Thursday, August 03, 2006

Floyd Landis, doping, cycling, etc...

Maybe you already heard this, but if you didn't follow the link and listen/ read before you go any further with this post here...

... I'll wait...

Ok, good, now you've heard/ read it. What'd you think? Yeah, me too.

I have been trying to stay out of this particular conversation for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason being that I find it very hard to be objective on this particular case with regards to Floyd. I have met the man and have ridden with him. I think he's a super cool guy. Can cool guys make bad choices? You bet they can. Do I think he's guilty or innocent? I can't say until I know unequivocally one way or the other because I can't make that decision without a preponderence of evidence and I know that many people will disagree with me either way if I state an opinion right now.

Here's my thoughts though on the NPR broadcast; the closing comments by Diana Nyad are very telling to me- her feeling is that sport is corrupt with doping, so badly that it can not be turned around and therefore we should simply open all sports to whatever doping products the athletes/ teams/ doctors want to use. Her thoughts were that, like the argument for legalizing marijuana- where it could be regulated and taxed by governments- legalizing performance enhancing drugs would allow for regulation and safe administering of drugs. WHAT? Having hand guns be legal and controlled by the government doesn't keep people from shooting and killing each other. I know, not the same thing. Still, it shows the state of perception of sport in the world. It's pretty damning if you ask me. My jaw nearly hit the steering wheel as I heard the commentary on my drive home tonight. What about kids? Do we tell the kids getting into sports that doping is ok? "Go for it! Yeah, sure, some of these drugs can kill you if you do them wrong, but as long as the team doc' is working with you, you'll be fine... and you'll win!" What the hell?

I'm not dumb enough to believe that doping isn't going on and that cycling isn't one of the worst sports for doping offenses, but I still believe in the beauty and humanity of the sport. If I didn't, I'd get out of it- personally and professionally.

Here's where I climb onto a soap box for a moment, so I hope that you will just bear with me for a few moments; cycling, though it may have some of the more public problems, is one of the best sports in the world for actually doing something about the problems it faces, in terms of punishment and enforcement. Look at other professional sports around the world. Cycling tosses you out of the sport on the first offense for two years. Next is a lifetime ban. You can have a syringe in your arm walking onto the baseball diamond and the governing body will simply ask you to put the dirty needle in a safe place when you are done. Look at football (Euro style and American), basketball, track and field, skiing... you name it. ALL SPORTS HAVE A DRUG PROBLEM. Professional sports are not the only ones either. Amateur sports and even school sports are rife with drug problems. It's astounding to me when anybody is shocked to hear about somebody getting caught doping. Please!

As long as there is fame, fortune or something else to gain from winning, people are going to find a way to cheat. Believing otherwise is straight up stupidity. Does that mean we simply turn a blind eye to it or allow "whatever" in sport? Hell no! I think the argument for allowing doping or other cheating in sport because it is too difficult to police is one of the most insane arguments around. Do we allow murder just because the police are too overworked to follow up on every case? Hell no! I know that comparing the crime of cheating in sport to the crime of killing another person is a bit of a reach, but let's be honest here- wrong is wrong.

I believe doping is wrong. I believe cheating in sport in any form is wrong. Do I believe it is hapening? Yes I do. Do I think it always will? Yes I do. Do I think we should be chasing cheats out of sport? Yes I do.

For the record, Masi (as well as Haro) has a zero tolerance policy on doping; one positive test and the entire team loses sponsorship- not just the rider involved... and it doesn't matter how much I like you.

As always, if you think I am wrong- leave a comment.



Phil said...

Couldn't agree more Tim, I thought I was cynical but Nyad makes me look like an idealist (which of course I really am). It also makes you wonder about her sporting career.

Appropos to the content in this post here is Dick Pound a couple of weeks ago.

Q: What is your response to the many fans out there who claim not to care whether there are drugs in sports?

A: I would ask them whether they would feel the same way about sport if their children were forced to become chemical stockpiles in order to be good at it.

Nuff said.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Exactly Phil. I have two children and I admit that I would ove to see both them get into cycling (my son used to race at the track with me until he fell in love with basketball instead). However, I'd feel hesitant to let them get too involved with ANY sport if drug use was allowed and/ or encouraged. What an outrage...

For the record, I'm a big time idealist too... so there's another reason why we get along so well.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

... by the way, I meant to say "LOVE to see..."

Damned sausage fingers!

Jeremy Grimm said...

I hope Floyd is clean! We all know how Armstrong won his 7 Tours. Yes it was hard work but he did have an advantage taking EPO before his run. Lance said himself if I wouldn't have had Cancer I may not have won the Tour.

I wish for Lance's sake and others that they wouldn't have or have to go through Cancer.

It is one of those trials, in my prespective, that we go through in life. It may make you a stronger person after the fact but hopefully during.

I have been blessed that I haven't had to suffer with cancer and I hope I never have to. But I have suffered with Lyme Disease and I feel that has made me push harder than any other Human out there when racing.

God has giving us all gifts and I thank Him each day that I am alive. I just wish we didn't have to suffer. I will always try to be a stronger person to God and in sight of everyone, in the time I have left.

PolishPostal said...

Right on Tim!!

The seal on Floyd's B sample was cracked yesterday. Should hear some results tomorrow. (fingers crossed)

I was very optimistic on Floyd after the first reports. I read many natural causes of an elevated T/E ratio. But with the new leaks about them detecting synthetic, that is paints a very bad picture.

my 2¢

blue squirrel said...

the real question is why were you listening to NPR in the first place [we all know that they hate winners ;-) ]


Fritz said...

Right on right on right on RIGHT ON, Brother Tim. Preach it! Amen! Mega Dittos. Complete Agreement!

Several people I work with have made similar comments that they should just open sports up to doping. I agree with you Tim that we should make the effort to clean things up, and not just with lip service.