Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Russia faces a possible ban from this year’s Olympics after a World Anti-Doping Agency report found evidence of a state-sponsored performance-enhancing drugs program. While it may be tempting to dismiss cheating in sports as a less important moral failure, we shouldn’t look at it that way. Russia’s state-sponsored doping program is more than “gaining an advantage.” It’s a systematic effort to lie—to the Olympics committee, to the other nations, and to their own country. Can a government that wants to deceive so many nations in matters of sports be trusted when it comes to other issues—like human rights abuses or foreign policy? Sports may not be as immediately important as those other issues, but then again, sports isn’t really the issue here: Character is. And character concerns much more than sports.