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Thread: Sports, Ethics and Fairness: Another New Way to "Cheat"?

  1. #1
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    Sports, Ethics and Fairness: Another New Way to "Cheat"?

    Contact lens designed to give athlete an edge
    Governing bodies watching to see if they do give advantage


    Wednesday, June 7, 2006; Posted: 10:27 a.m. EDT (14:27 GMT)


    Soccer player Camille Walters, 15, wears contact lenses specially designed to help athletes see better.

    The 15-year-old wears tinted contact lenses that block certain wavelengths of light and help athletes see better. Oh, and they look cool, too.

    "It gives me more confidence because you feel intimidating and bigger and stronger, kind of an ego-booster," said Walters, who plays for Father Ryan, a Catholic high school in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Walters and a growing number of other athletes are wearing the MaxSight lenses, which were developed jointly by Nike Inc. and contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb Inc.

    The lens -- large enough to extend a ring around the iris -- comes in two colors: amber and grey-green.

    The amber lens is for fast-moving ball sports, such as tennis, baseball, football or soccer. Grey-green is better for blocking glare for runners or helping a golfer read the contour of the ground.

    Professional athletes tested the lenses last year before they were rolled out for general sales.

    Golfer Michelle Wie and baseball players Ken Griffey Jr. and A.J. Pierzynski wear MaxSight lenses, along with members of Manchester United, the U.S. men's soccer team and the Texas Longhorns football team.

    "The bulk of the business we expect will be with the college, high school type athlete who is really looking for that edge," Nike spokeswoman Joanie Komlos said. "We've seen that sales are far exceeding our expectations, and we're going to continue to roll out distribution."

    The sport lenses can be purchased only through a doctor's office at a cost of $80 per box, $160 if the prescription for each eye varies.

    Dr. Jeff Kegarise, an optometrist whose office is in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, Tennessee, has already prescribed the lenses for college baseball players, golfers, equestrian riders and tennis players.

    "The first reaction from the first two people I fit in this, they went outside and said, 'This is really cool. It's like wearing sunglasses outside,"' Kegarise said.

    Even though the amber lens is intended for outdoor use, he has an Arena Football League player who used them indoors because of the bright lights.

    Walters, who plays both for her high school and on a travel team, is farsighted and uses MaxSight prescription lenses, but they also come in a non-corrective version.

    "It cut out some of the sun, so it wasn't as bright," Walters said. "It was easier to pick out where the ball was at times when it was in the air."

    But does the MaxSight lens give some athletes an unfair advantage? The associations that govern high school and college sports don't think so, but they're keeping an eye on the lenses.

    Jerry Diehl, assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations in Indianapolis, Indiana, said his group doesn't believe the lenses provide the competitive advantage that Nike claims.

    The federation allows the lenses and puts them in the same category as sunglasses or corrective lenses. The NCAA also allows the sports lenses because it considers them similar to sunglasses.

    But Diehl said he's worried about the perception of an unfair advantage.

    "If one affluent team can get this, it forces everybody else to go out and do that," Diehl said. "Is it really something that makes a difference? In this instance, at this juncture anyway, it doesn't seem to be any better or any worse than allowing what is already under the rule."

    Dr. William Jones of Nashville said price will keep some athletes from buying the lenses, but he expects them to be popular on high school athletics teams in wealthier school districts.

    Jones said his retired father wears the grey-green lens on the golf course and loves them.

    "Most of these people, they're spending tons of money already on equipment, training and everything else. This is just a drop in the bucket for most of them; generally cost isn't much of an issue," Jones said.

    Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
    Discuss.

  2. #2
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    Not cheating at all.

  3. #3
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    Interesting...

    Here's what I think, it's another way for the big names to cash in. Take Lacrosse, when I was a kid (a thousand years ago) you bought a stick, helmet, gloves, and a cup (I never wore arm pads or shoulder pads). This was a pretty big expense because unlike hoops (sneakers) or baseball (bat and a glove) there was a fair amount of equipment necessary (top sticks were under $50 those days, and probably the highest expense).

    Today's Lacrosse player needs a head $100, a handle $100, helmet, gloves, arm pads, shoulder pads, armorall shirts and shorts with built in cups, special shoes, mouthpieces, etc. Basically upwards of $500! Is this all necessary? Of course not, it's marketing, and now top college players endorse items when they graduate that quickly become "must have" to the younger player.

    Eyewear was inevitable in that there are not too many places left on the human body that equipment could be sold for...whether or not it does any good.

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    Interesting article. But I agree with Ikey, it's not cheating.

