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.