Listen. I am the absolute worst. This blog – this haven for hot takes under a veil of anonymity; this breeding ground for overwrought emotions and overwritten potshots; this once proud establishment of frequent musings on the State Of It All – it’s been dormant. This is my fault, and I’ll take all the credit, errrr, blame. I have been Captaining the U.S.S. Disaster for a few years now – HOLY SHIT, THREE YEARS – and I’ve permitted it to fall into a steady state of underuse.
Hell, the last time I wrote something here, it was a few hopeful paragraphs I shat out on the eve of the Bills’ improbable – fuck, IMPOSSIBLE – win against Green Bay, and even that seemed too much. I’m far less suited for this than I used to be – less angry, less energetic, less eager, more annoyed at the sound of my own thoughts in my increasingly muddled mind. I am certainly more busy.
But I’ve also been waiting. Waiting to feel anything about Buffalo sports again … anything new or sudden or interesting or wrathful or worth repeating onto a computer screen beyond 140 characters.
I don’t know that I’ve been waiting for this, exactly, but it seems as good a time as any to take a couple cuts in front of the mirror and see if Dougie can go deep again. Hell, this may only be some easy BP before stepping back into the lineup, but my ability to string out metaphors to ungodly lengths is matched only by Tim Graham’s ability to take any topic, poop genuinely well-crafted sanctimony on top of it, and do so in such a way that makes you question whether the last time the guy had any fun was when Norwood went wide-right and a teenage Graham (I’m guessing) wrote 5000 words on why kickers are the Miracle Whip of sports – completely pointless and lacking any discernible quality beyond their traditional role in ruining Sundays.
It’s not even what he says, but how thoroughly awful he makes my head feel with the way that he says it.
Wait. Actually it’s often what he says, too.
These are confusing times for Buffalo Sabres fans.
There has been a schism in a place the team likes to call Hockey Heaven. Conflicted fans have turned against each other. “Tankers” have been cheering for the opponent while claiming Sabres loyalty. Losing to win is the progressive spirit, they declare, a nouveau fandom to be embraced for a potential payoff down the road.
Leave it to The Buffalo News to hit us right away with an unintentional reminder of how thoroughly NOT progressive our sports franchises have been run for-fucking-ever.
Tanking for a more advantageous draft pick is not new. It’s the most obvious fucking way to approach the way that drafts are set up for those teams that are already bad.
We have just never done it before. We have also never won a Championship. The belief in a causal relationship between these two undisputed facts is not progressive. We are coming to this party significantly late, and that sucks. But hey. We made it.
“Anti-tankers” find it distasteful to root against the Sabres and to hope they finish in last place. True fans, they say, never want their team to lose, and tanking is a betrayal. And, oh, the children. What should we tell the children?
Hey man. I get it. I also think it’s kind of ridiculous that parents don’t give their kids enough credit to pick up on the (admittedly slight) nuance at play here. But maybe don’t be such an asshole about people’s opinion relating to their kids. They think it’s important to give a clear message about effort and doing your best, and that tanking makes that a muddled message? That’s their thing. Their kids. Maybe don’t kick them in the nuts so sarcastically in a newspaper.
Start a blog and do it anonymously!
With 16 days left in the NHL season, the Sabres are holding down bedrock. The worst team is guaranteed no worse than the second overall draft choice, meaning the Sabres would land Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, blue-chip prospects who make scouts drool.
But the Arizona Coyotes can bore beneath the Sabres for a more fracktastic finish. The teams have two games to play, Thursday night in First Niagara Center and Monday night in Gila River Arena.
The teams do not have two games to play. They have two games to play against each other. Thou shalt not prepare the most haughty, overindulgent piece of professional journalism I can fucking imagine and then write a sentence that thoroughly lacking in clarity. It’s tough on these streets.
If the Coyotes or Edmonton Oilers undercut the Sabres, then a long winter will feel even bleaker. The Sabres still could get a fine player with the third draft pick, but the talent level from McDavid and Eichel falls off the shelf.
That’s why, although the Sabres never have admitted to calculated losing, many fans are OK with their favorite team’s front office committing to being the NHL’s worst club for a second straight season.
