In yesterday’s FA Cup semi-final, Chelsea were mistakenly awarded a goal despite the ball not crossing the goal line. John Terry, the closest Chelsea player to the incident (he was literally sprawled on the line at the time), has basically admitted that he knew the decision was mistaken.
Why isn’t this scandalous? Why does Terry not appear remotely contrite or remorseful? He has effectively admitted cheating and deception on the most public of stages.
Now, if you look closely at what he said, Terry expresses a measure of doubt. Maybe he genuinely thought the referee was in a better position to judge. But surely the incensed reaction of the Tottenham players would have cleared that up? Terry certainly wasn’t going to help the officials, as is commonplace in sports like cricket.
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: sportsmen will only live up to our expectations of them. If they know that they can behave like Terry’s, and face no judgement or condemnation, then they face little incentive not to. And if we want higher standards, we have to make that clear and unambiguous.