Stupidity on Steroids

Maybe it is just me, but the outrage and ruckus about the Mitchell report and steroid use in baseball is laughable. Did people really think US athletes being paid tens of millions a year for athletic performance weren't using illegal substances? Did they think that baseball, experiencing a resurgant popularity after the strike mostly because of the home run records, would be incentavised to effectively monitor its players and reduce their performance?

That's naivete. The reporting itself, is just plain stupid. After A-Rod denies using any "steroids, hormones, or other performance enhancing substances" why not ask "so you never used protein shakes?" Of course he has. And vitamins. And creatine monohydrate. Hell, I use all that stuff, or have. Each of these is performance enhancing and the list goes on endlessly.

And oh, the outrage that Andy Petitte used Human Growth Hormone (HGH) for 2 days - when it was legal at the time! What's the problem, people? The problem is setting policy and enforcing it in an open manner.

I think the issue is black and white - as in listing. There are two basic approaches to access control, blacklisting and whitelisting. Black listing is about maintaining a list of banned substances. This is on the whole what they have been doing. The problem is that drugs are evolving so fast, that a crafty chemist can find a loophole. And it takes time to discover it, research the substance, and then add it to the blacklist. But that is the general approach.

If baseball was in fact serious about this issue, and especially the effect on children, it might implement a whitelist approach, where a list of allowed substances is managed. Everything else is off limits. If you want to take something, submit it to the board, if it gets approved, then you can take it. Otherwise, you can get prosecuted for it. The downside of this approach is the overhead of maintaining an active stance on substance legality. You would have to setup baseball's mini-FDA. But, it makes the rules clear at all times, it gives no player with a secret potion an advantage since everyone has access to the whitelist, and it also sets a hardline stance of what is safe, which for outsiders, especially kids, is important.

Lastly, the testing and enforcement process needs to be transparent. Random and frequent drug testing should be mandatory. If you can pay A-Rod $300 million, you can ask him to pee in a cup every week. And every other player for that matter. Twice a week in the post season. If you don't like it, I am sure there are other professions that will pay you your millions. And the report on no shows, effectivity, etc. should be scrutinized by a committee or other open body. The penalties should be clearly spelled out, and enforced. Do we really need the US Congress to step in?

And by the way, it't not just baseball. But basketball. Football. Hockey. And every other conceivable sport. God forbid if I have to endure this scandal for each one separately.

America should stop being the pansy in the corner thinking about how honorable sports and the importance of living a childhood dream. Our honor rests on much more these days and it's time to grow up a little. It's entertainment, not chivalry.

Sports federations should stop being a roid raged bum of an athlete focused on immoral acts for the gain of the sport. If you want to project honor, be honorable. If you want to make money, open it up and be a businessman. Hell, let's start an altered Olympics. Anything goes. That's entertainment!

But most of all, can they take this off the front page? There is a war going on. A new presidential campaign. A million people might lose their homes. Iran just got enriched uranium from Russia. Economists are talking about stagflation. And it's Christmakwanzicah.