Advocates and detractors naturally have visceral reactions to the idea of repetitive defeat being an organizational mission.
From a moral standpoint, however, gut feelings aren’t enough to determine what’s right or wrong.
HERE WE FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOO.
If I had to choose between a Cup next season and being able to go back in time and invisibly sit in on the pitch meeting for this story, I would have a real hard time making a decision.
Tim Graham: “Hey so you know how sometimes reporters look to ethicists to get an academic take on whether military action is ethically justified, or whether a person should be put to death for murder, or whether the State has the moral authority to control a woman’s medical decisions during her pregnancy?”
Room of TBN Sports Reporters: “Um, no?”
Harrington: <shoves Ken doll covered in coconut butter and Nutella down his throat>
TG: “I was thinking of doing the same thing!”
TG: “ABOUT TANKING!”
Sully: <hands TG paper mache Pulitzer Prize> “This belongs to you now.”
It must have been some meeting, guys.
We possibly won’t know for a few years if tanking was worth the suffering, but we can examine whether it’s ethical in sports to lose on purpose.
Ethicists interviewed by The Buffalo News didn’t agree across the board about the Sabres’ managerial conduct. Some felt the Sabres weren’t to blame and that professional sports should be held to a looser standard than amateur athletics.
In general, though, the idea of losing on purpose and the inherent deviousness that traditionally accompanies such behavior was considered an unethical business practice and harmful to the overall sports community.
INHERENT DEVIOUSNESS. HARMFUL TO THE SPORTS COMMUNITY.
YES YES YES.
Putting aside the fact that we are talking about a GAME, and a game streamlined into capitalism replete with all the indicia we’ve come to know and love (questionable pricing structures; tactical displacement of liability and avoidance of exposure to litigation; the insertion of moral absolutes into marketing; the ill-defined yet stunningly provocative lure of the American dream as narrative; and – this one is by far the best – the lionization of billionaires as regular, hard-working men who share our priorities and just want to win … for us), this is only devious or underhanded to the extent we refuse to accept the playing field of pro sport as explicitly extended beyond the surfaces upon which the games are actually played.
To relegate and limit the ideas of “winning” or “competing” in pro sports to the confines of the games as they are played is so mind-numbingly moronic that I have preemptively punched myself in the taint as punishment for giving this idea a shred of attention. NHL Hockey is not only about the players on the ice, though the league would obviously prefer you to believe that is the case. The business workings of the league – primarily the competition over talent within the context of trades and free agency and, yes, drafts – truly determine the trajectory of a franchise and its likelihood of success. Those business workings are ever-present and ever-relevant, and they are set up in such a way that reasonable executives generally agree that (a) superstar-level talent helps win championships, and (b) it is difficult to get that talent through avenues other than the draft.
Deviousness? Underhanded? Nah, kid.
“It is not ethical for a team to tank. You can put a period on that,” said Lee H. Igel, co-director of New York University’s Sports and Society Program and writer on sports-business ethics for Forbes magazine.
I will not. I will, however, put a period on you having absolutely no credibility in the marketplace of ideas when it comes to Sports Ethics, though I admit to still having some difficulty believing that Sports Ethics is a real thing.
Hmm. Maybe I’m the idiot.
“Playing for the Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel sweepstakes is not ethical. There’s no reasonable circumstance in which losing on purpose is right.”
Your aversion to nuance and your hard-line stance on right and wrong in a sport that currently permits Mike Milbury to cash checks in exchange for his willingness to open his mouth and let loose some loose approximation to coherent thought is funny to me. This is a sport that is currently fleecing the City of Detroit in ways that can only be described as tyrannical. This is a sport that permits Jaromir Jagr to keep playing despite the fact it’s obvious to anyone with a brain that he is actually a robot being controlled by those little army dudes from Doctor Who because we can all agree there is no other explanation for a player who dominated NHL ’94 to still have a functional shooting motion. This is a sport that put a former enforcer in charge of discipline for player conduct and then had the further good sense to make Shanahan talk into a video camera to explain the inner workings of his thought process while simultaneously praying that he won’t pass out as a result of decades of head trauma.
