Monday, June 18, 2012

Sports , the law and Social Media

Lance Armstrong - The Herald sun
Like an Ironman Race , there are many factors which meld together to make for a great result and flawless execution.

I have been hibernating for the past 6 weeks and ruminating on plans and execution of those plans.I have also seen the development of the legalistic nature of sports.The telling examples recently are :

1 Emma Snowsill's failure to win selection to represent Australia at the London Olympics
2 Lance Armstrong's being accused by USADA of Doping and as a result he is not able to compete at this weekends Ironman France in Nice.
I am not a Drug Cheat

Both issues resulted in some form of legal proceedings.In Snowsill's case she appealed the decision which was heard by a tribunal made up of a Chairman QC Barrister .They dismissed the appeal and Emma gracefully accepted the decision. Macca did not appeal but did criticise the goal post moving Triathlon Australia did and the difficulty the Triathletes had in planning for the races they had to perform in.

In the UK , Liz Blatchford a contender for the UK Triathlon team missed the third spot with 2 lower rank Triathletes getting the call up. No Appeal but no real justification other than the possible argument that the junior members  would act as domestiques for Jenkins , not that she would need them.

What is clear , a century ago it was competitive but not complicated.

Norms and Mores on the Tour De France was less sophisticated and drug of choice was acceptable.I am none the wiser and I am not offering up an opinion. The sad reality of sports and the social phenomenon of our media , judgment and comment and innuendo is instantaneous and almost always opinion without foundation.

Two cautionary tales about rushing to judgment in the court of public opinion  .The first is a Rugby league Star falsely accused of a sexual assault .He was cleared but is took a few years .He is still shunned by sponsors. The second is a husband accused of his murder . The Queensland Police have been swamped with comment on their Facebook page (they apparently cannot turn it off) This may have significant ramification in a trial.The Australian reported :
The arrest of Gerard Baden-Clay, over the alleged murder of his wife, Allison Baden-Clay, is the latest in a series of online incidents in which Queensland Police has been overwhelmed by its 290,000 followers posting hundreds of possibly prejudicial comments about cases before the courts.
Last Thursday, following the arrest of Mr Baden-Clay, more than 1500 people reacted to the announcement on Facebook, with many posting inflammatory comments, forcing the Police Service to appeal to users not to undermine the case

Rugby League Star Brett Stewart - Sydney Morning Herald
The Australian -Queensland police Fall Foul of Facebook Followers

We humans are quick to judge and inherently comment .The Internet and social media have made it instantaneous. It brings out the best and the worst . I am slow to criticise simply as in an Ironman race there are just so many imponderables. I am not brave enough to cast the first stone or criticism.