Eight Olympic badminton players were disqualified because they clearly tried to lose a match against each other in the early rounds which would give them easier opponents in later rounds. I think this sounds like a smart strategy and this surely is not a new one. New is however, that they got disqualified and that they did not even pretend to play properly.
We are told that many fans are upset about the lack of sportsmanship and some players are very apologetic to their fans.
What is really newsworthy is, that the media did not address the actual problem – one of global consequences - at all.
If at all, they discuss how it can be proven that someone tries to lose on purpose – which is an interesting subject but not the big issue at all. It even makes the Fox News commentator appear as if she cared about justice here. And she may even genuinely care. However, the injustice on a much higher level is ignored as usual.
It is obvious why mainstream (corporate/government sponsored) media would not debate big issues like alternative economic systems or the flaws in the current financial system. The media are doing well with it, why should they bite the hands that feed them (shareholders, advertisers, politicians, banks)?
The same or very similar competition system is widely used in the most popular sports tournaments on this planet, including basketball, soccer, American football, tennis – you name it.
So why are the media not addressing the real issue when such a great opportunity presents itself (unlike Indonesia’s head of badminton in this short video)?
The real issue is that this widely used competition group system, one that is optimized to provide the most entertaining match ups, is severely flawed and should be replaced with proven fairer – but less entertaining – systems.
The media would not want or could not afford it. So why would they address it?
I watched the surprisingly hard to find footage of one of these games. It appears the players did not like this strategy of intentional losing – and why should they? Especially when two teams meet who both have been told by their trainer to lose by all means. The players love their sport, they love action and the support of their fans. I think I can see in their body language that they were not comfortable at all. It was not what they wanted even though it was increasing their chances to win.
I believe professional sport has finally become completely hijacked by money and greed like much of science, politics, education and more. Sport is no longer about the ego, skills, effort and life of the athlete.
Today, thanks to our holy growth (and debt) based global economy and the resulting need for ever-increasing competition, there are many other stakeholders involved. These stakeholders are not only highly paid coaches and sponsors, shareholders (owners of teams) but also corporate media (they want entertainment above everything) themselves as well as political agendas.
With few exceptions, the players (and even their coaches) appear almost like money producing tools or toys for those stake holders to play with. They can be bought and exchanged, up and downgraded like software racing cars.
I admire the badminton players for their inability to go ahead and lie and pretend (like many others) even after the umpire warned both teams could be disqualified. In my eyes the players were the ones who blew the whistle on an issue that should have been discussed and solved many years ago in most sports.
Both the media and complaining fans should have supported or awarded them and not pooh-pooh them while protecting their own short-sighted interests (personal monetary loss) and pretending that the Olympic ideals have much meaning (or room) in the current but long expired economic paradigm.
As long as most of the population make corporate media the mainstream media by watching, uncritically believing and supporting them, I do not expect any attempts to improve on or even discuss the urgently needed big – paradigm changing – issues on a meaningful scale.
keywords: flawed competition system, badminton, Olympics 2012, London