Diving in soccer is like [blank] in business

In the comment-thread to a post by “Matiok” about soccer dives, below, I suggested that diving is in some sense significantly worse that most other fouls in sport (say, among fouls that do not involve significantly injuring your opponent). This is because diving involves a player who was not able to better his opponent on the field, and so instead decides to accuse the opponent of a foul in order to gain an advantage. You can’t win fair and square, and not only do you cheat, but you accuse your opponent of being the cheater.

There isn’t a good word for “chickenshit” in formal academic ethics. “Hypocrite” doesn’t quite capture the ethical nastiness of that kind of competitive tactic. (Yes, I realize it’s much more complicated than that, and that we have to look at the way the institution of soccer has evolved, etc, etc. I’ve done some of that in my other blog, here and here.)

But in this post I want to think about how we might fill in the blank in the title of the post. What, in other adversarial realms (like business or politics), resembles diving in soccer?

Well, here’s something similar. In a Reuters story yesterday we learn that:

Nickolas Galiatsatos, owner of Nina’s Bella Pizzeria in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, is accused of putting bags of mice at nearby competitors on Monday afternoon, according to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

The owner of Verona Pizza watched Galiatsatos go into his restroom carrying a bag but emerge empty-handed, and alerted two patrol officers who were in the restaurant, Chitwood said.

The officers found a bag of mice and footprints on a toilet seat, suggesting someone had been trying to reach the ceiling tiles, he said.

The officers then found Galiatsatos near another pizza place, Uncle Nick’s, where he was seen putting something in a trash can. There, police found a bag containing five mice, Chitwood said.

“This guy planted them to put these guys out of business,” Chitwood said. “I’ve been at this for 47 years, and I’ve never seen mice used as a criminal tool.”

Like many divers in soccer, he claimed he had to do this because his opponents were doing the same to him:

Galiatsatos claimed his shop had been infested with mice, and he blamed his competitors for the problem, he said.

Chitwood said that Galiatsatos told police he bought the mice at a pet shop for $10.

He faces misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals, criminal mischief, harassment and disorderly conduct.

A misdemeanor?! You can NOT be serious, ref! Surely that’s a red-cardable offense.

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One response to “Diving in soccer is like [blank] in business

  1. There isn’t a good word for “chickenshit” in formal academic ethics

    “Pusillanimous” is an excellent word, though to capture the contemptible quality of chickenshit behavior like diving in soccer, I prefer “craven”.

    Patent-trolling in business is a bit like diving in soccer, modulo the number of teams.

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