Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs
You may have heard that the United States Anti-Doping Agency has stripped Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France wins not because he has actually been proven to have used performance enhancing drugs, but because Armstrong basically got tired of fighting the
bastards USADA over the issue. The question no one else seems to be asking is this: Why do we have a USADA in the first place?
Make no mistake, I am not supporting the USADA. People use performance enhancing drugs in other areas of life. Everyday there are people use coffee or soda or energy drinks to help them stay awake and alert. I know I have. I believe all of this anti-doping fuss is ridiculous.
“Gasp! How can you say that?” some of you ask incredulously. No, I do not support cheating. But why must using performance enhancing drugs in sports be cheating? The most common answer is that is unfair. But why is it unfair? What about it is unfair? If Player A works harder than the average player and spends extra hours every day practicing, is that unfair? He does it for the same reason people use performance enhancing drugs (PED). To get an edge, to be just that little bit better than the other players. Why is practicing longer hours fair but using PED unfair?
And no I do not believe using PED somehow ruins the purity of a sport. Sports professional, college and even the Olympics use computers and advanced medicine to help players become better and remain healthier. Players with access to the best technology and the best doctors have an edge over those players who do not. Yet, no one complains that this is ruining the purity of sports. No one says that should be cheating.
But doping is cheating because it is against the rules. Yes, I know, but why is it against the rules? Why do we have a USADA to crack down on this? Why is the USADA getting millions of dollars from the U.S. federal government to do this? This is ridiculous.
I have heard of football players who take ibuprofen before a game to help them handle the pain they incur while playing the sport. This is not cheating because ibuprofen is not against the rules. Yet it is being used as a PED.
I know wide receivers in professional (NFL) football use special gloves made specifically to help them have better, stickier grip with which to catch the football. Why is this acceptable artificial performance enhancement but PED are not?
Professional athletes do and use all sorts of things to artificially enhance their performances and to give them an edge which they hope will help them play better, faster, stronger than their competitors. Why should I accept all those other things, but condemn PED?
I have yet to see a persuasive argument against PED. Most arguments are emotional (it ruins the purity of the sport) or circular (it’s wrong because it is against the rules). But if you can explain why practicing harder and longer is okay but PED are not, feel free.