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Fantoni Nunes

My name is Roberto Ronconi, I have been a Bridge player since 1982 and, as of lately, I have been horrified with the Internet shaming going on against the top-notch pair Fantoni-Nunes.

No Bridge player who believes in and loves the game can ever admit to cheating. By very definition, cheating disrupts the essence of any sport, the integrity every player commits to keeping when they start to play. Indeed, as far as sports, namely Bridge, are concerned, we must say that the end does not necessarily justify the means; and this is one of the basic principles every player should keep in mind, as it has been at the core of our society since the beginning of times.

I should confess I have not analyzed in detail the case against Fantoni-Nunes.I do not think it my place to make comments on the accusations against them. Actually, I believe that any comment or action should only be taken by somebody with the necessary knowledge, power and jurisdiction.

If I did have to express an opinion, I would say that, given their superior ability at the game, I find it hard to believe that they need a secret code to communicate with their partner.

Nevertheless, it seems to me a very crucial part of the whole affair is being forgotten by most. Fantoni and Nunes have yet to be convicted. I am not necessarily defending them; because I cannot know whether they are innocent or guilty and neither can anybody else, except for the competent authorities after a proper trial. Truth is that unless and until they are found guilty, they are completely innocent, and still one of the best pair of Bridge players in the word to me.

I cannot tolerate under any circumstances the public crucifixion that has been going on widespread all over the Internet, a media stoning based on circumstantial proof that is being reviewed without even a drop of legality or fairness and, at the end of the day, is robbing two people of the inviolable right to defense that belongs to each and every human being. If we are in fact to place the blame here and there, we may as well question how extremely convenient it would be for the rival player who uncovered the video which would prove the alleged cheating to have two star players such as Fantoni-Nunes out of the picture.Why would I ever hint to such insinuation? As they said in the novel: “Cherchez la femme!”

Nobody who could be proved innocent should ever be condemned beforehand, especially by people not at all involved in the case. I know that the web has a tendency to go mad over potential scandals and it likes to act in lieu of courts and judges, but this is in no way a justification. It is not right, it is not fair and it has to stop. I am sure, if you think for a moment about the damage an Internet pillory may do, you will be terrified. We are not in the Middle Ages; there is no Holy Inquisition with supreme powers to cast judgment without fair trial.

Again, I am not defending Fantoni-Nunes. I am writing to you all from the bottom of my heart, to ask that we all remember what respect is. Let us all be a model for one another. Let us all have a proper conduct and stop the Internet shaming.

We all love Bridge, we all want it to be a clean game, and I am sure we all know this cannot be obtained by any means but the Rule of Law. Anything achieved via public shaming or finger-pointing will just mean throwing away the hope to better the world of Bridge in the future.

Indeed, as reported by the Bridge Bulletin (n. 32, June 2014): “Nearly as grave as breaking Law 73B is accusing a player or pair of cheating”.

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