You just won a tournament, a title, a National Championship or a Bermuda Bowl. You are basking in the glory.
To your horror you later discover you had cheating team mates at the other table. You were cheated too.
Now we will further presume you had no idea that this partnership cheated, because if you did you would never have played with them in the first place. But you did. Through their unlawful acts your entire team has been tarnished. You cheated (albeit unwillingly) and won. Period.
Would you toss your unlawfully won title back?
I asked many experts this question from Grant Baze to Paul Soloway and they all said what you would expect them to say. Grant once found and reported a scoring error that dropped him from (if I recall) winning the event to fifth or sixth place. To him, it was a no-brainer. It really isn’t that tough. Do you really wish to retain an unlawfully title?
Capp’s team and Norfolk are not the only ones impacted by this. This happens more often that you can imagine, scoring errors (not exactly cheating) but if you knew you lost 9 imps on the board and the opposition has you winning 3, you fail to explore the truth, you are cheating your opponents and the game.
In my local unit, I recall a team captain reporting a false score (the other team had an error in his favour) and he submitted a false slip, having failed to reconcile the difference. Unfortunately for him, they discovered their error, and reported it. Soon the miscreant was sitting out a 30 day suspension. This is different obviously, but why someone would do that just puzzles me. I mean do they forget this is a game based upon ethics and integrity? I guess the sad reality it yes – they choose to forget.
So, with (unknown to you) cheating team mates at the other table – you score a victory. Would you toss it back when you learn the painful truth?
I am going to step out on a limb and speculate that precious few would say no. I think I am on terra firma with that guess. Which begs the obvious question – why can’t Sternberg, Sontag and Weichsel toss theirs back? Are they just embarassed, or do they consider it a lawful victory or are they simply above the spirit and letter of the laws? I don’t pretend to know. Maybe they can weigh in and enlighten us all.
Maybe a little of of all the above.
We deserve better. The game deserves better from two of its superstars.
And if pointing the finger at those who benefit from cheaters makes me look bad, well, so be it. They should be ashamed of themselves. Stand tall or stand down. As Al Roth would say – what is the problem?
Well would you or wouldn’t you?