Cheap shot?

中国日报网 2017-04-14 10:46



Cheap shot?Reader question:

Please explain “cheap shot” in this sentence: My view is that your editorial was a cheap shot.

My comments:

First of all, an editorial is an opinionated article representing the views of a newspaper as an organization.

Apparently the said newspaper wrote an editorial criticizing someone or something and the speaker in our example disagrees with the criticism, calling it unfair.

That’s about it. At any rate that’s what “cheap shot” means.

A cheap shot is literally an attack that is considered cheap, low in value or moral estimation. Mostly cheap shots refer to unsportsmanlike behavior of one type or another.

In boxing, for example, boxers are not allowed to hit each other on the back of the head to prevent injury. They’re not allowed to hit each other in areas below the belt, for obvious reasons.

If you watch a lot of boxing matches on TV, you’ll notice that boxers do hit their opponents on the back of the head or below the belt sometimes. Actually, it happens quite often but almost always by accident. And when it happens, the referee stops the fight and gives the offender a verbal warning. If it happens repeatedly, the perpetrator may lose points or even the match itself.

Anyways, like I said, hitting opponents on the back of the head or under the belt happens by accident. However, if someone intentionally hits an opponent on the back of the head or below the belt in order to gain an unfair advantage, then such hits or shots are considered cheap shots.

Cheap shots may give him a handy win, but the victory will be a cheap one.

And the offender himself is considered a cheap shot as a person. Needless to say, a cheap-shot boxer is not be respected among boxing circles or among sporting circles in general. In sports, more than in other areas of life, certainly much more than in politics, people loath players like that. People want and expect to see fair play. People want and expect to see players win by fair means – fair and square – not by foul.

Outside the boxing ring, by the way, there are cheap shots of course. I have two idioms as proof. In the West, we say one shouldn’t kick someone when they’re down. That’s because attacking people who are down and therefore unable to fight back effectively is unfair. Similarly in China, we denounce those who throw stones down the well after their enemy falls into it. When the enemy is powerless to fight back, it is no longer a fair fight.

All right, you get the point: cheap shots are not fair shots. They’re unjustifiable especially from the moral point of view.

And here are media examples:

1. Perhaps Kim Kardashian has never heard the proverb‎ that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

On Sunday night’s episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Kim took a cheap shot at former BFF Paris Hilton.

While Kim was helping her mother spy on stepfather Bruce Jenner at a golf course, Kris asked Kim if she remembered to bring the night vision camera, and that’s when Kim responded, “No. That was Paris Hilton.”

Of course, Kim was making reference to Hilton’s infamous sex tape with Rick Salomon that was shot in night vision in 2003.

Kim really isn’t in any place to be making jokes since she has her own sex tape, shot in 2003 with former boyfriend Ray J, which leaked in 2007 and helped her become the celebrity she is today.

- Kim Kardashian Takes Cheap Shot At Paris Hilton About Sex Tape,, July 23, 2012.

2. Paul Merson says Roy Keane’s criticism of Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is a ‘cheap shot’.

The Sky Sports pundit hit out at the Old Trafford legend after he claimed the England striker looked ‘awful’ and needed to ‘step up to the plate’ following their 0-0 draw against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.

The result leaves United looking for a win against Wolfsburg in their final group game to guarantee qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Despite dominating possession and territory, United managed just one shot on target in the second half and Keane believes Rooney must shoulder the blame for their lack of a cutting edge.

“It seemed a strange atmosphere at Old Trafford tonight, they lacked cutting edge,” Keane said, speaking on ITV after the match. “You got the impression the players were waiting for something to happen, rather than going and making it happen.

“Wayne was on about lack of composure and quality, but I think he was as guilty as anybody. He needs to step up to the plate. You look at Wayne's legacy at Old Trafford, it’s absolutely fantastic. His goals record is brilliant. But now he’s the captain there’s more responsibility and I think he’s got to do a lot more.”

Keane also questioned Rooney’s ‘stunt’ at a recent WWE Raw event, which he attended with his son, adding: “Why is he getting involved in all that nonsense? There’s no benefit to him. I’d have a look at that side of it.

“It’s certainly not helping him. I wouldn’t begrudge him going out and enjoying himself, but if you’re not at it yourself you’ve got to have a look and lead by example. He didn’t do that tonight. He doesn’t look sharp, he looks awful.

“Mentally he doesn’t look really sharp; physically he doesn’t look in great shape. He needs to have a look at himself.”

But Merson questioned the merits of Keane’s comments, insisting England’s record goalscorer continues to give his all for club and country.

Speaking to Sky Sports Now he said: “I thought it was a cheap shot, to be honest.

“Wayne was outstanding for England the other week but he had runners either side of him, playing off him, people making third-man runs. He had movement and he was very comfortable.

“But then he goes into a Man Utd team and it is the hardest thing in the world to keep clean sheets and score goals at the same time, I don’t care where you are, that’s the hardest thing to do. He doesn’t have that there where they are working off scraps. “And the WWE thing? He has a little boy who is likely a massive fan so why can’t he do that? He still has to have a family life. he has to think of the kids, so for me that was just a cheap shot.”

- Paul Merson labels Roy Keane jibe at Wayne Rooney as a ‘cheap shot’,, November 26, 2015.

3. If Hillary Clinton was trying to bait Donald Trump on Monday night at Hofstra University by trying to launch a new feud based on his past inflammatory comments about women, it seems to have worked. Two days later, Trump is openly engaged in another war of words with someone outside the political arena -- a former Miss Universe pageant winner from decades ago, Alicia Machado. Trump mocked her for gaining weight in the immediate aftermath of the pageant, calling her “an eating machine” on Howard Stern’s radio show.

On Wednesday night, Trump unloaded again on Machado in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor.” O’Reilly asked if Trump had anything further to say about the Miss Universe story, which, over the last two days, has drawn attention to Trump’s history of controversial comments about women.

“No, not much,” Trump said. But it turned out that Trump had plenty to say in his own defense.

“I mean, look, I hardly know this person,” Trump said. “But this is a person, Bill…She did not do well. She had a lot of difficulties. And, you know, they wanted to fire her. The company itself wanted to fire her. I saved her job.

“I will bet you if you put up and added up all the time I spoke to her, it was probably less than five minutes. I mean, I wasn’t -- I had nothing to do with this person, but they wanted to fire her. I saved her job because I said that’s going to be ruinous. And I’ve done that with a number of the young ladies where I saved their job.”

On Tuesday, Trump said, “You know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was – it was a real problem,” in a phone interview with Fox News.

Her physical appearance continued being an issue for Trump, who is struggling in his poll numbers among women.

“I saved her job because they wanted to fire her for putting on so much weight,” Trump said to O’Reilly. “And it is a beauty contest. You know, I mean, say what you want, Bill, I mean, they know what they’re getting into. It’s a beauty contest.”

Asked by O’Reilly whether it was a “cheap shot” by Clinton to bring up the episode, Trump said he thought it was, and then pointed to “a lot of things are coming out that I wasn’t aware of, like they say that she threatened the life of a judge and got involved in all sorts of problems,” which, Trump predicted, could end up causing problems for Clinton.

- Trump’s day: Miss Universe, NATO obligations, and Clinton’s time off the trail,, September 29, 2016.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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