Shades of Doping Grey

God I hate dopers. Cheats. Should be banned for life. No excuse for Doping. That was me until last year. Worst part it’s the dumbest position this side of anyone in the Labour Party. Why Why. Several reasons:-

  • Why should sport be the only facet of life where it’s one strike and out?
  • Most athletes will dope but most stick to the WADA line. However it is an arbitrary line. Anyone turning down a cortisone shot cos they’ve an injury? Now I’ve been on cortisone and the idea it’s not performance enhancing! Similarly athletes have high levels of all kinds of everyday ailments that just need treating with drugs. The listing of Meldonian caught a lot of Russians out but as Chris Froome missed in his conversation with Paul Kimmage he admitted he was happy to dope within the rules. Colin Jackson may just have trained and eaten food few others did or do. Seriously what is a vitamin injection? Eat an Orange and have a Marmite Sandwich!
  • Most sportsmen push the rules it’s in their nature. People crack on Hope Solo for changing her gloves well I want her on my team if she promises not to attack me. It may be wonderful that Messi does not cheat on the field but he does not have to.
  • Michael Phelps has 2 DUIs lecture me on doping morality and applaud that. Messi does not dive or think he should contribute the amount demanded to society via taxes. Yet doping is a serious moral offense?
  • We are expected to like Obama, Phillip Hammond and co or at least respect their office as they fawn over the murderous Sauds and Qatarians. Yet a sportsman takes a prohibited substance and we are meant to be sanctimonious and care much? Give me a break.
  • We cannot know so to assume yes or no is to run the risk of being wrong and disappointed. As people point out very few people are caught by tests.

Doping is not a yawning chasm between clean athletes and cheats it’s a spectrum with an arbitrary line. Sure people doing multiple steroids, HGH, Blood Doping and EPO really are just saying fuck it. However they should be subject to doping control and if they can avoid it? Good luck. A relatively clean athlete runs no risk. Essentially we are in the world of risk and reward.

I look at doping as a part of the sport and preparation all we can ask is that doping controls are the same and stiff for everyone to reduce risky behaviour. It’s not a matter of morality. It’s about a level playing field. Dopers run the risk of shame and health issues all I can say is I hope it’s worth it.

I backed a horse called Decorated Knight for the Arlington Million. Every other horse was on the diuretic Lasix but not him. I understood it might be worth half a length or more to them. I made a choice as did Decorated Knight’s trainer. As a backer I would have preferred he was on juice as a sports fan I was delighted he was not. Sadly the horse got loose and was scratched prior.

This is the way I can deal with sports watching and not be cynical or fall into that soft pillow of sanctimony and anger. I can demand Kenya, Spain and Russia be banned from the Olympics and could if so minded support Justin Gatlin against Usain Bolt. I can watch sport that I know maybe tainted and have heroes who may be cheats.

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Shades of Doping Grey

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