The Concept Of Integrity: Explicitly Ignored?

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2009

Integrity, often synonymous with honesty, represents a person's capacity to stand by his righteous morals and values thereby not compromising with his conscience, especially, when the tug to perform any such immoral act dominates the keener sense of the mind and heart.

In day-to-day mundane life, such scenarios keep arising and most of the time we end up falling prey to the temptation, certain situations often demanding that we harden ourselves and do what is needed at that spur of the moment; in a way that's also integrity because we are doing what is right by doing a wrong because the "wrong" is what the "right" is at that juncture.

In the Middle East, at certain times, doctors have to lie by the skin of the teeth to protect the virtues of the girls so that they aren't abused sexually and physically; that's a lie that they utter but since it's for a noble cause, it's not compromising one's values but upholding the medical oath that the profession demands!

But the same when we take sports and sportsmen into consideration, alters the situation and the scenario immensely, transforming it into an act of cheating and sabotaging an opportunity that would have been somebody else's to cherish and relive.

It's easy to quote "All's fair in love, game and war" but the degrading deed that has been carried out, not only spoils and wanes the enthusiasm and the expectation of a player or a team, but also the fans' as well.

Take the match fixing saga in cricket as an example; when Hansie Cronje confessed that he had rigged some of the matches he had contested for money and the succeeding revelations that followed his act, the exuberance that the fans had for the sport diminished in a jiffy.

They felt betrayed, for their support, for their cries of agony when their team lost [supposedly due to betting], for their prayers to which no God could have paid any heed...their hearts were ripped and torn to shreds, without any preamble and just like that!

And it's not just Cricket and cricketing fans who have faced such moments in their life; during the 1986 FIFA World Cup match between England and Argentina, one white lie by the star player of that time wrecked a possible deserving chance for the English football team.

The "Hand of God" goal, might have brought World Cup success to the Argentinian football team but the goal will always be looked upon as a black mark in the career of the legend named Diego Maradona, never to be erased whatever excuse or justification he might have come up in the past with or is still pondering upon.

Marion Jones, after the 2000 Sydney Olympics; Mike Tyson in his boxing match against Evander Holyfield are all examples of sports stars with blemish and taint on their guilty conscience to what could have been a noteworthy achievement for them.

As many sporting action that the world sees today, to each of them, there are such "noble" hearted players who live up to the image of dishonesty and disregard to their choice of profession.

But more dramatic than their action, is the rigmarole that most of these "affected" professionals portray after their action is exposed is enough to land them a role in some weepy soap opera, as though they are the tormented victims rather than the accused.

The tears that they shed while accepting their folly, makes one wonder as to why the guilty conscience that struck them off so late and the tears that came pouring forth through their ducts, didn't arrive when someone else was weeping after seeing his/her hard work and sweat crumble to smithereens?

The show of bravery that they show while acknowleding to their fans and the stoicness that they maintain, makes one ask, why didn't their conscience prickle when they let go off the rightful spirit of the game and; when it mattered the most: between a choice of "winning is everything" and "winning is the only thing", why did they pick the latter than the former?