By Anthony Sheridan
I have always believed that nationalism is as dangerous as religion on the basis that both mindsets operate only in the realm of the irrational.
Take for example this Irish Independent editorial written in response to the news that Irish boxer Michael O’Reilly had failed a dope test.
The headline gives us the first hint of the irrational.
Our heroic boxers don’t deserve cloud of scandal
Well, whatever about the rest of the boxing team Michael O’Reilly most certainly does deserve the cloud of scandal hovering over him on the rational fact that he did indeed fail a doping test.
The author makes it clear that our ‘heroic’ boxers are the greatest warriors to walk the face of earth while those nasty Russians are evil incarnate. (I exaggerate only very slightly here).
The cloud of scandal hanging over Irish boxers is not just unfair but monumentally so, the author thunders.
And why is it unfair?
Well, because this particular group of athletes has brought more glory and displayed more guts than any other in history.
This is where we enter the dangerous realm of the irrational where honesty and logic is twisted to suit the mindset of nationalism.
According to the author the doping finding for the Irish boxer is unfair because our boxers are glorious and gutsy.
But the Russians deserve to be severely punished because –
So many Games have been marred by the fact that cheaters have taken to the winners’ podium. This goes against everything that honest competition is about.
There must be no ambiguity; no athlete should ever get as far as the Olympics unless they are clean.