Good lord. Enron. Worldcom. Halliburton. Need I say more?
Doctors take bounties to get patients into clinical trials. Journalists and writers plagiarize or publish fiction as truth. Overbilling is a standard practice in the legal profession.
So why the righteous indignation and faux outage at Braun and co? They’re typical Americans, cheating their way to getting ahead.
Still not convinced? Hey, David Callahan wrote a whole book about our cheating culture. And check out the website CheatingCulture.com.
We should use this opportunity as a society to take a look in the mirror. Chances are, you’re as guilty as Braun.