Criminal cases in sport history have been excused or dragged on due to athletes being considered as a special population. There is a short list of “50 criminals in sport history” listed on Complex including one that is widely known today as the “O.J Simpson Trial”. This week, the article Cristiano Ronaldo Set to Play for Juventus Amid Rape Allegation, was posted by CBC. Why are athletes excused for their deviant acts? One factor is due to communities rationalizing athletes criminal behaviour.
In today’s news, soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo, is facing a rape allegation and is still given permission to play in his upcoming match. His coach, Massimiliano Allegri, rationalizes his decision to play the athlete, and is quoted saying that “Cristiano’s doing well. I’ve known him for three months, but I can say that in his 15 years of his career he has shown great professionalism and seriousness both on and off the field,” (Matar, Daniella). Completely disregarding the rape allegation because the athlete has shown “professionalism” in his sport career. His team, the Juventus, are also standing behind the athlete commenting that he is a, “great champion.” (Matar, Daniella).
Athletes crimes are overlooked in many different sport settings. The article, Deviance of Organizational Subunits: The Case of College Athletic Departments, is an example of how university athletics excuse deviant behaviour. It talks about the loopholes some athletic departments use that are seen as a norm in the university community: “Athletic departments have acquired the master status of deviant. It is generally accepted that departments engage in deviant behaviour as a routine matter” (Frey, James), and goes as far to say that “The athletic department exists under the umbrella of the university,” (Frey, James).
Featured image: C. Ronaldo statue in Portugal