Friday, 18 July 2008

Dwain Chambers & Our Vindictive Culture

I ‘m no fan of Dwain Chambers or athletics but I was disappointed to hear that he has lost his legal action against the BOA by-law which bans convicted drug users (spent conviction or not) from competing at the Olympics. Anything that annoys the arrogant BOA, the pompous BBC Sport and cretins like the Tory toss-pot Sebastian Coe is good in my book. It’s a shame because their vindictive attitude only creates more vindictiveness.

I’m not interested in debating the intricacies of the ‘drug offence’ here, that’s boring, and it’s not relevant to what I want to talk about: the vindictive nature of our culture. Maybe I expect too much from sports people, be they professionals, fans or media, and maybe I am swimming against the tide of society on this, but whatever happened to forgiveness and redemption? Have they ever thought that a vindictive attitude facilitates cheating? After all, what helps “getting ahead” more than a desire to punish irrevocably? What’s more some of these Solomonian ex-athletes are committed, practicing Christians, obviously they seemed to have mislaid one of the fundamental tenants of Christianity, forgiveness. On second thoughts, they’re only acting in the same way as all religious groups, hypocritically and obfuscatory.

Ultimately though it is the self-perpetuating nature produced by too much emphasis on retribution that disturbs me most: I’m feeling quite unforgiving of those I’m criticising now and I will have to fight the impulse to be uncharitable towards them in the future, especially if any of them – perish the thought – were to fall foul of some rule or other themselves. Worse, the vindictive attitude spreads throughout society and soon everybody is guilty, real or otherwise, and suspicion rules the day. In any case, what goes around comes around.