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Thread: The War On Doping Is A Failure, Just Like The War On Drugs

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    Amateur Threat Portillo.'s Avatar
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    Default The War On Doping Is A Failure, Just Like The War On Drugs

    The War On Doping Is A Failure, Just Like The War On Drugs
    Jonathan Mahler

    In case you haven't heard, Lance Armstrong has confessed to doping during his cycling career. All of the faux moral posturing can now officially stop. I'm not talking about Lance. I'm talking about the steady stream of former teammates, employees and even journalists who as recently as this week were still apparently awakening to the reality that a Stage 4-cancer survivor competing in the most grueling, steroid-soaked sport in the world was powered by more than just his God-given strength and will. I'm talking about those who expressed offense at the (equally obvious) revelation that Armstrong's doping program was highly organized, as if it would have somehow been better if he had shot himself up with dirty needles in a dark alley of some medieval European town.

    Now that our long era of shattered innocence is finally over, it's time to move past the sanctimony and outrage and proceed with a more sensible conversation about drugs and sports. We might begin a century ago, when, having just completed a long Alps climb, the French rider Octave Lapize called the organizers of the Tour de France "damned murderers!"—the implication being that such a grueling competition would basically kill you. Against this backdrop, it's easy to see how cycling became a laboratory for drugs that boosted riders' ability to perform and (no less important) masked at least some of the pain associated with spending three weeks furiously pedaling a bike up a lot of big mountains. As the historian John Hoberman has documented, medically supervised drug use has been part of professional cycling since the middle of the 20th century. Amateur riders were expected to be clean; but pros, who rode for a living, could take whatever they could get their hands on. Moral judgments weren't made. The only relevant questions were whether the drugs themselves were safe—or if they could dangerously desensitize the body to overexhaustion. Also, whether they were equally available to all riders.

    Nothing fundamental has changed since then, and cycling's governing body, the UCI, is almost wholly to blame. Like so many unaccountable international sports organizations — the International Olympic Committee and FIFA come immediately to mind—the UCI is little more than a catch basin for hustlers and opportunists who know exactly what's going on inside their offshore enterprise zones and see no reason to stop it. As Hein Verbruggen, the UCI's longtime leader and current "honorary president" (presumably for life, unless Armstrong takes him down with him), is reported to have said: If the public were satisfied with the Tour de France riders going 25 kilometers an hour (15 miles per hour), there wouldn't be a doping problem. But it wants 42 kilometers an hour, and there's only one way to get there—by doping.

    This same Verbruggen has never missed the chance to label individual riders who confess to doping as unworthy of respect. He also routinely puts his organization's autonomy and profitability above the integrity of the sport it governs. Of course, maybe we ought to rethink the very notion of integrity when it comes to drugs and sports. Performance enhancers of one form or another have been around forever, but not until the rise of anabolic steroids was there a doping crisis in sports. There are many drugs doctors are legally permitted to administer to Tour de France riders. Why are some approved and others not? Why does cortisone—which alleviates pain and enhances performance—represent an acceptable level of pharmaceutical aid, but not, say, stanozolol? Then there's this absurd provision: Under the UCI's rules, cyclists are allowed to take hormone supplements if their health is in danger. In other words, PEDs are fine if a doctor says they're necessary.

    Doping isn't a moral problem. It is a social, political and economic problem "misrepresented," in Hoberman's words, "as a function of the moral degeneracy of individual athletes." Doping is also inevitable. As long as athletes can earn more money and glory by outperforming their competitors, we will never eliminate PEDs from the world of sports. Which leads us to a universal truth about drug use, one that applies equally to elite athletes and homeless junkies: There's no point in vilifying the user without also asking why he became one. As it is, Lance Armstrong is just another reminder that we're failing in the War on PEDs in much the same way that we failed in the War on Drugs. After ignoring the widespread use of PEDs for years—in cycling's case, for decades—we started an expensive, no-holds-barred crusade for their prohibition, shaming users as moral degenerates and criminals.

    Instead, let's pause to consider—if only for as long as Oprah Winfrey's two-night interview with Armstrong—the underlying reasons that steroids are so common in sports: Because we value winning above all else, and pay winners accordingly. Because we expect to see transcendent athletic performances with casual frequency. Because of the unrealistic physical demands of endurance sports. Because we have embraced performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals in virtually every other realm (the bedroom, the classroom, the battlefield, and so on). The world's most famous doper is finally on record and presumably ready to cooperate with authorities. Let the outrage end—and the sensible conversation begin.
    http://deadspin.com/5976835/the-war-...e-war-on-drugs

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    War on doping may be lost. But quitting the war doesn't make it right. Doping's victory doesn't make it a good thing.

