Those who follow cricket will know of the ball tampering controversy earlier in 2018 that involved Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Initially when the news broke out, there was a lot of media interest in the story which subsequently died down. In the lead up to the Boxing Day test match, this has now again come up in the media, and it’s not without controversy.
Specifically, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have both had interviews where they explain what happened from their perspective and why they did it. They also continued to reiterate that they took full responsibility for their actions. The media and many cricket commentators will have you focus on the fact that it was a poor decision on part of both players to release their interviews when they did and actively calling out the mastermind of the whole incident was wrong. Leave things in the past and move on seems to be a common opinion on this topic.
Honestly, I’m a bit annoyed at the media and commentators who have taken this stance for a number of reasons:
- It is yet another example of the culture of Cricket Australia and the lack of perceived support they give to their cricketers;
- It completely washes over the fact that these men are struggling with issues that are very common to everyone – and by trying to “avoid” it publicly there’s an argument that there’s a subliminal message to the public to “get over their issues” and keep it internal (which is definitely not what I would advise in my line of work); and
- There has been no perceived intent to even try to understand why the men did what they did in the first place – just judgement.
Everyone makes choices – some of which have big consequences. But in almost all circumstances, the reasons for a particular person making that particular choice comes down to one thing – their values.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “values” as:
principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.
So based on that definition, our values are the principles that we choose to govern how we behave. How many of us actually know what our values are, and how many of us are willing to admit that perhaps even our interpretation of what our value is can be entirely different from person to person?
For example, at the time of the ball tampering incident, Cameron Bancroft said that his main value was to fit in. If we were to then assess this value against the choice that he had at that time, his reasoning was along the lines of:
- If he went ahead with the ball tampering – “I want to be liked by the senior players and a part of the team so if I do it then I’ll fit in“.
- If he didn’t agree to the ball tampering – “I would have let the rest of the players down and they wouldn’t take me seriously.“
So regardless of whether he did it or not, because his value was to fit in, he would’ve felt like he had failed the team either way! Ouch.
Another example of how values can be construed differently is in relation to the value of “Family” or the “family first” mentality. There’s a couple of ways a person could act in order to live this value:
- The person schedules their entire time so that they maximise the amount of time they spend with their family (e.g. refusing to work more hours than they have been employed to do, turning down social events after hours in order to spend more time with their children, etc);
- The person is a workaholic because to them, if they can earn a lot of money than they would be able to give the family their best chance at list (i.e. great food, great education, great home to live in, etc); and
- For a person who may have grown up in an abusive environment and had a partner who was violent towards them and their children, the “family first” value might have been acted out in terms of do everything to “please” the abuser so that the abuser would focus their efforts elsewhere and leave the children alone (i.e. children’s safety was paramount).
You can see from the above examples that there are numerous ways in which a person can live by a particular value, and the way they choose to live by the value can be entirely different to how another person who has the same value would live them. We are all individual people and no one can really have a better understanding of why we act in the way we do because they are not us. All ways of living in accordance with the particular value are completely justified.
The moral of the story is this – don’t be too quick to judge the actions of one person – to deem that what someone has done is “wrong” or “right”. It’s important to always try to look at it from the other person’s perspective and understand their values. You’re not in the position to know what’s right for that particular person, and it’s definitely not the greatest idea to project your expectations on them either (as your expectations would be based on your own experience and not theirs).
To reference pop culture, and I’m now confessing that I’m a big Marvel comic fan, in Avengers: Infinity War and also Black Panther, how many of you ended up feeling like the main antagonist’s actions were justified based on their way of thinking? I know for me I actually began to feel sympathetic towards Killmonger and Thanos even though they had killed so many people to achieve their aim! Dang!
So how do I know if I’m living by my values?
The first thing to do is to figure out what they are first!
Dr DeMartini has a pretty interesting way that helps us determine our values – it’s a 13 question process that helps you find what makes you tick. I did it a few years ago and it’s always a good process to revisit this every year as your values do change. You can then use this as a basis to realign and re-organise your life. To take a look at it, head here.