I’ve been a sports fan my entire life and I have also been a fan of professional fighting for the past five years (MMA & Boxing). Recently, it seems like every sport has been in the spotlight for athletes failing performance enhancing drug (PED) tests. This even goes into the world of general entertainment, professional wrestlers and even movie stars are getting busted. Hell, Sly Stallone got popped for juicing when he filmed the Rocky Balboa movie. Most recently the Russian Olympic team was banned from the Rio games due to allegations of state sponsored doping programs.
So, what is the big deal if everyone is doing it? Lance Armstrong acts like he has no regrets for what he did. The most decorated American cyclist of my generation, and his simple response was, everyone else was doing it. The man made a fortune from it, and he honestly has a point. Since his confession, cyclists have been testing positive or admitting to elaborate doping regiments like crazy. Unlike combat or contact sports, is anyone getting hurt? I don’t remember Bonds, McGuire, or Sosa having hurt anyone. When McGuire and Sosa were battling for the single season homerun record, everyone was paying attention. Even me, and I am bored senseless by baseball.
Yes, yes, I get it. It goes against the spirit of athletic competition. But we are actually seeing some of the most amazing feats of sports entertainment that have ever been witnessed. All the icons that people have…have been caught. Even, Usain Bolt, recently lost a Gold Medal due to retesting of old samples. But you all loved him. You all wanted to see him break every record and you wanted to see history happening. Maybe PED use is just the evolution of sport and the integration of entertainment and big business.
Athletes within combat and contact sports know that they are going into a field of work that brings about inherent risk of harm and even possible death. But in combat sports, excessive violence is what drives the industry. This also drives the paydays that these athletes realize when popularity increases. Recently Brock Lesnar tested positive for PED use, but you know what, he sold a lot of pay per views; oh and he pocketed $2.5M for his fight. Fans were thrilled. They may feel cheated afterwards, but they still had that moment of seeing exactly what they wanted. Look at the following picture and tell me honestly that no one had the slightest clue that he may be roided out.
I don’t know if I agree with everything that I have just said, but I can see why an athlete would risk everything they have to be the best. Even if that best is marked with an asterisk. Has modern day physical competition moved more into the realm of big business and entertainment and further away from seeing the possible accomplishments of the mind and body working as one? Major sports equal major money. I can see why big business and TV networks are ok with turning a blind eye, they are getting your money, and you the spectator are still left smiling.
Would you be tempted to take a pill or needle to be rich, do you really think you are that resolute to say you wouldn’t be tempted?