Right and wrong? How about this – it’s right that GMTM wants his players’ names on the Cup and it’s wrong that Dr. Igel of NYU is shaping young minds at 200k a pop.
Andrew Koehl, a philosophy professor at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, isn’t as rigid in his opinion of the Sabres. He has empathy for General Manager Tim Murray’s situation.
“Tim Murray has an obligation to do what’s best for the Sabres and in accordance with the rules,” Koehl said. “He has an obligation to do that in the short term and the long term. For him to prioritize one or the other doesn’t seem to be exhibiting a conflict of interest.
“But the Sabres are in a genuine moral dilemma. GMs are playing within the rules, but they’re forced to do something unseemly. They’re forced into a situation where they have to be dishonest.
Genuine moral dilemma made me wet. Super duper wet.
“The real blame, I think, goes to the NHL because the league has had the power to do something about this, and they haven’t.”
Who the fuck are these guys? You have to fucking know better than to fall into this trap. Just because The Buffalo News is asking you about the ethical implications of – GASP! – losing sort of on purpose doesn’t mean you have to play along and actually say that there is a moral dilemma in play here. Shit, there is barely an athletic dilemma in play here. Moral? You teach 400-level Philosophy of Religion, Dr. Koehl! You teach Critical Thinking! You’ve read Descartes and Kant and Rawls and shit on Just War and Social Welfare and in the year 2015 you’ve allowed yourself to be quoted about the “moral dilemma” of a hockey team tanking – WORDS THAT YOU CHOSE WITH YOUR HIGHLY EDUCATED, TENURED MIND – without any shred of irony.
I love you.
Fay Vincent, the former Major League Baseball commissioner, was aghast at the thought of fans cheering for their teams to lose and for rivals to win – not only because it looks bad, but also because it harms the league’s overall business model.
Watch how much harm has been inflicted tonight. Watch all those empty seats cheer and have fun and buy beers. Watch all those non-existent fans buy McEichel jerseys this summer.
“That’s just sick,” Vincent said from his home in Vero Beach, Fla. “It’s a total perversion for what the sport is all about, which is fair competition with everybody playing to the best of their ability and all teams putting the best product on the field or the ice.”
You are the guy who presided over Major League Baseball’s most outrageous period of recreational and performance-enhancing drug use and have since, in a stunning bit of old rich white man hypocrisy (also known as “Pulling a Lindsay Graham”), called for lifetime bans for PED users.
And of COURSE you live in Florida. Talk about fucking perversion.
I hope your house falls into the ocean. Soon. With you in it, preferably.
What? It’ll help with the water shortage down there.
“When you beat the Sabres – and that impacts the postseason – you’ve beaten a team that’s built to lose. That’s just bizarre, and it’s corrosive.”
So? And when everyone loses to the Sabres in two years, which will impact the postseason, they will have lost to a team that’s built to win. Sports, man. Welcome. Now kindly leave.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t directly address the issue of tanking because he wouldn’t acknowledge it happens in the NBA, although the Philadelphia 76ers have been accused this season of intentionally bottoming out.
“Teams in the NBA don’t lose on purpose,” Cuban wrote in an email to The Buffalo News. “They just aggregate enough talent to compete for a championship in that year.”
But if there were such a thing as tanking, then Cuban might be able to make a case for it. Cuban, a firebrand spirit among old-school NBA owners, is known for challenging the establishment.
Also winning some titles.
“Remember: The goal is not to win games,” Cuban wrote. “The goal is to win a championship. Some believe the best approach to get there is by getting the best possible draft picks.
“So those teams are not trying to lose. They are trying to win a championship.”
You, my man, are my spirit animal. Also, I love Shark Tank, I don’t care what anyone says.
But if championships are the sole purpose in sports, then have the past four decades of Buffalo Bills and Sabres games provided no value to Western New York?
I mean, we had a bunch of laughs and drank a shit ton of amazing beers and probably some of us got stoned off some righteous, dank weed at our tailgates, so I wouldn’t call the last four decades of Buffalo sports to completely devoid of value. But it helps that we learned early how to have all that fun and shit without depending on wins. Which, incidentally, is why so many of us couldn’t care less about a couple seasons of bottoming out. We’re still here, man. The beers are still cold.
