Friday, October 5, 2007

Everybody's doing it...

Marion Jones is famous for whipping everyone on the track and having one of the cutest smiles of all time. She's also famous for denying any steroid use, despite her connection to BALCO; denials that even went so far as to include a red-letter page in her book denying ever using something illegal.

And now she's famous for being an admitted cheater.

Of course, she's also claiming that at first she didn't know what she was actually rubbing on herself, stating she thought it was flaxseed oil - which apparently has magical powers beyond any comprehension. If flaxseed oil had half of the impact on a body that athletes seem to believe, they'd all be bathing in it.

Whenever someone tests positive, this immediately brings up the argument of, "Well, everybody in <insert sport here> is doing it." That argument didn't work with my mother when I was 6, and it doesn't work today.

My first simple question is this - what are we basing that statement on? What proof is being offered that "everybody" (or even a majority or significant number) is doing it? Nothing more than conjecture.

Floyd Landis, Ben Johnson, and Marion Jones are all proven illegal performance enhancing drug users. They all dominated their respective sport's premier events in ways previously unimaginable. This implies to me that either their drug of choice gave them a large edge over the field, or their competitors need to get better "doctors". Seems to me the reason they were so successful is they were playing with a different set of rules than their competitors.

The other argument to try and excuse this cheating is they still need to be world class athletes in the first place, or typically shortened as "Steroids don't make you hit home runs."

I'm pretty sure I ended my short Little League career with a perfect .000 average. I am under no disillusion that injecting my derriere with any cocktail of steroids is going to magically give me the skills to make it to the majors. I'm not saying that a certain slugger who is surrounded by rumors isn't an amazingly talented player. But to argue that taking steroids doesn't enhance your skill, or make that ball that would have had warning track power wouldn't now clear the wall, is ludicrous. Steroids help. Why else would athletes risk potential health problems if not for the edge they gain?

None of these excuses makes cheating in any way acceptable. It's time to abandon that faulty logic.

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