Posts Tagged ‘Performance Enhancing Drugs’

One Fallen Athlete has it right.

Monday, April 26th, 2010

One of those small one paragraph blurbs appeared recently in the New York Times Sports Section (Yes, Virginia, there is a NYT sports section.) The piece mentioned that Olympic and world champion sprinter, LaShawn Merritt has accepted a provisional suspension after testing positive for using an over-the-counter male enhancement product. Merritt admitted the use of the product and stated that he hoped his family would forgive him for a, “foolish, immature and egotistical mistake.”

Let’s praise an athlete who admits to a mistake, identifies the source of his weakness and simply asks for forgiveness. No spin doctors creating ridiculous commercials with deceased parents, so scripted, insincere apologies, just acknowledging a deficit, taking a consequence and being better.

Isn’t that what we train athletes to do within their sport?

Dr. John Mayer, President

With Larry Johnson Baggage Comes Free!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

It seems nowadays you are hard pressed to find an airline flight where “baggage comes Free”. Increasingly you have to pay to bring baggage with on your journeys. However, at the other end of the spectrum, the NFL, apparently baggage comes free. Unlike, in the airline industry this is not a perk! An increasing number of players have baggage. What do I mean by baggage? Arrests, assault, late night carousing, drug use (both recreational and performance), unbecoming language, greed, immaturity, I could keep going but I think you get the point. Modern sports teams not only have to evaluate the talent of a player but they also have to inspect the baggage a player carries with him/her. If a team finds a player with little baggage they are really flying high (I will stop with the airline analogies).

This blog has dedicated several posts to former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, whom could be the poster boy for troubled NFL players. Note the use of “former” above, the Chiefs have decided to part ways with Johnson. I would like to think my blog had something to do with this, but I am not that naive…yet! I applaud the Chiefs decision. It sends a clear message to players that unbecoming behavior will not be tolerated. Now the question becomes which team, if any, will pick up Johnson’s contract? Hopefully, the message that the Chiefs sent will not die quickly with another team indulging Johnson by allowing him to play this season. Let Johnson sit at home for the rest of the season and evaluate his behavior. Perhaps this time away will allow him to appreciate the opportunities he once had and inspire him to improve is off field behavior.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

My Supplement Contains What?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

I am tired of reading news stories where athletes are appealing their drug suspensions because they claim that they did not know they were taking a banned substance. Typically the substance they get caught taking has properties that mask steroid use. It is just a mere coincidence that the very supplement that they are taking masks a performance enhancing drug. Right, and did I mention Bill Gates is my uncle! It seems that employees at MacDonald’s, making minimum wage, have to know more about the rules then athletes getting paid millions of dollars. Last I checked ignorance is not a defense. You would think by now professional athletes would carefully scrutinize everything they ingest. Many of these athletes have the means to hire a nutritionist who can insure that they are consuming the proper substances. I think athletes who get caught for taking these masking supplements and then claiming they had no idea it was a banned substance should get punished twice; first for taking a banned substance and second for stupidity.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

The 2003 MLB Steroid List

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The now infamous 2003 steroid list is doing more harm then good by being kept under “lock and key”. It is embarrassing how names keep leaking from this list one by one. The list is simply providing tabloid fodder and is doing nothing to advance the cause of eradicating performance enhancing drugs from baseball. The list should either be released or destroyed. It is time to move on and start building a stronger foundation that will prevent steroid use and educate athletes not to use substances that are both detrimental to their health and promote dangerous behaviors to young people.

To Be or Not to Be in the Hall of Fame

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Two weeks ago the Chicago chapter of the baseball writers of America (the individuals responsible for voting players into the hall of fame) met to decide if new guidelines were required to vote players into the Hall of Fame. This meeting was a reaction to the increasing number of players who have been linked to using performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). The writers decided that no changes were needed as the current standards already touch upon integrity and those who use banned substances have questionable integrity and thus could be potentially denied entrance into the Hall of Fame. Opinions vary widely on wether players who used PED’s should be allowed into the hall of fame. Many individuals who are for allowing players into the Hall who have used PED’s  have brought up the argument that throughout baseballs history players have used elicit substances that have helped them play the game. Those who are against allowing players in to the Hall believe that PED’s are illegal and against MLB rules and therefore any player caught using these substance should not be allowed into the Hall. Both camps make valid points and making a decision on the correct path is difficult.

One of the prevailing thoughts of those who favor allowing players who have used PED’s into the Hall of Fame is that MLB should embrace such substances as a reality of the game and by allowing their use the playing field will be leveled. Furthermore, throughout the history of the game players have used elicit substances and if players are not allowed in now who have used banned substances what will this say about those who are already in the Hall. The bottom line for many in this camp is that it will be impossible to determine who is clean and who is not and in the process of making this determination the whole system will become clouded and the Hall will become one big mess.

Those against allowing players who have used PED’s into the Hall fame bring up the fact that these substances are banned by baseball and players who use them are in violation of MLB rules. Certainly Pete Rose has Hall of Fame credentials but he is not allowed into the Hall of Fame because he violated the rules. Why should Pete Rose be held accountable for his actions and not those who used a banned substance? Moreover, what kind of example is MLB setting to young children who idolize baseball players by not punishing players who are using PED’s. One cannot deny that baseball players are role models and are under constant scrutiny. If PED’s were openly accepted what kind of tone would this set for our young athletes?

The players are not the only ones culpable in this controversy. Major League Baseball has turned a blind eye for too long and now must accept the responsibility of a century of neglect. The past cannot be changed and those who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame should remain. Looking into the past would only create more confusion and lead to more questions then answers. MLB should announce a stricter drug policy, with more random testing, and make it clear that those who are caught will face harsh penalties and be denied the privilege of being considered for the Hall of Fame. In a sense it would be a new era for the Baseball Hall of Fame and those that are currently in would be grandfathered in and those that earn the right to get in would be upholding the integrity that the Hall is built on.