Nobody has alleged the Sabres’ coaching staff or players are on the take. They appear to be giving an honest effort, recently scoring the first goal 10 times in a 12-game stretch.
Where the Sabres have rigged the system is by assembling a team that – no matter how hard they try – still would lose a landslide number of games.
They had that team before, and no one seemed to notice. They’ve been the worst team in this league for a couple years now; this is not a recent construction. All the players they’ve been able to bring in through trade or free agency since forever have had one thing in common – they have made the Sabres NOT FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN SHIT. So what’s the alternative if not approaching the draft as the only way out? And if the draft is the only way out, why the fuck is it March and we’re having a public discussion of the fucking morality of trying to maximize the draft’s utility for this club?
In moral terms, this season is the quintessential example of an event that has absolutely zero negative implications. Sure, the positive implications are prospective and a matter of some degree of chance, but are we really considering that it could be morally bad for a team that was already incredibly shit to make themselves a little shittier and hope for the payoff this summer?
The ability of Tim Graham and his Merry Band of Fucks that Flunked the LSATs to find sacred, immovable value in “sports done the right way” is astonishing.
“It’s the sneakiness that can have a deleterious effect in the long run,” Koehl said. “Tim Murray is exemplifying a kind of dishonesty where you wink at the truth, and he’s a public figure. So I think that’s harmful for the community.”
Man, I fucking LIKED you before. Sure, you were bloviating about moral dilemmas and completely lacked any real sense of how much this shit doesn’t approach the level of morality or ethics, and sure I actually made fun of you a bunch, but at least you blamed the NHL, and that’s always a good approach with me. Fuck Bettman, right guys?
Now, though? Jesus. Jesus is ashamed of you. Jesus is as ashamed of you as your Church is ashamed of homosexuality.
Also, sometimes, management looks at the team and see that Drew Stafford has an “A” on his sweater and Steve Ott is the captain and realize that maybe they have to reorganize for the next season after next season. This sometimes happens. It happened with the Sabres.
The Sabres have looked like a team with a premeditated strategy to lose as many games as possible.
Also, a team that hasn’t had more than a few good players on it at any given time this decade.
Las Vegas oddsmakers haven’t favored the Sabres once all season, not even early at home, against awful opponents or both.
The Sabres have scored 1.77 goals per game, the fourth-lowest average since the NHL legalized the forward pass in 1929. They scored 10 goals through their first 10 games, the lowest such output since 1936.
And when they went on a 14-game losing streak in December and January, management sat on its hands. The Sabres neither waived nor traded any of their players. They didn’t fire coach Ted Nolan.
I mean, they traded some guys later, right? I haven’t been paying much attention, honestly. This season has basically made me into Ron Popeil and I love it.
Also known as participating in the system’s risk/reward mechanisms. “Gaming the system” is starting a corporation and using a tax loophole for individual taxpayers to avoid corporate tax rates. “Gaming the system” is taking advantage of the system’s imperfections in order to gain an advantage that the system is meant to prevent. This is not that. This is the opposite, actually. System-ing the Game? Yeah, actually, that works.
“Everyone else is drawn into it: the sportscasters, the journalists, the fans. Everyone is drawn into this place of acting and feeling in a way that is two-faced.
Man, fuck off. Fuck you. I know what this is. I am not two-faced. Your mom is two-faced.
“That’s the opposite of what you would hope a public organization would do. You would hope a public organization would bring out the best in humanity.”
Since when? Are you new here? This is America, asshole. That shit does not work. You’ll see our best when we’re lifting trophies by the lake and I remember how much I love Boone’s Farm.
Just kidding. I never forgot.
What the Sabres appear to be doing isn’t new.
BUT YOU SAID IT WAS PROGRESSIVE EARLIER. U R DUM.
The NHL instituted a draft lottery system after the Ottawa Senators flopped to select Alexandre Daigle first overall in 1993. The gambit backfired. Daigle is considered among hockey’s biggest draft busts.
Can’t win ‘em all.
