Once a cheater, always a cheater. Is it true? Is it fair?
The first problem facing Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and others who have been accused of, and/or admitted to cheating in baseball, is that most people don’t care enough to even ask those questions. Life is easier when we can establish guidelines, and then live by them.
The second problem is that approach is too simple and fails to appreciate the complexity of why people cheat in the first place, let alone predicting whether or not they are capable of betraying you again.
The psychology of cheating is very complex, much more than a moralistic conversation about it whether a person is good, bad, or flawed. Should we really simply dismiss someone as damaged goods if they cheat?
You see, the question is not, “Can I ever trust him again?” but rather, “What contributed to this person’s choice to betray me?”
Cheating is defined below.
v. cheat·ed, cheat·ing, cheats
1. To deceive by trickery; swindle: cheated customers by overcharging them for purchases.
2. To deprive by trickery; defraud: cheated them of their land.
3. To mislead; fool: illusions that cheat the eye.
4. To elude; escape: cheat death.
1. To act dishonestly; practice fraud.
2. To violate rules deliberately, as in a game
Certainly, many baseball players fall into the definition. As do many of us. Have you ever cheated at anything in life? You probably had your reasons. It was a short-cut. It was fun. It made sense at the time. Didn’t think you’d get caught. Not hurting anyone.
Do you feel like your poor decision defined you? In life? In career?
Ryan Braun made a mistake. He did so knowingly. I am sure he had his reasons. I don’t have to forgive and forget. Neither do you. We all have choices. I will choose to move forward. I don’t know what Braun did or for how long. I don’t want to assume the worst, and believe me, I don’t want to assume the best either. But we all must assume something. We will decide on our own what to make of it. Was it a mistake that he can outweigh with other good deeds, or will we allow for that error in judgement to define him for his career?
I’ve said as it concerns the death penalty: If I am not sure, I’d rather allow a guilty person to live than put to death an innocent person. I apply that logic with Braun and baseball. I can’t say with certainty the extent of his cheating, so I won’t put his career to death. I’ll allow for him to be punished as baseball defines it and then continue, where he’ll determine what kind of player I’ll think of him as.
I’m the forgiving type though. Are you? Or are you once a cheater, always a cheater?