So after a week now, on here, of name calling and slagging, I’d like to start attempting to move the conversation on to pastures new.
It is easy to perceive that in all conversations, that language can be a massive barrier to progress. One can debate and wrangle endlessly on any topic, never coming to a conclusion. The language we use to affect that debate can be simple or convoluted, but is based upon the premise that all parties to the debate agree on the standard definitions contained therein.
It is my opinion that so much of the debate regarding the on-goings at Rangers is derived from flawed or incongruous assumptions. We are assuming that both sides of the argument are defining their respective positions using the same words, where the meaning of those words themselves has not been agreed.
I would like both sides of this heated debate to step back and try to come to a consensus on the standard definitions of the core language. Once agreement is reached on this simple part of the process, all other debate can be structured on top of those solid foundations for the greater good.
I will provide here an example: Ten years ago my mother and I sat down to debate one Saturday afternoon the pros and cons of abortion, contraception and their interaction with society. I represented the Pro choice liberal standpoint, she the conservative pro life.
After hours of debate we were no closer to a conclusion and were considering closing out the debate when I hit upon the nub of the problem, we had not sought agreement on what actually constitutes abortion and contraception.
So we stepped back to debate these definitions.
Here I scored a lethal blow. My mother’s side of the argument advocated for contraception. But she was unreliable from a scientific perspective, on which methods of contraception were actually contraception and not actually abortion in and of themselves. Here we debated the prevalent use of the morning after pill for the purpose of contraception. I believed at the time that the purpose of the MAP is not to prevent the fertilisation of the egg as a condom or other barrier method would, neither is it to prevent the release of an egg as hormonal contraceptives would (on this part I have since learned that this is not true).
I believed its purpose was to prevent implantation of a fertilised egg. Therefore in my mind at the time, the MAP was not actually a contraceptive at all but chemical/hormonal abortion.
One can then reassess all forms of contraception to derive from their method of action, which camp they fall into.
My mother. Who pre debate would have advocated in favour of the MAP then had to reassess the foundations of her standpoint, and therefore lost the debate as core elements of her argument were based upon fundamentally unsure foundations. Here by stepping back and tearing apart the underlying language to close the gap, we finally agreed that I knew more about the debate from a technical standpoint, that she would have to reassess her views on various types of “contraception” vis a vie their method of action, but came to the consensus conclusion that life starts at conception, that conception occurs at fertilisation, but that depending on your stance on abortion per se, the outcome of that conception is uncertain.
(As the science has now moved on, my arguments in this debate would change if I were to have this debate again today, as more conclusive science now shows that the issue re the MAP is not so clear cut. At the time of the debate, I believed that the MAP’s sole purpose was the hormonal prevention of implantation. I now know that it also works to prevent ovulation. My mother may have unwittingly been right all along but I think the point re the foundations of the argument are safely made.)
Here I propose, controversially, to open the debate on the simplest of sporting concepts.
I think it can be no more evident than in football, that this core concept needs a solid redefinition. As a rugby fan, the extent to which cheating is actually institutionally condoned, and in some cases applauded, in football can sometimes make the game unbearable, and at times unwatchable.
My absolute pet hate is diving. I think this simple form of cheating should be castigated with righteous hellfire, as the tolerance of this one aspect of the game has, in my mind, allowed the tolerance of cheating within the game as a whole. If one can tolerate one form of cheating, then why not look the other way on other forms?
So now we need agreement on what constitutes diving :- for me the definition (in terms of football and not aquatics) is the deliberate act of going to ground to attempt to secure sporting advantage (whether it be play advantage, free kick, penalty, deliberate carding of the perceived offender).
Once agreement on what constitutes diving, we would then have to determine a route to remove this element from the game. Here I think rugby has struck gold. Within rugby the rules allow for a 72 hr period after the conclusion of a game, for the governing body, to reverse any refereeing decision made in match, to remove or allocate cards, to sanction any player for any incident which it perceives was in breach of the rules or to alleviate any decision in match which it perceives was flawed. This allows for post match video evidence to be used to enforce the rules without affecting the playability of the game as the ref is still in charge on the day. The only thing which cannot be changed post match is the result and score-line.
Here rugby has shown the light on how it approaches cheating with the harshest of sanctions for anyone caught. Go and have a read of the Harlequins Bloodgate debacle over at wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodgate) and have a hunt out for Institutional response to the affair.
Mark Evans, chief exec at Harlequins gave up this fantastic quote to BBC which I think is thoroughly relevant.
“You would be incredibly naive to think (the Bloodgate stigma) will ever disappear
completely. Things like that don’t,” said Evans.
“They become part of history and, like good or bad seasons, are woven into the fabric
of any club.”
If one could apply this to the game of football, then no one would dive anymore, for risk of sanction, and the tolerance of this simple form of cheating could then be wiped out which would have knock on positive effects for the rest of the game and the institution of football as a whole.
One must look upon diving and the way in which it is tolerated, nay condoned, in football by the governing bodies of the sport as a grassroots problem within the sport . Especially considering that certain forms of diving (the arched back, feet up, arms in the air) must actually be taught to players. I saw a video study once that a physiologist did on falling methods (and I apologise here for not being able to source this, maybe someone else remembers it?) where he showed that humans have an ingrained reaction to the sensation of falling that can only be overcome with deliberate training. He used this as conclusive proof of intentional cheating.
I think this weed in the football grass has blossomed in the last decade into a dangerous thistle, the thorns of which are causing injuries to the greater game.
Now to bring this around to the Rangers debate (and thus make it more relevant, I hope). I entered into a debate last week with Marching on Together and Alex/Adam (I can never remember the difference) where at the conclusion of the debate (inconclusive, can be read here https://scotslawthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/did-i-miss-anything-today-the-perils-of-being-a-blogger-too-busy-to-read-comments/comment-page-1/#comment-32922) I came to my own conclusion that we were debating having never actually agreed on the foundation principles of the debate, that we were (without directly discussing it) miles apart on what our views of what actually constitutes cheating. And inspired me to write this monologue.
I think all sides now need to come together to come up with a standard and testable definition for cheating that all sides agree on, that can be used as a starting point for every other debate. Maybe other debates will be required on other sporting concepts, but once all sides find that they can agree on one topic, we may find that it’s habit forming, and then we can move on to changing minds on the bigger issues.
My definition (which I am willing to debate ad nausaeum)
Cheating as it relates to a sport: Intentional or deliberate action, the intended consequence of which is to gain a sporting advantage.
verb (used with object)
1. to defraud; swindle: He cheated her out of her inheritance.
2. to deceive; influence by fraud: He cheated us into believing him a hero.
3. to elude; deprive of something expected: He cheated the law by suicide.
verb (used without object)
4. to practise fraud or deceit: She cheats without regrets.
5. to violate rules or regulations: He cheats at cards.
6. to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to
7. Informal. to be sexually unfaithful (often followed by on ): Her husband
knew she had been cheating all along. He cheated on his wife.
Posted by Jer Feelgood