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    Mass Monster frankdaddy's Avatar
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    How do you know it's a bad thing ^ Show me a study on it!!

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    Mini Forklift Ⓥ
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    Drug testing in professional sports is a joke.

    Passing a drug test (or never failing one) ultimately means nothing IMO.

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    Amateur Threat Portillo.'s Avatar
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    Lance Armstrong: Was He Doping or Experimenting with Science?

    Lance Armstrong is a great champion. There is no question. The first time I met him in 1991, you could see that the kid had it all: ruthlessness, enormous power and a savage desire to win that was almost frightening in its intensity. All that, and he was always ready with a sound bite. Armstrong was the complete package. And two years later, at age 21, he became the youngest rider in modern history to become the world professional road champion.

    We all know the rest of the story. After his bout with cancer in 1996, his recovery and subsequent metamorphosis into a lethal, streamlined Tour de France contender was stunning — as was the new laser-beam focus that earned him the nickname RoboCop in the peloton. The rest of the pros never had a chance.
    So now that he has been stripped of his seven Tour de France wins and banned from cycling for the rest of his life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), we have to ask: Did Lance Armstrong really win all those titles, beat all those other cyclists, endure the unimaginable hardships of long-distance competition just because he’s a cheater?

    On a daily basis, professional athletes are pushed beyond previously imaginable limits. They are human science experiments. The image that the USADA paints of a pristine world of clean sport, tainted by a handful of rogue competitors and their mad-scientist pharmacological enablers, is pure fantasy. A pro’s job is to find the edge, and that edge comes through science — and often, through pushing that science to its limits. Very often those limits are a moving target.

    In 1997, the Union Cycliste Internationale ruled to limit racing cyclists’ hematocrit level (the percentage of red blood cells vs. white, which is the fuel that drives endurance sport) to 50%. It was their first attempt at controlling the new science of blood manipulation, which was enabling racers to push themselves harder, longer. Of course, the only thing the new rule did was ensure that pro cyclists had to find a way to reach a hematocrit level of 49.9% exactly, or else quickly become irrelevant and lose their job. No one really had a choice. Every professional sport has a similar story: athletes must stay current with the latest science — and with the latest rules that proscribe its use — or disappear off the stage.

    Where does science end and doping begin? Should swallowing a tiny thermometer in a dangerous (yet legal) high-heat technique that forces the body to flood itself with the performance-enhancing hormone EPO — an approach Armstrong pioneered during his comeback — be considered a dastardly attempt to cheat or the cutting edge of scientific progress? (More to the point, was this same technique powerful enough to prompt the spike in his 2009–10 blood profiles that the USADA is touting as its one bit of hard evidence against him?) Could the major scientific advancements in nutrition, recovery and aerodynamics that have allowed Britain’s Team Sky to become a cycling juggernaut in recent years someday be defined as doping?

    Cycling is a 19th century sport that until very recently had little in the way of educated leadership. It is infamous for its primitive brutality. “Boxing meets horse racing” is my favorite description for it. Armstrong went to Europe in 1989 as a 19-year-old and spent the next 15 years conquering that pitiless world. He won his races by being smarter and tougher, training harder, enduring more pain and using science to its limits to improve his performance. I found it terribly ironic that Armstrong was criticized by the USADA for his “win-at-all-costs mentality,” as that sentiment defines its own approach to his and other cases. Doping is fought through information and education — and yes, of course, enforcement. But scorched-earth tactics and trophy kills won’t fix the issue. The USADA and its cohort, the World Anti-Doping Agency, need to look at the realities of a professional athlete’s world. They must take a good, hard look at their own mission, their own tactics and their own draconian perspective on sport. This public execution of Lance Armstrong gives them a perfect place to begin.
    http://ideas.time.com/2012/08/27/lan...#ixzz2IPRY6dqo

