Friday, December 14
Don’t know if you heard, but there’s a big story brewing about steroids and major league baseball. I think the major news sites might have some coverage of it, so check it out.
And, I’m sure, every other blog in the NBA universe is asking, “What about this league? Why don’t we hear about NBA players being accused of steroid abuse?” It’s a legitimate question, but, honestly, if you want to read about that topic, look elsewhere.
Why? Because I don’t care about steroids. Or cocaine. Or marijuana. Or any drug any man decides to put into his body. It’s none of my business, and as long as he’s not driving a bus or flying a plane, it doesn’t affect my life.
But let’s focus on the steroid aspect for a moment. My question to all the media hyperventilating in their rush for the moral high ground: Why does it matter that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (allegedly) use steroids? Why have we decided that this is important? You have to go to the root of the situation, to my way of thinking, which is, why were steroids banned in the first place?
The story goes back to German weightlifters (shocking!) in the 1950s, who suddenly burst onto the Olympic scene and began taking medals away from Russians and Americans. (To be honest, the story goes back to the late 1800s, when some scientists discovered that injecting themselves with dog testosterone helped their muscles. But I’m looking at athletics here, so we’ll leave that for another day). By 1972, the IOC was testing for steroids, and while those tests were always behind the curve in catching the users, by the late 1980s more sophisticated tests were in place, enabling the IOC to nail people like Ben Johnson, as well as seemingly everyone who ever competed in the Olympics under either a West or East German flag (okay, not everyone; there was a swimmer who didn’t get punished, but that’s because his name used to be Janet).
So, obviously, steroids were banned because they gave some people an unfair advantage over others. That’s the long and short of it. They created an unlevel playing field, and that bugged those who weren’t taking the drugs.
But let me ask you, is there now or has there ever been a level playing field in this world? Is it fair that Canada dominates at the Winter Olympics and the African nations struggle, simply because of climate? Is it fair that Kenyan runners train in high altitudes because of their geographic location, enabling them to dominate long distant events? Is it fair that American athletes get billions of dollars on training equipment, professional coaches, and luxurious facilities, while 90% of the other athletes in the Olympics are lucky to get a sandwich and some guy whose uncle read a book about Jesse Owens to train them?
Of course it isn’t, and that’s why this whole steroids thing ticks me off. Take Mo Sene as an example. The per capita income in Senegal is $1,400. $1,400! Are you telling me that Sene had even 1/100th the training as a child that Ray Allen or Wally Szczerbiak or Luke Ridnour? Is it fair that he never got anything remotely resembling professional training until he was old enough to vote, while the rest of the league has been practicing in leagues and schools since they were old enough to walk?
And yet, if Sene was discovered to have taken steroids next week, he would be the one accused of using an unlevel playing field to boost his play. It’s just ridiculous and I’m tired of hearing about it.
After all, imagine what would happen if the Olympic committees and professional leagues decided tomorrow that, fine, we can’t police this stuff, and we’re tired of this whole debacle. Go ahead, stick needles in your asses and drink testosterone cocktails. It’s all legal, and we’re not going to stop you. What would happen?
Honestly, I have no idea, except that this charade of people pretending to care about the “integrity of the sport” – one of the great idiocies of the 21st century – would finally, thankfully, fall to the wayside.
Posted by PN at 9:46 AM