Matt HealeyThursday,31 January 2013

The Snap:

There is a new report out that, wait for it, Alex Rodiguez used steroids as late as 2009! Anyone who is surprised by this is either a recent immigrant from another planet or Manti Te’o. The situation has become so bad that there is no one in professional sports that is above suspicion of using drugs. At this point the only question is which sport has the worst drug problem.

The Download:

Clearly there is a steroid problem in baseball. There have been way too many people accused: A-Rod, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, etc. The issues got so bad that Congress had a hearing regarding steroid use in baseball. This year there were a few of the roid players on the Hall of Fame ballot and none were elected. Personally, I agree that no one should be elected. There are rules and these players broke them. The idea “everyone” was doing it does not excuse the behavior.

Cycling also clearly has problems, despite the sport’s testing programs. Lance Armstrong recently admitted to doping on Oprah, who can apparently get anyone to admit to anything they have done. His entire team was doping. The entire peloton was apparently drugged. Football has problems, despite the NFL’s testing program. At Super Bowl media day earlier this week, Ray Lewis was asked about using a banned substance to recover from his injury, and no one was surprised. The Olympics are ripe with doping. Not a single Games goes by without someone getting caught. Even NASCAR has had instances of cheating — not with steroids, but with not following the specs for the cars.

So which professional sport is clean? I think that none of them are clean, and if we dig into any sport, there will be participants who cheat in order to win. The rewards, in terms of money, fame, endorsements, etc., are too great. This is coupled with a lack of enthusiasm in terms of enforcing the rules by the owners and leagues. Their goals are revenue maximization, and as Major League Baseball has discovered, more tickets are sold with drug-fueled monsters hitting 5000 foot home runs. The Tour de France TV ratings, and thus the event’s revenue, went up when Lance made his steroid-driven return in 2009. So should we still even cover this in the media? The owners and the leagues don’t seem to care, as long as they are making money. The players don’t seem to care what long term damage they are doing to themselves. Fans seem to not really care, either. After all, we keep buying tickets despite the cheating.

Hat Tips:

Miami Clinic, Baseball Steroid Era, 2013 Baseball hall of fame, Jon Stewart, Tour TV ratings, Image Credit: Flickr

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