The debate about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) has been back in the news because Alex Rodriguez is fighting the 211 game suspension that Major League Baseball imposed on him without having a positive test. Many in the media condemned using performance enhancing drugs, while at the same time justifying them by saying how widespread the use is. In my opinion, when athletes get caught using PEDs, people are more upset that they were stupid enough to get caught instead of the fact that they were using.
With the science behind legal supplements, what is the difference? One is on a made of something from a made up legal drug list, and one isn’t, but they serve the same purpose. If you notice the players getting caught aren’t really big money players (A-Rod never got caught using), so they don’t have the doctors on deck to guide them on how to legally get the same effects from supplements that PEDs deliver. But should it even matter?
There is an old adage ‘If you ain’t cheating then you ain’t trying.’ So do we really care? Or would we rather have heroes to believe in; who we believe can do super human things? Lance Armstrong also never failed a drug test. He later had to admit to using because of the lengths he went through to hide his use, including destroying the lives of people who tried to tell on him. But Armstrong had brain and testicular cancer, so it was rather naïve of all of us to think he went through chemo, recovered, and was in the best shape of his life. He was in such good shape that he was able to sit on his bike (after recovering from testicular cancer) and dominate a month bike ride through the mountains year after year.
The story sounds ridiculous when you look at it logically. I have no problem with whatever he did because I feel like he did it to just get in the game so to speak. He had to take something just to sit on a bike seat that long, and what is even a PED? Who makes the list to determine what is and isn’t legal? Using an analogy, it’s just like marijuana, it’s considered illegal because the lawmakers get kickbacks from alcohol,prescription drug, and oil companies to keep it illegal even though the value to society as a whole is indisputable.
In sports even though a drugs may enhance the physical, it could impair the mental, so it wouldn’t be a net gain because split seconds matter at the highest level. It’s like when Oscar Pistoris’ artificial legs were considered an advantage, but common sense dictates that if it’s not robotic legs then no legs can NEVER be an advantage in a running race. The determinations of advantage are relative to a point because in a situation that is somewhat fair, it is what is inside you that makes the difference between winning and losing, even if one side has a perceived advantage.
It’s like the movie ‘A Few Good Men‘, we want them on that wall, and we need them on that wall. It gives us something to believe in, and gives hope to the possibility that if we work hard maybe one day we can be like them. But in our hearts we know the truth. We know that something is going on, but we don’t want to know the real truth. No one really wants the real truth to come out, which is why you very rarely see PED suspensions in other sports. I laugh when I hear that someone is a fast healer because that’s a code word for PEDs in some capacity to me. How are people coming back from what were yearlong injuries in 6 months or less now? Many times players take PEDs to recover from injuries, so I see it as good for the game.
For example, everyone is going to Germany for these knee surgeries. Supposedly they just spin the blood and inject it into the knee, or something. But if it’s that simple, why can’t it be done in the United States? There is SOME reason(s) why it isn’t done in the United States. But does it even matter what the surgery really is? I don’t question Kobe Bryant’s trips to Germany, I just want him back ASAP from that Achilles injury. To those whom much is given much is expected, so I appreciate those athletes going to whatever extent to get on the court and put on a good show. Sports are entertainment, so I compare PEDs to Hollywood entertainers having surgeries. They’re both not good for them, but it is something they have to do to keep working at a high-level. It is a price of that life, whether WE like it or not.