September 17, 2021

Posnanski: What is cheating, anyway? The lines between gamesmanship and rule-breaking are blurrier than ever (The Athletic)

It can be dizzying trying to follow what kind of sports cheating we fans are supposed to care about and what kind of we aren’t. This thought really hit home not too long ago when — you might remember something about this — New England quarterback Tom Brady might or might not have had an equipment manager deflate footballs to make them a little bit easier to grip in cold weather.

Now, I’m no fan of the Patriots by any stretch, but my thought was: “Who cares about that? I mean, this is a sport featuring some of the biggest and strongest men in the country rattling each other’s brains, a sport where kneeling in support of your beliefs can get you blackballed, a sport that still measures first downs by chain link. Who cares if the football has a little bit less air in it?”

It turned out a lot of people cared. It was the biggest story in sports for what seemed like 27 years, and the NFL commissioned a report that was as long as a Robert Caro biography, and…

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