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    Can't agree with this view. The war on doping is a huge success. It has created an immense bureaucracy & jobs for thousands of agents & officers. That's the purpose of it, or haven't you figured that out? The purpose of the prosecution of Barry Bonds was to harass, embarrass & impoverish him, not to prove he used, which was impossible without trainer Greg Anderson's testimony. Same thing happened after the OJ trial. After LAPD lost the case in a spectacular fashion, it opened a new unit for high-profile trials just like it. It's all about publicity, exposure, & beating your chest like King Kong about how virtuous you are as the money keeps rolling in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hifrommike65 View Post
    Can't agree with this view. The war on doping is a huge success. It has created an immense bureaucracy & jobs for thousands of agents & officers. That's the purpose of it, or haven't you figured that out? The purpose of the prosecution of Barry Bonds was to harass, embarrass & impoverish him, not to prove he used, which was impossible without trainer Greg Anderson's testimony. Same thing happened after the OJ trial. After LAPD lost the case in a spectacular fashion, it opened a new unit for high-profile trials just like it. It's all about publicity, exposure, & beating your chest like King Kong about how virtuous you are as the money keeps rolling in.
    Why the fuck should my government be spending millions of dollars to find out whether a professional athlete used drugs or not? This war on performance enhancing drugs is the biggest fucking joke and just reminds me of how dumb the US government can be.

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    Millions of OUR dollars. It's from OUR taxes. WE are bankrolling every bit of it.

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    Beach Body Cunter's Avatar
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    Cant they just kill all the dopers from a safe distance using combat drones? I thought this was America!
    slin hard, go pro

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    Why not? They're now pursuing suspected AAS users based on the Patriot Act!

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    Mini Forklift Ⓥ
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    For the amount of athletes they catch versus the amount of athletes that stay ahead of the game, I think it's an absurd waste of money regardless of where the money comes from.

    I'm good friends with a few Pro athletes (not BB'ers) and they all say the current system is laughable. There's becoming little incentive NOT to cheat as you've probably got a pretty good chance that you will remain uncaught if you know what you're doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mini Forklift Ⓥ View Post
    Drug testing in professional sports is a joke.

    Passing a drug test (or never failing one) ultimately means nothing IMO.
    I agree. Spend the time and effort on the rules you an enforce is my motto.
    Pro athletes do all kinds of things to get their body in shape/conition to compete.
    PED's are just another form of training aids and supplements.
    I saw a star, reached for it...and MISSED

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    Quote Originally Posted by hifrommike65 View Post
    Can't agree with this view. The war on doping is a huge success. It has created an immense bureaucracy & jobs for thousands of agents & officers. That's the purpose of it, or haven't you figured that out? The purpose of the prosecution of Barry Bonds was to harass, embarrass & impoverish him, not to prove he used, which was impossible without trainer Greg Anderson's testimony. Same thing happened after the OJ trial. After LAPD lost the case in a spectacular fashion, it opened a new unit for high-profile trials just like it. It's all about publicity, exposure, & beating your chest like King Kong about how virtuous you are as the money keeps rolling in.
    You can't compare the OJ murder trial to the BALCO roid trials and Barry Bonds.
    As misguided as the "war on drugs is" I tend to believe the top people really think they are somewhat effective and doing the right thing.
    The media loves a a sleezy story with drugs or sex , and Barry Bonds was an ideal , high profile target.
    I saw a star, reached for it...and MISSED

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mini Forklift Ⓥ View Post
    For the amount of athletes they catch versus the amount of athletes that stay ahead of the game, I think it's an absurd waste of money regardless of where the money comes from.

    I'm good friends with a few Pro athletes (not BB'ers) and they all say the current system is laughable. There's becoming little incentive NOT to cheat as you've probably got a pretty good chance that you will remain uncaught if you know what you're doing.
    I agree. Spend the time, money and resources on rules you can enforce on a consistant basis.
    My issue with drugs in sports is mostly the legal hassles for the pros .
    I have no problems with a pro BB useing whatever drug in their body to prepare for a show.
    I do have problems with the fact that they are forced to risk breaking the felony drug laws.
    It shouldn't illegal and I don't see a victim here????
    I saw a star, reached for it...and MISSED

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    The world would rotate a lot more smoothly if everybody could just worry about their OWN shit, and quit worrying about everybody else's. Just like everybody on this board that "HAS TO KNOW" what every pro is taking. Taking PED's does NOT cause harm to ANYBODY but the user. Therefore, if somebody is a grown adult, and chooses that path, who the fuck cares? Why, because you think God should have handed down some "even playing field", and YOU feel entitled to "regulate the laws of fairness"? News flash: we're all born with different genetics, gifts and tools. Use YOUR work ethics, YOUR knowledge, YOUR drive and YOUR INTELLIGENCE, to make the best decisions for YOU, to turn YOU into the best person YOU can be.

    If everybody talking about "drugs in sports" did that, we'd have a lot less people whining, and a lot more people just living their own lives to their utmost potential.

    -lifepulse

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    Bro Scientist CaveMan's Avatar
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    Everytime I hear the word "doping", I think of some hippie being slipped a mickey.

  17. #17

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    Or slipping it to someone else.

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