Former Washington Capitals coach Ron Wilson admitted this month – without providing all the details – his general manager, George McPhee, ordered him to lose down the 1998-99 homestretch to improve draft position.
That year is a bad example, but the Capitals have a viable franchise in D.C. for one reason – they got a first pick one year and got a next-level talent.
Also, that Caps team in 98-99 was BAD. No one noticed that they were tanking. And it didn’t matter.
The NBA changed its postseason seeding rules when the 2005-06 Los Angeles Clippers seemingly tanked games to dodge Cuban’s Mavericks in the first round.
The 2006 Swedish hockey team lost a game to avoid playing Canada or Russia in the Olympic quarterfinals.
AND WON GOLD, NICE OMISSION, PRICK.
Four women’s badminton doubles teams were ejected from the 2012 Olympics for throwing round-robin matches to manipulate their seedings.
Last month, two Tennessee high school girls’ basketball teams were banned from their postseason. They tried to lose to each other and avoid playing the defending state champ in the regional tournament. They committed blatant fouls and even shot into the wrong basket.
I still maintain that those girls got hosed. This sort of stuff isn’t part of our tradition for only one reason – the internet didn’t exist 30 years ago. If it did, we’d be over this handwringing because we’d accept that the additional information we can easily get about seeding and other team’s results and everything is ABSOLUTELY right to be part of our decision whether to win. The only thing we hate is that it’s done blatantly. The only thing we hate is the optics.
This is all about gut feelings. Which is why Graham didn't cite the Penguins. Because it contradicts the feeling in his gut.
Know who else trusted his gut and pretended he was being logical? McCarthy. There. I said it.
Carrie W. LeCrom, director of the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University, sees degrees of ethical misbehavior among the various examples.
“I consider there to be a major difference in societal expectation of what is done at the high school or college level versus the professional level,” LeCrom said. “Professional sports are so financially driven that I think it’s a challenge to say that this version of tanking is similar to pro sports version of tanking.
Notice that LeCrom is quoted here and never again in this piece. Notice that Cuban was quoted once and not again. Notice that the guys who are in line with Graham’s own feeling about tanking are quoted throughout.
Anything that challenges Graham’s central point is pushed aside. Talk about ethical fucking behavior.
“Is it ethically questionable behavior either way? Yes, but I really don’t think you’re comparing apples to apples.”
Igel and Koehl noted that even pro sports come with a certain community responsibility, whether the issue is steroids, medical care or competing with integrity.
LeCrom would say that those things don’t belong in the same thought. The comparing steroids, medical care and competing with integrity is comparing apples to oranges to acai berries (which everyone claims to love because it makes them feel superior, just like integrity). Steroid use is cheating, and issues of player medical care are so obviously ethical issues, but “competing with integrity?” What does that even mean? For Graham and these sycophants he found, it means on-ice. On-field. Within the confines of the starting and ending buzzers. Full stop. It does not mean all that other stuff that impacts what kind of team is playing and what kind of chance that team has at the ultimate goal.
If you’re thinking that Tim Graham seems to intentionally ignore a massive part of sports with this discussion, you’d be right. If you’re thinking that Tim Graham is the absolute pits, right again.
“A majority of people would roll their eyes,” Koehl said. “Talking in terms of character and virtue is something that has probably gone out of style in our culture.
You again? I’ll flesh this one out again … Everything you say has to come with a big fucking caveat: “I work at a Free Methodist University and it’s altogether likely that my idea of ethics and character and virtue is necessarily shaped, even as I give this interview, by the dictates of my Church and its belief that plenty of harmless and/or fun things are evil. I very likely believe, in accordance with my employer’s requirements, that purposefully losing in sports presents a more serious moral dilemma than legislation aimed at banning equal rights for homosexuals.”
Listen, man. I go to church, too. I’m down. But fuck right off.
Character and virtue are always in style. But there is virtue in adaptability. There is virtue in what GMTM is doing. There is, however, no virtue in claiming that you have the monopoly on dictating morality, but here we are.
“Then there are people who are just outraged at what the Sabres are doing, that it’s shameful, a travesty or makes a mockery of the game. There are a lot of people who find a virtuous approach to sports very refreshing in this day and age.”
