Souhan: If PEDs are so bad, why do we watch cheaters?

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 5, 2012 - 12:27 AM

Many sports surge in popularity when dopers and juicers run rampant.

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kennyrogersSep. 4, 1211:29 PM

There's a lot of interest in All Star Wrestling also, and a big part of that interest is watching those juiced up gorillas jumping around and throwing each other down. But most fans would like to see hard work rewarded, not to watch better baseball or football through chemistry. So when given a choice to allow PEDs or ban them from pro sports, the best decision is to ban them to protect the all time records and protect the integrity of the game. At least protect what's left of it.

steavis61067Sep. 5, 1212:21 AM

There's reasons PEDs are banned, and it's not just to "protect the integrity of the game" that's bandied about. PEDs are dangerous. Don't believe me? Ask the family of the late Lyle Alzado. You think doing PEDs under a doctor's care makes a difference? Right, because doctors are infallible to thr draw of money (tongue firmly in cheek)

hauts81Sep. 5, 1212:35 AM

Baseball has its problems but the lack of PEDs isn't one of them. I thought last season was pretty compelling, with the Red Sox and Braves collapsing and the Rays and eventual champion Cardinals winning wild card spots on the last day. The next month should be great too with more teams in the playoff chase.

firefly70Sep. 5, 12 2:39 AM

Playing Devil's Advocate (I already know I'm going to get a lot of "thumbs down"), players/athletes are rewarded for hard work, even the ones using PED's. Using PED's doesn't really do a lot of good if the player/athlete doesn't actually workout also. The batter in baseball STILL needs to take LOTS of batting practice to keep his mechanics and timing. The batter STILL needs to be able to put a good swing and, more importantly, still be able to hit a 90+ mph pitch squarely. The athlete STILL needs to work out like a fiend during the off-season, and also still needs to maintain a workout porgram during the sport's season. How many hours a day, and days a week do the serious players/athletes workout - including resistance and cardio? Obviously A LOT more than the average person! I read somewhere Lance Armstrong would bike close to SEVEN hours a day, SIX days a week as PART of his training - which means he spent even more time/hours in a gym. Point is, while almost everyone would like to believe they are above cheating, and want to claim the moral high ground, here's a question: if you spent that much time and effort training for that many years, but knew it probably wasn't going to be enough to win (keep in mind this IS your LIVELIHOOD; your means of supporting not only yourself, but also your family; and not just some recreational pasttime) because the other guy(s) most likely were/are using PED's (If memory serves correct, weren't most of the runner-up 'winners' of the seven Tour de France that Lance Armstrong won also caught using PED's??), how many could honestly say they wouldn't be strongly tempted? Honestly? Especially if you knew the chances of getting caught were pretty slim. It's easy for us "armchair quarterbacks" to sit and judge on issues like this; the reality is, it's not always as simple as black and white.

keto23Sep. 5, 12 6:02 AM

Sportswriters share the blame to a certain degree. I still would like to see a simple spreadsheet comparing testing in various sports, and not leaving out any big ones. Down one side the sport - cycling, baseball, NHL, NCAA, NFL, High Schools by state, Grandma's Marathon - all of them. Then across the top the testing practice. How often is routine scheduled testing, frequency of random testing, what tests are administered, who does the testing, is there a mandatory trigger (I think I read if someone wins a Tour Stage they automatically get tested), are the athletes accompanied from the moment they are informed they will be tested (and by whom), etc. etc. I think it would be an eye opener. I suspect that it would show that the institutions that feed professional sports, particularly High School and College, don't test very well if at all. If they don't, then you have athletes who are formed in an environment where they can get away with cheating, and why should they stop when they get to the next level? I'd just like to see some solid reporting on the "gateway" institutions.

minneg56Sep. 5, 12 6:25 AM

As a society we expect way too much of athletes. Most aren't role models - they never wanted to be and historically the majority of them have all the integrity of a politician. They travel a lot, make tons of money and have a lot of free time on their hands. A recipe for avarice. As for the sports themselves - its sports entertainment for eveyone who 'ain't playin'. There are health risks in juicing. But you can't control peoples' behavior on things like this. If you you could, there wouldn't be any alcoholics or chemical dependents. They will always find a way. Ultimately, if an office worker or dock worker has a sinus infection and uses a steroidal to overcome the problem so they can work ... does their work not count for that week? Baseball was a lot better in the steroid age and MLB laughed all the way to the bank ... and have now ostracized the geese who laid their golden eggs. In many respects it's MLB's, NFL's etc. integrety which should be called into question -more so than the individual athletes- as the leagues initially systemically promoted this culture to make money. If ya' ain' cheatin' ya' ain't even tryin'!

TabarnooshSep. 5, 12 6:28 AM

Maybe it hinges on your definition of "cheating". If everyone is doing it then maybe that's just standard practice. In any event if the officials who do the testing and the leagues were really serious about testing and catching cheaters they would. It's not good for the bottom line. And until the fans stop throwing money at the sport they will continue.

northhillSep. 5, 12 7:18 AM

Sports fans are very forgiving.The baseball strike in 1994 could have hurt baseball.There was no World Series that year.McGwire and Sosa were a lot of the reason people returned to the ball parks.Everyone knows the homerun record is tainted.Fans,however still fill the ballparks.I love baseball.I stayed up and watched the Dodgers and Padres last night.PED's could destroy baseball.Selig,I really hope there is not another Black Sox story lurking in the weeds.Gambling almost destroyed baseball.

ActTwoSep. 5, 12 8:05 AM

firefly70: You are missing the point...PED's allowed Lance Armstrong to work out 6 days a week for 7 hours per day. He did what was seemingly impossible for the human body because of the drugs.

bluedevil101Sep. 5, 12 8:38 AM

Finally something from this columnist I can agree with. As a sports fan and person I really don't care a bit about an athlete who uses PEDs or any other substance to enhance their performance on the athletic field. These guys all know the risks and if they pay the consequence, that's on them. As for all the whiners who complain about "cheating" and "not role models" it's all nonsense. I'm the role model for my son until he was able to decide for himself. Cheating-I don't care about it in the way these know-it-alls refer to it. Professional athletes are entertainers and that is all. If they need to use PEDs to entertain us better that doesn't matter any more to me than a musician who is high at a performance or an actor who uses speed to get ready to perform a scene in a theatre presentation. I walk away entertained-they can choose to use or not. Welcome to America.


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