Win, Lose or Die

The goal of organized sports was once the public support of athletic ability. In recent times, the sports community has lost that principle and found itself caught up in rivalries and the pursuit of the intoxicating feeling of victory.

What happens when athletic prowess is ignored and victory is all that matters? Corruption and gambling take over international events and people will do just about anything to make sure their team wins.

Known as one of the world’s elite cricket clubs, Pakistan shocked fans as it became the first team to be knocked out of the World Cup in Jamaica after an embarrassing loss to Ireland.

Less than 24 hours after the loss, coach Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room and pronounced dead due to “manual strangulation.”

Woolmer was set to reveal details of Pakistani cricket’s corrupt culture in his newest book and was well aware that he had made enemies of those who have millions of dollars riding on the outcome of certain matches.

Woolmer’s murder can be seen as a step by an international body to prevent the public becoming aware of the ins and outs of corruption within his organization. Pakistan has had to expel players on charges of illegal steroid use and has also faced accusations of ball-tampering. These are just a few of the instances that Woolmer had been noting during his tenure as Pakistan’s coach.

Cricket captivates Pakistan just as March Madness holds the attention the United States. Pakistan’s performance at the World Cup is as unexpected as a 16-seed upsetting a top seed in the NCAA tournament. As unbelievable as that is, the murder of a coach is no way for an angry fan or disgruntled gambler to gain retribution.

The recent murder of Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos was said to stem from an altercation at a nightclub, but who is to say that it had no relation to the performance of the Broncos last season?

It’s as if gamblers, who are breaking international laws by attempting to fix the outcome of cricket matches, see no distinction with their illegal actions. Murder is just a different way to make sure one team beats another.

The international sporting community finds itself at a critical place in time, and if the ICC and other governing bodies do not find a successful way to avoid corruption within the organization, cricket and sports in general will become just another form of organized crime.