A Second Chance
Lance Armstrong was way too famous all over the world during my middle and high school times (2000-2007). His story of fighting cancer and coming back as a champion was among our most favorite examples in argumentative writings among teenagers. However, I heard that Lance was discovered of using stimulants, EPO (erythropoietin) for instance, in most of his career, and it became a major story on newspapers in 2012. Later, Lance became history, and nobody would pay much attention to his heroic story. Seeing the whole story on TV last Thursday brought back some of my previous memories, and it felt like all things happened a century ago.
In professional and competitive sports, using stimulants is a grey area. Athletes push their physical and mental limits to become faster, stronger, and better. If this is not enough, some athletes count on “external help” to secure their spot on the podium. All the reputation and glory are within your reach as long as you don’t get caught. To prevent these unethical sportsmanship, blood and urine tests are performed, and lots of athletes are disposed, especially in swimming and weightlifting fields. The sad fact is that the general public is getting used to these scandals after Olympics and World Championship.
I agree with Dr. Edwards statement that “everyone is a cheater”. No one is always a saint through his/her lifetime, and we all get attempt to do unethical things when facing a dilemma. But I also believe that everyone should be given a second chance after committing a wrongdoing. From my personal experience, I was caught cheating in a exam in middle school on the subject of Politics. At that time, we had to recite the success and significance of all major social revolutions executed by Chinese Communist Party, and write it down in paragraphs during the exam. The whole reciting process was quite tedious and suffering, and I just do not see how does these relate to my life and later career. So I cheated during the exam by writing key points on the table and was found out by the invigilator. She reported to my class advisor immediately after the exam. I was so worried at that time believing all my exam score would be cancelled and my parents would be notified. However, my class advisor talked to me on the second day saying that she would keep an eye closed for this time and hoped I already learnt a lesson. I was so grateful at that time to be given a second chance and promised that I would never cheated again. At the same time, Politics became an open-book test at last in my high-school entrance exam. So lesson is learnt, and crisis is solved.
The second chance does not serve as an excuse or justification for your unethical behavior, and we should follow our professional conduct in the first place. However, a second chance can definitely help we identify our weakest points, strengthen them, and eventually grow as a healthy moral person. I know in the real world, some people violate professional conduct time after time. But this is only a small portion of people, and they totally deserve the strictest punishment.
This is one side of a story. I think, if second chances become a normal consequence to a wrong doing, people might not take the seriousness of the punishment. In professional sports (taking this example), competition is extremely fierce, and the rightful victor must be awarded for the hard work. If there are merciless regulations, sportspersons will compete in fairness, at least for the fear of the punishment. Then, the competition would be fair. I do not think second chances must be given, not in sports nor in any other field. If you make a mistake, you are out.
I agree with your opinions on second chances. In sports, many athletes are fined, and suspended for a given period of time, but are allowed to come back, and prove that they’re still as good as they were before. Taking baseball as an example, the fines and the suspensions have gotten stricter, more difficult to go through, however, the players are still allowed to come back eventually. The reason I am against not allowing the players to come back at all is because often some of these players claim that they did not know that they were inputting a specific substance in their body, and other times the PED tests can have errors. Banning the players for life would essentially get those who are saying the truth about not knowing would also never be able to play the professional sport again. There really is no way to ensure the player who claims they were unaware of their situation are telling the truth. The only way is to allow these players to get a second chance, and hope that they will learn their lesson, and play a fair game moving forward.