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Is diving morally acceptable?

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Numerous players from many teams try it on
By Alistair Burns
The B.C. Catholic

Caption: Father Pablo Santa Maria.

It's the 90th minute in a World Cup match. The fans nervously look at the scoreboard: a 1-1 tie. Tension rises as a striker dekes and goes for goal!

All of a sudden, he falls to the pitch, clutching his knee in tremendous pain. The referee awards a penalty kick. Watching the TV replay, you notice that a defender did not even touch the striker.

A minute later, he's up, and his apparent injury has miraculously healed!

Diving has become commonplace so far during the 2014 World Cup. Some games have been decided by dives; in the opening match June 12, Brazil's Frederico Chaves Guedes, who goes by the name Fred, acrobatically went to ground.

The play led to Brazilian striker Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, known as Neymar, scoring from the penalty spot to defeat Croatia 3-1.

In the Uruguay and Italy group match June 24, numerous players from both sides took dives. Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez even bit an Italian defender, Giorgio Chiellini, an act that went unnoticed by the referee, then pretended he was hurt and rolled around on the ground in apparent agony.

FIFA's Disciplinary Committee said Suarez had committed "an act of unsporting behaviour towards another player." A few days after vigorously denying the charge, he admitted his guilt.

The talented striker has been banned from the next nine international matches and all football-related activities for four months, and received a US$120,000 fine, only 30 per cent of his weekly pay from his club team, Liverpool.

"Luis Suarez hath sinned," wrote the CBC's Andrew Davidson June 25.

"Never mind which book of judgment you apply, be it Old, New, or FIFA Testament, although only God knows what counts as a sin in the verses of the latter."

"When someone sets victory before all else, it's not a surprise that there's a natural descent into even barbaric acts," said Father Bryan Duggan, the associate vocations director of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. "It's embarrassing for the game. It's a mockery of the sport."

Father Duggan now laces his cleats for the archdiocesan clergy club: the "Men in Black."

He believes the root cause of dives, bites, and other dishonourable acts is a "lack of virtue." Virtue drives a man or woman to be "honest, to seek what is good, and to assume the best in the other," rather than to manipulate.

"It's a form of lying," agreed Father Pablo Santa Maria, a local priest cheering for Spain and Mexico. It's the "cost of cheating. You'll be remembered as a cheat."

A bishop from a World Cup country has spoken out. Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico said, "Sports can contribute to peaceful understanding among peoples and to strengthening the civilization of love."

Last Updated on Monday, 14 July 2014 11:05  

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