August 31, 2005
Sports striking out on drug abuse policies
The corruption of drug abuse in sports seems to have
been papered over with sealed evidence. Looks like those
in the legal system, who dropped 40 of 42 charges about
steroids, have placed their heads in the sand. What are
Chances are pretty good that some small number of individuals
will be paraded in front of the public as "bad
examples" and they will take the heat for years
of violations of many who will never be charged.
Cheating will have been allowed, by the ticket-selling
owners and the players' organizations. Record books
will have not reconciled the hypocrisy and sleaze of
tainted athletes who profited from "chemically-enhanced" performances.
The "juiced" balls, bats and muscles that
created sensational games are simply a reflection of
the public's demands. For the immediate gratification
of those who demand superhuman feats, individuals risked
their lives. Some died.
These life-threatening and culture-numbing drugs are
not unique to sports.
Society has jumped on board.
Many today are hooked on the drug of constant activity
- filling every moment with stimulation created by noise,
color, data, interactions and fantasy.
Is it any wonder that sports fans expect a three-ring
circus to surround sporting events?
Aspiring athletes know that making the cut can mean
the difference between new-found riches and a return
to the poverty of their youth. They want to perform well
and they need to, but not at any cost. Many young athletes
squandered their education to play for the institution
that paid for their time, only to be returned to the
dead-end lives they knew before their four or five years
of collegiate competition.
Leadership is needed now. Congress and various institutions
involved must hold all parties 100 percent responsible.
Owners and players are locked in an economic tug of
war that will destroy fair competition and the health
of a whole generation that chooses to play the drug game.
All sports stakeholders can help to improve sports
- Fans, be clear: Set realistic performance standards
and show respect for honest and clean competition.
- Owners, stop giving frenetic and irresponsible fans
what they demand. Drug-induced performance is a zero-sum
game. Everyone loses.
- Players associations, think longer term: protect
our gifted athletes.
- Higher education: It is time to be clear on the purpose
of sport and the role academic institutions.