So everyone who is cool is allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs. Lance Armstrong admitted it to Oprah, Ray Lewis is reported to have used some to amazingly come back ten weeks after tearing a tricep muscle, and now Alex Rodriguez and other baseball players are reportedly connected to a Miami clinic that dispensed PEDs. Question is - does anyone care at this point?
The sports of competitive cycling was already tarnished before Lance made his admission, and frankly, people by and large don't care about competitive cycling anyway. The good work Lance Armstrong has done in the name of cancer research is tarnished, but really his PED use has little connection to his charity work other than it allowed him to be a really famous guy that parlayed his fame into good work.
Ray Lewis is going to play his last NFL game this Sunday, and there seems to be a pretty cavalier attitude towards NFL players using PEDs in general. They're considered gladiators who are abusing their bodies anyway and will very likely die first from long-term effects of concussions rather than any effects from PEDs. Besides, the health effects of deer antler spray are not shown to be negative and likely have no effect at all, and are more funny than ominous. And besides, its not like any home run records are being broken.
Alex Rodriguez has already been proven to be the worst person ever to play the game of baseball, so to find out reports he has been connected to PEDs for the second time only adds fuel to the fire. At this point, fans of baseball may be reaching a level of numbness to PED reports, and with home run totals down and a testing system in place, the public seems less concerned.
Should we be concerned?
The technology always seems to be one step ahead of enforcement. However, that is not necessarily an excuse for inaction. Criminals in society are always finding new ways to defraud the public, but that does not mean investigators should just give up and make fraud from Nigerian princes legal.
Some argue PEDs have negative health effects and allowing them pressures every athlete into thinking they must risk their long-term health to succeed. Of course, we already ask athletes to risk long-term health when they slam their bodies into the field or each other, or pitch through injuries, or face 90 mph fastballs whizzing past their skulls. And some argue that legalizing PEDs allows them to be better monitored for safer health effects.
However if we allow PEDs, do sports become a game for the wealthy and well-connected? The price for deer antler spray will surely skyrocket after Ray Lewis' endorsement. Allowing PEDs may simply provide a game in which those with the best science and best resources succeed, not those with the most natural talent. Its hard to imagine anyone following a sport where team resources depend more than individual ability.
Its a complicated issue that luckily, as Royals fans, we don't have to directly take on head on. Anyone that has seen our team play over the last two decades would know that no performance has been enhanced at all.
Four Performance-Enhanced Questions:
1. You are made Commissioner of Baseball with complete authority over the union. What, if anything, do you do about PED use?
2. The Museum of Modern Art has collected 14 video games and dubbed them "art." What are the top five video games of all time?
3. I just watched "Silver Linings Playbook" which incorporates the city of Philadelphia prominently. What is your favorite movie that uses the city it is set in as almost a character in the plot?
4. Who do you like in the Super Bowl? I believe the participants are the Philadelphia Centaurs against the Green Bay Mermen.