Saturday, December 15, 2007

Doping: It's not Just for Cyclists Any More

(((Steroids in major sports; naming names; test for real or drop the pretense)))

So George Mitchell released his report, counting 89 drugged players. That's really all? Wouldn't it be interesting to see the trends? But that would take real testing, wouldn't it, to really know the extent of the situation and the way it's changed over time. It's pretty obvious, too, that we can only expect more of it in the future, since high school and college athletes are doping like never before.

The FT notes:

Several players were angered that Mr Mitchell opted to disclose names in his report even though the evidence was based on limited sources.

Of course, there's one easy way to fix that thing about sources, if the players really care about this: genuine, effective testing. Like the way cycling actually busts people and bans them from the sport. Of course, a lot of people would say that doping has destroyed cycling's potential for growth, and that they would be better off if they were more like MLB and just pretended to test. Or gave up on banning performance enhancement altogether. There's that.

But if people are going to talk the talk about how awful steroids are, then they need to walk the walk. I frankly don't believe the athletes are worried about false positives with WADA/UCI-type testing. I believe they're worried about genuine positives.

On the other hand, it's also clearly an arms race: testing vs. advances both in the performance enhancing techniques and in masking their use. One wonders if fighting it like this is really worth the effort.


ExecutedToday said...

Owners don't seem worried about much of anything for any outcome.

The house always wins.

Jeffrey said...

This is one of the things about the situation in cycling, which is quite different, but parallel in certain respects. First, team *management* in cycling has been let off the hook, when they have to be complicit in most of the cases. But since there are "sponsors" for cycling teams rather than owners who make all the money, you can have sponsors withdraw support for a team and that will spell the end of the team if they can't find another sponsor. This is exactly what happened to the T-Mobile team.

In the case of MLB owners, yeah, they're good either way, since it's pretty clear that people will still come watch baseball, regardless. Meanwhile, much like management and sponsors in cycling, they put pressure on the players (and mgt) to win. Which translates into, "don't get caught."