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Sports doping dilemma
Baseball isn't what it used to be. A lot of sports aren't. It's almost every week now I read in the news of one more sport great who used performance-enhancing drugs. Today David Ortiz was added to the list. I mean really Big Papi? You're so lovable. It's been going on for years now, and I think I might be to the point where I just don't want to know anymore. And yet, it's important  that these cheaters are made public, there should be a stigma added to them in order to save sports as we know it.

I blame the money. In 1997 98 baseball players made over $8 million dollars. Drugs are very tempting when you have such a huge amount of expectation on you. And for the players not making that much money, drugs are the simplest way to enter that salary bracket. When so much money is at stake, how surprised can we really be? For all of the 1990s we just turned our heads, preferring to watch the balls rocket out of the park than pointing our binoculars at the highway like veins popping out of every inch of skin. Seriously, was there any doubt Barry Bonds wasn't doping?

What drives someone to cheat? Is it the promise of easy success? Is it the fault of the players or the system? Most likely both.

What bugs me about hearing about Ortiz, Manny, and Alex Rodriguez all doping in 2003 is that they were promised upon testing that the results were strictly anonymous and would never be released to the public. In my eyes, by leaking these names the lawyers are disobeying the contractual agreement. There are 104 other players who tested positive in the same round of testing. What should be done now? Since some were leaked, shouldn't they all be leaked? Or should the list be burned? It is certainly a dilemma, though I don't know if I have the heart to see 100 other players (surely some of whom I love) follow suit.

Maybe it would be simpler to demolish every contract, every baseball stadium, and even the hall of fame and start new. Or maybe we could become a soccer country and finally start calling it football.
Hi Clark,
The problem is not at all the money. Drugs are used in high schools just as much. These people succeed because of a will to win, to be the best, and for that you mostly need drugs, as everyone else is doing it.

The only thing which would really change the culture is if winning wouldn't be what matters. If a sportsperson could feel well while losing, because they gave it all they got, then that would change the scene tremendously. But as long as the only measuring stick of athletes is winning, then how could they not take drugs. People, I would remind you, use drugs even when they are useless, why wouldn't they use them when so useful.

You might think that a person taking the drugs doesn't feel that they themselves won, but it was because of the drugs. But they would assume everyone else is also using drugs so they still beat them, and furthermore, without the drugs they wouldn't win, and as long as they can't feel satisfied without winning, they have to take the drugs.

A funny example of the importance of winning is Lebron James who is turning himself into a laughing stock because of it. After not shaking hands with the winning team when ousted from the playoff, he lately demanded confiscating all videotapes showing a kid dunking on him. He's a great athlete but is also becoming a cartoon of the demand for winning.

Another example of the importance people give to winning was lately in the Tour de France when everyone was extremely upset that Andy Schleck didn't dump his brother in order to maybe get a stage win, and chose to support him to maybe beat Armstrong to the third spot on the Tour. His brother helped him the entire tour but everyone thought he should immediately dump him, because he is the stronger cyclist, and get the win, and Frank be dammed - he's weak. (For the record, he wouldn't have gotten it anyway, they were stupid besides being amazing assholes). Everyone complained about it and he constantly had to defend his decision.
When this is the culture, how can you expect drugs not to be involved.
Hi Clark, John,
Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic (NBA) has tested positive to taking some performance enhancing ingredient. He of course claims that it was over the counter medication which contained that substance. Maybe? Do we believe him, or do we think that by now, after several publicized cases of this happening (including in basketball), this is becoming a ridiculous argument which can't be believed?

Maybe after the loss from last year he felt he needed that extra push to win?
I wonder how serious the NBA tests are. How should sports try to regulate it, or should we simply give up and let it be allowed for pro athletes? For everyone?
People are discussing legalizing drugs, how could we legalize other drugs and not these ones. All they are doing is hurting themselves - as long as we let everyone do it. Of course you will have the have's and have nots. Those with top doctors and those who die from wrong usage.
Clemens has officially been indicted for perjury and the federal government may soon be bringing up a case against everyone's favorite cyclist hero and all-around good guy Lance Armstrong.

But I wonder, should we fault the players more than the system?

Of course in the end if a person uses performance enhancing drugs he or she is cheating undeniably. But when it is so widespread are we really fixing the problem by going after individual players? Isn't it sort of akin to arresting music pirates? Getting rid of one won't ease the otherwise vagrant-filled ocean.

And though I personally I have never been much a fan of Lance Armstrong, much the opposite actually, it's more than just him who stands to lose should he be indicted. Even if he is an asshole and a liar and a cheater, by indicting him cancer victims the world round will be losing one of their most vocal supporters and fund-raisers.

How should congress tiptoe around an issue like this? Should it even be their responsibility? Of course if someone breaks a law they should pay the consequences. But sometimes the consequences ripple in ways the scales of justice cannot predict.
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Latest Post: August 22, 2010 at 11:59 PM
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