I wish those people would have as much desire to see a virtuous approach in, say, sensible foreign policy without fear, but that’s just me.
Skkkkkiiippping ahead. Because really? I don’t care what the NHL is doing to approach a problem that I don’t really consider a problem. Change the rules, don’t. Whatever. The Sabres are in it to win it (eventually) now, under the current system.
Besides, I couldn’t wait to jump ahead to this…
Is it corrupt?
You know, at this point, I hope so. You better give me a “yes” at the end of this or you’re a massive fucking coward.
Should losing on purpose in sports be considered morally corrupt?
No. But blogging sure should be.
The answer depends on the philosophical method.
It really doesn’t. It depends, primarily, on whether you accept the premise that the question of “moral corruption” has a place in this discussion.
While there are other ethical approaches to decision making, here are the three main approaches used in academic circles:
• Utilitarianism is the belief that, in basic terms, the ends justify the means. It’s also known as social hedonism; pleasure is the objective regardless of the cost. This would provide the most favorable view of tanking.
NO. Unless you meant “basic terms” to mean “Hey, I’m basically removing other, relevant aspects of this ethical approach from my description, oh and also adding ‘hedonism’ because that will get you thinking what I want you to think despite the fact that it’s very misleading in this context.”
I won’t go into it at length here, but first - pleasure, as Graham mentions, may be the goal of utilitarianism, but not in the sexualized way that Graham implies by mentioning hedonism to his lay person readership; pleasure = good, and collective good at that. And “cost” absolutely comes into play. Cost, or the idea of what “good” is sacrificed as a result of any decision, is entirely relevant in utilitarianism. Fuck, read a book, man.
Anyone want to guess whether Graham found a utilitarianist to chime in now that he has said that this approach would have the most favorable view of tanking?
SPOILERS: Of course he didn't.
• Deontology says that some actions simply are intrinsically wrong, and we shouldn’t do them. A cornerstone to deontology is reversability, meaning a person should be able to switch roles with someone else in a given situation and still be able to rationally will that action be done. In other words, if you would scoff at the Toronto Maple Leafs for tanking, then you shouldn’t want your team to tank either.
This theory has absolutely no relevance to being a sports fan. I have the intrinsic right to scoff at everything the Toronto Maple Leafs do, and any philosophy that requires I scoff at my squad for doing the same thing is useless to me. We are hypocrites as sports fans, and also as people generally. That’s the entire point of what we’re up to here.
• Virtue theory is based on the works of Aristotle, Plato and ancient Chinese philosophy. At virtue theory’s core is a flourishing community, with character the most important trait. Under this approach, tanking is not virtuous if done deceitfully or if it damages the league or the sport.
That is in no way helpful. Are any GM’s acting deceitfully when they rebuild? It’s fucking obvious. That’s the point of GMTM being hired. He’s fixing it. And the sport and league can DIAF for all I care … right after the Sabres win a Cup.
Wait, no more theories? You are aware that there are more than three philosophical approaches to this debate, right? Like how I can imagine the Sabres winning a Stanley Cup, thus it's obviously going to happen. Descartes said that. Print it.
Igel and Koehl disagree about where blame should fall in the Sabres’ approach to 2014-15.
Koehl, who considers himself a virtue theorist, can forgive the Sabres’ front office because the NHL rewards the most terrible teams.
“The Sabres’ leadership has been put in an awkward situation because of an unwise structure,” Koehl said. “They’re making decisions that are in the best long-term interests of the club.”
But just because a team is allowed to lose on purpose, doesn’t mean it should.
Except in this case, when the equation is “Because a team is allowed to lose on purpose and losing can give that team access to a generational talent that will help it win for a fucking decade, it totally should.”
If Tim Graham wrote the logic puzzles on the LSATs, these sports ethicists would have actual jobs.
“Saying that it’s OK because that’s how the system is set up pushes away any effect that behavior has on the broader society,” Igel said.
Actually, scratch that. Igel would be doing this shit regardless. This is his ceiling.
