This is the absolute worst topic for most sports fans to discuss and probably the most significant: drugs in sports.
Really, in just about every case, the public will never know.
There is only suspicion aside from the few cases where a failed drug test is reported (RARE) or an athlete admits to cheating by using PEDs.
There seems to be evidence that Lance Armstrong had failed some tests and paid to hush, in the past. But ultimately, he had to come clean because of mounting evidence via testimony from others.
Baseball has been practically soiled from PEDs. We continue to enjoy the game, but players are still using as is evidenced by a few failed tests here and there; a recent one makes this claim especially clear and it’s good to see MLB handing out stiffer and stiffer penalties; this guy got an 80 game suspension. Certainly, there are drugs in MLB.
The NFL has had and continues to see player use; denying that is ridiculous given the nature of those athletes and that sport. How much is used? Tough to say.
The NBA and NHL both have cases of drug use, as well. Professional soccer? Of course.
What many serious sports fans acknowledge, here in the States at least, is that suspicion surrounds Tiger Woods, who’s associations with doctors connected to certain MLB users is pretty well documented. But there’s only suspicion. Same goes for Kobe Bryant, who’s trips to Germany for certain treatments have raised a few eyebrows. But, again, just suspicion.
One development in any athlete’s performance that has encouraged suspicion is the incidence of injury. There is pretty decent documentation of how frequent and “early” injury is a corollary of PED use.
The case of Tiger Woods is very interesting in this regard. His collapse is mind-boggling. His bouts of infidelity have clouded the real issue with him: complete physical breakdown at a very young age in a non-contact sport.
But again it’s all suspicion.
Kobe’s physical decline, look it up, has fueled suspicion, as well.
In the end, people look bad having this suspicion. Suspicion is linked to fans who do not like a particular athlete who has success. These “haters” can try to undermine an athlete’s performance and legacy by raising suspicion of PED use.
But either way, “haters” and genuinely suspicious fans alike, will likely, in almost every case, never know.
And the reason we will never really know is that the corruption, we have to acknowledge, in most big money sports is capable of controlling some of this news.
Drug testing protocols and systems are not perfect.
The science of creating drugs and testing for them is an elaborate game of shadows.
We will never know, those of us watching and trying to make sense of these athletes and their games.
Most of the corruption of sport involves the money at stake. There is so much money at stake. Do not not understand this very obvious relationship between money and truth.
We have no idea what is really happening. Yet people will get hammered for raising suspicion.
Just ask the French Minister on the other side of the proverbial net from Nadal.
Him suing her, I think we all know, has no necessary bearing on the truth. He’s fighting for his reputation. Not suing her would have hurt him. He had to sue Bachelot. Period.
But also keep in mind that his request to make public all of his records is another ruse.
Because we will never know. Most of this perception – from these court proceedings, to drug test results, to test histories, passports, and so on, in light of the money at stake and the institutionalized corruption that most of us understand lives and breathes in our lovely naive midsts – is just that: our perception, which has considerable limitations.
We do our best to make sense of it all.
And most likely fail in the process.
Do I want to talk about drugs? Fuck no.
I am suspicious of Nadal’s legacy: a clay courter who got into the “room” with the other greats of this sport. I argue he doesn’t belong. Drugs? I don’t know. I don’t like his tennis, at all. This season’s clay proceedings have been another reminder. He’s a basket case on every other surface.
All of this finger-pointing now with Nadal, from all parties (Nadal, those suspicious of him, his defenders, et al.) really brings up the discussion of PED. And this post is a reminder that PED use in professional sports is . . . EVERYWHERE. We should not be shocked by any of this news, the finger-pointing, the eventual “innocence” etc.
We will never know.
So, sorry to spoil my blog with this very unappetizing garnish that accompanies unfortunately our collective buffet of pro sports. I don’t like the taste either.
I really just can’t wrap my brain around Nadal’s claim to fame.
That’s my guilt.