There is much to be said about the steroid scandals lately. I have yet to blog about it because at times that would mean talking about people I happen to know very well and I believe that makes me conflicted in certain ways. But I will say right off the bat that I don’t think it’s right, I don’t condone it, and I don’t excuse it. That I can say with certainty. I know that the cloud it has put over my sport has tarnished it severely and that not only saddens me but it also pisses me off.
But right now I’m not going to talk about track specifically or any of our fallen heroes, but a topic that was raised last night when I was watching Roger Clemens on 60 minutes. Supposedly he went on there to defend himself. I believe he failed miserably in that realm but maybe that’s the cynic in me when it comes to this topic. Whatever the case, he raised the point of athletes in this era being guilty until proven innocent when it comes to steroids and such and how that pisses him off that people are so quick to believe his guilt when he’s given so much to the sport, yadda, yadda, yadda. And how are you ever to prove your innocence when all you can do is proclaim it and nobody is willing to listen?
Is that unfair?
Is it not right that we now have come to the point where so many of our role models and sports heroes have been rightfully accused of using performance enhancing drugs, that we can easily roll our eyes when someone wants to come out and proclaim innocence? Because I certainly rolled my eyes at Roger Clemens. I have no problem with the notion of taking his trainer’s word against his when it comes to this subject and I don’t really care if his reputation is tarnished forever and all the public has to go on is one person’s word against another’s. I don’t need a confession, I don’t need evidence, and I don’t need a judge or a jury to agree with me.
A few years ago this might have seemed unjust. If a person could look you in the eye and swear on everything under the bible that they would never, EVER knowingly take steroids and that everything they stood for and believed in was against it, your inclination would be to believe them. For most people, it’s hard to fathom being able to denounce something so passionately and fervently when in actuality it was a bold faced lie. Who could do that? And so convincingly at that? But time and time again we are shown that they can and they will. Lying has become easy. Commonplace.
I get why people take performance enhancing drugs. I do. I think it would be hard to compete in this sport and not understand the enticement of it. I just think it’s wrong. But what I think is more wrong is the complete sabotage of your character once you’ve been caught. I cannot respect (insert whatever athlete name you wish) for proclaiming to be the pure, unadulterated, clean, wholesome, innocent, virtuous, person and act as if you are being so wronged by accusations that are true!
So in my mind they are pretty much all guilty. That might not be the American ideal but it is the sad reality. I just can’t fathom giving any more of these athletes the benefit of the doubt because I have learned that where there is smoke, there is always fire. So save yourself the hassle of the tears, 60-minute interviews, and high-priced attorneys, and just own up to it.
The debate…is it fair that we are now quick to see these athletes as guilty without any real proof besides the word of someone else or should they be given the benefit of the doubt when they claim to be innocent? Please vote and leave your comments if you happen to feel one way or the other—or even if you’re not sure!