“We tend to forget – and this is a big thing in business ethics – whatever decisions are made in an organization are going to have an effect not only on the people in that organization, but also the industry in a broader sense and, by extension, society.
The slippery slope argument as ultimate safety valve. I’ve seen this one before. It doesn’t end well for you, sir.
“That’s when you start to get into the excuse business. You can look at business scandal after business scandal and find the same kind of mentality, shifting blame. ‘Yeah, I did it, but there were all sorts of other factors that made me do it.’ ”
Except the business scandals you’re alluding to – the ones that have the impact of raising eyebrows and making us think about the broader implications of misconduct – all involve illegal fucking behavior and/or management fucking over shareholders. Again, this is not that. You’re trying to stick a square peg into a round hole, except the square peg is your dick and the round hole is my brain and my brain is fucking rejecting your square dick analysis. My brain thinks your square dick should back the fuck off with that trash.
Koehl and Igel agreed the ethics of purposeful losing cannot be determined by whether it works or not.
You know what, that’s fine. Fuck ethics. Ethics got us Lindy for five years too long and Darcy for longer. Ethics got us a Bills team full of high character non-athletes. Ethics got Buffalo sports fans a feeling of self-righteousness and warm fuzzies over how blue collar our teams were as they kept. fucking. losing. Ethics got us decades of abject mediocrity with a couple flashes in the pan – exceptions to the rule – and missed opportunities at snatching up all-world talent that could actually justify getting the Key to City.
Ethics has no fucking place here because it’s what fucking got us here. Get me heads on spikes. Get me fire and brimstone. Get me a team that will lay waste to these leagues I despise.
I don’t want bullies. I want fucking conquistadors.
The ethics of purposeful losing are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if it works and if our guys are the ones making it work. Put a period on that, turds.
The integrity of any decision is founded on the wisdom and information at the time it’s made.
So it matters not if a team that loses intentionally all season could be guaranteed A) last place in the standings, and B) a player that wins the team three Stanley Cups.
It ABSOLUTELY matters. What the fuck? If the goal is C, a Cup or three, then it absolutely fucking matters that the circumstances set up are “If A, then B, and if B then C” rather than if “A then B, if B then A forever.” Could you not find a proponent of utilitarianism to advocate in this piece? Surprise. Here I am.
And it matters not if the team fails to get the player it wanted or he gets seriously injured in a motorcycle accident before he plays a game.
“Your action is ethical not based on how it turns out,” Koehl said, “but on all the information you had at the time.
The information we have now is that McDavid and Eichel fucking bleed goals. They eat three squares a day and shit out unicorns and rainbows and hockey pucks into hockey nets. They are GNARLY.
The information that we have right now is that they will, in all likelihood – and that’s all we have … likelihoods and chance and getting pucks towards the net, fuck it’s hockey – help our Sabres get a LOT better. The information we have right now is that our team is bad and there’s no discernible reason not to give it a shot because what the fuck else is the team going to do with these last few weeks.
“But the result’s not even guaranteed, and that’s a point… You can make all these choices that are truly objectionable and still not achieve the goal you’re aiming for.”
Right. It’s not guaranteed. But that a result is not guaranteed is hardly a reason to take some high moral road – emphasis on high, because Christ I hope these guys were blazed as shit when this all went down – and opt out of a scenario that the strongest route to success. Even if it makes some fans squeamish or offends their sensibilities.
Sure, you could try real hard and keep winning a few games here and there and trade for sub-standard talent and keep your investors – your owners, your players, your fans – locked into an endless spiral of suck. Maybe you get out of that somehow, I don’t know. But you probably don’t, based on what you see in the league and your own history. You could never improve. You could watch for another twenty years while other teams in other cities got the players you covet.
Or you could take the easiest, clearest opportunity you have to substantially increase your chances at getting out of that suck spiral and you could tell the bullshit hack philosophers that responded to the Buffalo News’ request for comments to fuck off until they’re chafed, lube up and then fuck off some more. This isn’t that fucking hard, and it certainly doesn’t merit some academics weighing in how the decisions of GMTM are fucking with the moral compass of Buffalo sports fans.
Tim Graham is a goddamned disgrace to his talent.