When Sports Are Played Out in the Courtroom

So the next America’s Cup will be a 2-boat competition between Alinghi and Oracle. This hasn’t been decided gentlemanly between sportsmen valuing competition and a challenge. It has been so ruled by a judge.

Just behind that, the Kiwis, who have been beaten by Alinghi twice in a row (after holding the cup for several years themselves) are expecting a ruling from the same judge on their complaint that the delay caused by the first ruling is harming their finances. Never mind that Alinghi boss Bertarelli bailed them out of bankruptcy for a whopping 7 millions so they could actually compete in 2007. In today’s highly competitive sports, “Fair Play” appears to be an outdated concept.

I don’t know what I find most disgusting in all this, whether it’s the lawsuits themselves or that a Court actually presides over lawsuits which have nothing lost in a courtroom in the first place. Note that the news aren’t talking about mediation or settlement but a formal ruling (yes, I’m aware that the original 1887 document establishing the competition named a court as trustee. I still fail to see how antitrust lawsuits mesh with sports, sorry).

Needless to say, there’s little chance I will get excited by watching millionaires playing boat under the eyes of their ambulance-chasers lawyers ever again. Sports is (or used to be) essentially about competition in a healthy and sane environment. It is probably a sad reflection of our times that an activity which was supposed to be uplifting and inspiring comes down to the dirty, money-laden, backstabbing, below-the-belt play which leads to a court room.

What happened to Mens Sana in Corpore Sano? Where is the inspiring example, the sportsmanship in there? If any of Pierre de Coubertin’s ideals had survived through the 90′s IOC games attribution bribery scandals, the 21st century definitely killed off.

What has all this to do with WoW? Just remember Blizzard is trying to turn Arenas into an e-sport. While RMT and its associated cheating, hacking and exploitation is far from being under control. If physical sports have already demeaned themselves by fighting through lawyers and courtrooms, just figure where virtual sports are headed.

Courtroom decisions over sports turn the whole America’s Cup into a farce. Let’s not get a taste of this in what is no more or less than a game, please.

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