October 29, 2003
Athletes using steroids setting a poor
am offended that some of our most gifted and privileged
athletes have been using THG, an illegal "designer"
steroid product that avoided detection until now. Athletic
competition is supposed to be about fair play, playing
by the rules, honor, etc. and not about the race to find
the latest molecular wrinkle for a non-detectable performance
enhancing drug? What can be done?
importantly, society has not lost integrity because self-serving
and self-destructive sports figures have chosen to cheat.
Yes, certain individuals have elected to break the rules
and they set an awful example for their honest peers and
more importantly for the younger generation looking toward
them as positive role models. One reporter, who was addressing
this topic of performance enhancing drugs, suggests that
"cheaters will always find another way." Were this about
the paying of taxes, one would accuse the person a tax
evasion. They might be prosecuted, pay a fine and spend
time behind bars -- or all three. Even though cheaters
will continue to pursue their corner-cutting methods,
all is not lost. Integrity-centered oversight organizations
press forward in their relentless pursuit of honesty and
fairness. Over and over, our caution is clear: Unless
free markets (and athletes) regulate themselves, governments
competition has become for many only the prelude for entrepreneurial
enterprise, leveraging physical talent and competition
for financial gain. These peak performers (legal or dishonest)
produce profits for powerful partners. Perhaps the distorted
thinking of those involved in using illegal substances
is similar to other high profile "white collar"
the emotional "rush" that is provided by legitimate victory
is not enough for them unless it is accompanied with the
additional thrill of having "bilked the system" and cheated
all of the honest participants whom they might refer to
as simply "chumps" -- those who play by the rules.
investigation under way on abuses with the world of sports,
new governmental restrictions will emerge that could stifle
competition and the very spirit essential to maintain
a climate of excellence.
are we teaching the future generations when we reduce
life’s noble activities, including sports competition,
to an equation that always rests upon prestige, bragging
rights and ill-gotten financial rewards? Integrity-centered
behavior stands for more -- and so must the generation
that is responsible for leadership. Simply stated: Play
fair and insist on fair play.