Tag Archives: PEDs

The moral dilemma of PEDs

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Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

In a recent column by Bill Simmons he reprinted a letter from a reader in regards to Performance Enhancing Drugs. Here’s the text of the letter:

In The Wire when Marlo is about to begin his war with Avon to become the top dealer, he is warned “Anyone that wore that crown either ends up in jail or dead.” Marlo’s response is one of my favorite lines from the series, “At least they got to wear it.”

There’s a lot of hand-wringing and disgust from people regarding athletes use of PED’s, but the question you have to ask yourself before condemning it is this: Would you do it?

Before you answer, try and put yourself in the position of a professional athlete, difficult to do since most of us will never achieve that level of fitness, athletic ability, fame, fortune, etc. But for the purpose of this exercise, just try and imagine. Millions of dollars in contracts and endorsements are at stake – you can basically set up your family for generations with the right deal. The adulation of adoring fans and the perks of being a pro athlete – sex, drugs and the ability to purchase anything you want or travel anywhere you want because of fame and fortune.

What would you do to keep yourself in that lifestyle? Would you take a drug that doesn’t turn you into an addict, but rather heightens your natural ability enabling you to make more money and reach a higher level of your chosen sport? Athletic competition is based on winning – some say its participation that counts, but in the end everyone wants to be on the winning side. If an injection can bring you closer to the ultimate goal of winning a championship, wouldn’t you consider it?

When discussing PED’s there’s a sense that athletes, once they’ve started using, are no longer part of the equation. People only see the PED’s and discount the athlete’s ability. Does taking steroids help you hit homeruns? Absolutely, but being able to hit Mariano Rivera’s cutter doesn’t simply come from an injection. The drugs enhance, not completely take over the athlete’s body and control them. The athlete is still in control and their natural ability is still a major part of any performance.

All this to say, it’s easy to criticize athletes for taking PEDs. It’s cheating; it’s illegal and sets a bad standard for those who will follow in their footsteps. All of that is true. What’s difficult is to look at the situation and say you wouldn’t be tempted if you were in the position.

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Guillermo Mota, welcome to the Hall of Shame

Giants pitcher Guillermo Mota was handed a 100-game suspension for a second violation of the MLB’s drug policy. Well done Mota.

LIVINGSTONE: Congratulations, Guillermo Mota, on your recent entry into the history books – of embarrassment.

Not just personal embarrassment, but embarrassment to a professional sport trying to move on from a dark period where the asterisk could be applied to many records and individual player statistical lines for about two decades (see: Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Lenny Dykstra, etc.)

So you’re the third player in baseball history to test positive for a banned substance twice. The other two? Oakland A’s outfielder Manny ‘I’m going to quit baseball abruptly instead of facing another embarrassing moment in my career’ Ramirez and former Detroit Tiger Neifi Perez. Yeah, I don’t really know the latter either, he apparently made some big double play on a Justin Verlander no-hitter in 2007, a month before being nailed for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

So, Mota, you’re now, again, among the most dishonorable in baseball. In fact, you’re among an elite group of players who thought they wouldn’t get caught a second time. You’re 38 years old, so the excuse of ‘I didn’t know what was being injected into me’ or ‘I thought it was just vitamins’ doesn’t really fly. You’ve been around long enough to know when something is wrong and, I’d hope, ask questions when someone is about to inject you with something. However, it’s quite possible you just turned a blind eye and said ‘whatever, I’ve got to keep playing’.

Either way, you are among the embarrassing few in baseball who continue to remove a little bit of what purity in the sport is left. Thankfully, you’re not a big name player, like Rodriguez or Clemens or Manny, who have helped lead teams to the promise land. Well, you did win the World Series in 2010 when you were with the Giants, but you struggled and didn’t really help out in winning that series. Thankfully, you fall into the category of semi-no names like Jay Gibbons and former Colorado Rockies pitcher Dan Serifini who were handed 50-game suspensions after failing drug tests.

It’s sad really. In 2012, after all that has gone on with steroids and performance-enhancing drugs – and watching Roger Clemens drag his whole image through the mud being the stubborn man he is – you’d think players would want to avoid this kind of embarrassment – not only for themselves but for their teams, the players and all of professional baseball. The bad example players like Mota set, the win at all costs way of life, will fall on impressionable young players to seek out the same products to make them better ball players.

Whatever the case may be, Mota is another one of those guys we just can’t wait to retire, disappear into the sunset, never to be heard from again.

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