    In the first instance, in order to cheat there has to be deception. There is no deception here because (1) the contacts are "legal" in sports and in the real world and (2) no one is hiding their use.

    The thing about "unfair" advantage is taken to the extreme sometimes. If someone does something within the rules that another team is unwilling or can't do, that is not an "unfair advantage." Claiming that it is is like saying a baseball team with speedy players shouldn't steal bases because the team they're playing against either has a weak-armed catcher or is slow and old and can't steal bases themselves. Yes, it's an advantage and it is unfair because the other team can't do what the fast team does. But that does not make it cheating.

  5. #5
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    I don't see how any rational person can deem the lenses to be an unfair advantage

  6. #6
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    Let's be clear. Nike sponsors the US men's soccer team. While there is a section in their latest DVD of the players trying to put them in (to comical results), never has a single player worn them in a competition. Articles like this are nothing more than Nike saying "look what we can do".

    That being said, in this instance, I see these as cheating in as much the same way as sunglasses should be considered cheating.

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    the lenses can't be cheating, because they're not illegal, unlike steroids, or corking a bat.

    what they are, however, and this can't be refuted, at least in theory, what they are, are vehicles for a form of performance-enhancing. I'd call them perceptual enhancers.

    performance enhancers are a wide array of products that assist the athlete. knee braces, electrolyte-enhanced beverages, sticky grip gloves for wide receivers -- these are all low-level performance enhancers.

    technology and sport have always held hands, and the result gives certain participating athletes an edge. the problem with corked bats and steroids is that they violate important rules and parameters of play, covertly.

    These lenses will not be used in any covert way to enhance a particular player over the entire field of players, like a corked bat or steroids. They will be used in the same way as gatorade -- available to all players in every dugout. The choice will be like between gatorade and water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMC
    In the first instance, in order to cheat there has to be deception. There is no deception here because (1) the contacts are "legal" in sports and in the real world and (2) no one is hiding their use.
    Steroids weren't banned in baseball, right?

    Was Barry a cheater?

    Honestly guys not trying to make a point, just trying to spark conversation.

  9. #9

    if you're not cheatin, you're not competin.

    it's really only cheating if it's not available to the other players. of course there are some limits. things that barry bonds might be able to afford would not be available to a journeyman but still the journeyman miht be able to acquire some of the magic elixer and perform well enough to get paid better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Paranoid Jet
    Steroids weren't banned in baseball, right?

    Was Barry a cheater?

    Honestly guys not trying to make a point, just trying to spark conversation.

    Steroids were still illegall, and a controlled substance. Possesion of which is a federal crime.

    In the topic at hand there is nothing illegal, banned, or looked down upon at. This is not cheating in no way shape or form. Besides being legal, and having no restrictions on them, there available for anyone and everyone.
    Last edited by KR; 06-07-2006 at 04:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Rhodes
    Steroids were still illegall, and a controlled substance. Possesion of which is a federal crime.

    In the topic at hand there is nothing illegal, banned, or looked down upon at. This is not cheating in no way shape or form. Besides being legal, and having no restrictions on them, there available for anyone and everyone.
    If robotic eyes that saw 1000 times better/faster than human eyes were invented, and no laws banned them, and they looked just like human eyes, would that be cheating? Even if they were technically available to everyone?

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    Put it this way... they better athelete will alway win, even if his opponent has 20/16 eyesight

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish
    If robotic eyes that saw 1000 times better/faster than human eyes were invented, and no laws banned them, and they looked just like human eyes, would that be cheating? Even if they were technically available to everyone?
    1-If there were no laws against them
    2-No bans against them by the sport, or league
    3-And they were available for everyone

    No, ofcourse they would not be cheating.

    In this extremely hypothetical situation you just made up I can still firmly say that because if a life changing product like you just described came out, Im damn sure the government, league's, and indivuals will analyse every single millimeter of it. Afterwhich if its appoved by law, and its not prohibited by leagues like the MLB, NFL,etc, and available for everyone, by what grounds could we possibly say its "cheating"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish
    Discuss.
    well, at least Vinny Testaverde can never be accused of doing this

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    If this is cheating, we'd better get baseball players to stop wearing sunglasses and tell LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Dawkins that their visors have to go.

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    I see the contacts as just another tool to be used...like batters gloves or tinted visors..cleats for that matter, soon everyone will have them and the playing field will be even....if they work and your not colour blind I presume

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet-man
    I see the contacts as just another tool to be used...like batters gloves or tinted visors..cleats for that matter, soon everyone will have them and the playing field will be even....if they work and your not colour blind I presume
    Right. Just like Barry Bonds body armor.

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