I fall in the category of the uneducated, when it comes to badminton. You might as well be talking lawn darts to me. Well, I don’t know much about that either. But, we have learned that you can’t lose to win at the Olympics.
In this photo, referee Torsten Berg is talking to the Korean coach, as he issues a black card to the players during a doubles match between Korea and Indonesia.
ESPN reported that eight female badminton players were disqualified from the London Olympics. The Badminton World Federation had investigated South Korea, China and Indonesia and determined that they should be punished for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match”. The statement went on to say that the eight players were punished for “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.
Olympic Badminton competition is based on a round-robin system instead of a straight elimination. So, by deliberately losing a game; that can lead to a matchup with a lesser team in the next round, without penalty for the prior loss.
It came down to a question of measuring the intent of the Olympic spirit versus the right to compete in a manner that a team believes would give it the best chance to win a medal.
According to some of the spectators of those matches, the players were dumping serves into the net and making simple errors like hitting the shuttlecock far wide of the court. (I bet it will be a long time before I get to blog about a shuttlecock again) Beijing badminton silver medalist, Gail Emms, said that the matches were embarrassing to watch. She described that “It was absolutely shocking. The crowds were booing and chanting “Off, off, off.’”
I have surprised myself with my Olympic viewing. But, I have to admit that it hasn’t included Badminton. Still, I have included this in a legal blog because these athletes have not violated the rules. They have played specifically within the rules. Instead, they are being punished because authority says that this competition is more than rules. I think that it is easy to argue both sides.
In the NFL, at the end of the year it is not unusual for teams to rest their starters to get ready for the playoffs. It’s best for the team for future wins. No one says that the ”spirit of the competition” includes competing, at the expense of injury that may effect winning in the future. In fact, many times it results in just letting the opposing team win at the end of a season.
I don’t really know any analogy to law, unless we went back to the practice of law in the 50′s and 60′s. I’m told that back then, lawyers all knew each other. Everyone worked hard for their client, but not at the expense of offending the other community lawyers. I could be oversimplying a bit. But, it sounds nice to have good law sportmanship in represention. Just doesn’t seem realistic today, and no one expects it.
For pic o’ day, I decided to post two that go along with “letter of the law” or just the wrong use of the letters.
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