Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Ethics of Cheating

There is something fun about people taking the opportunity of a big sports tournament to ask serious questions about the human psyche. Such is that case in this pair of articles on cheating in soccer from Foreign Policy and Project Syndicate. Beautifully, they argue opposite sides with Foreign Policy suggesting cheating is part of the game (“Strange as it might seem, rule bending is an integral part of international soccer. Everyone cheats, and there’s a lot to be learned and enjoyed from how each team does it.”) and Project Syndicate suggesting we should not accept ethical lapses on the field any more than we do anywhere else (“Players should not be exempt from ethical criticism for what they do on the field, any more than they are exempt from ethical criticism for cheating off the field, for example by taking performance-enhancing drugs.”).

Not sure where I fall on this one. Probably somewhere in the middle. It does seem that some bit of acting is a part of the game forever, if for no other reason that you can’t reliably judge how hard someone was bumped. However, in instances where there is nothing subjective (such as whether a ball went over a line) it’s hard to understand why players like German keeper Manuel Neuer shouldn’t be disciplined for admitting that he knew the ball was in the goal and just pretended it wasn’t (at the very least tell the world you didn’t know it crossed the line).

June 28, 2010