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The Prisoners' Dilemma of Doping in Professional Sports


Stashed in: Drugs!, Cycling!, Lance Armstrong

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"Some sports are more vigilant about drug detection than others. European bicycle racing is particularly vigilant; so are the Olympics. This can lead to some perverse outcomes. In at least two instances, positive tests for norandrosterone, a steroid of which traces are found naturally in human urine, have been traced to adulterated supplements consumed by unsuspecting bicycle racers. Another athlete tested positive for benzodiazepine after consuming a Chinese herbal product. The most widely used urine test for EPO has been found to result in false positives in urine collected after strenuous physical exercise, though this conclusion has been hotly contested by the test’s developer and others.

Fans want to see beefy linebackers, powerful sluggers, and lightning-fast sprinters. So, with a wink and a nod, American enforcers only test for the easy stuff.

The most widely used tests – rapid-screen immunoassays – all too frequently yield false positives in individuals taking routine over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers, and allergy and acid reflux medications. Two days after winning the first British medal in Alpine skiing at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Alain Baxter was forced to return the bronze medal due to a positive test for methamphetamine … resulting from a Vicks Vapor Inhaler.

American professional sports are far more lenient, often trying to give the appearance of vigilance while still allowing athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. They know that fans want to see beefy linebackers, powerful sluggers, and lightning-fast sprinters. So, with a wink and a nod, American enforcers only test for the easy stuff."

Basically, exactly what I was saying. Major sports in the US do not get tested heavily because they WANT their athletes to be bigger, faster, stronger. And even when Olympic sports like Cycling and Track and Field have people "caught," often the tests are flawed or false positives.

If it's not clear to anyone thinking about it logically it should be: you can't ban this stuff, you need to legalize it JUST like the war on drugs.

If we legalize it, we still have to regulate it.

Which is a whole nother big mess.

The other alternative is to turn a blind eye towards it; which is what the major American sports do. In essence, that is legalizing it by not actually regulating it nor punishing it.

So it's a mess no matter what.

I think it's simple; ban all drug testing. Let people do and take whatever drugs they want; it's cleaner and simpler that way.

What you do is your own body is your own prerogative. And if your addiction or use or abuse leads to your own death or hospitalization, we hope you have the insurance for it -- and many are working that you will, in fact, have at least that.

I think the "war on drugs" in both sports and life, is pointless. It's a waste of time, money, and energy.

Which would you prefer? The NFL and MLB as it is, or the NFL/MLB to look like cycling? That is why those organizations mostly turn a blind eye to it and avoid rigorous off-season testing.

The product is the players; and as long as they are sportsmanlike on and off the field (e.g. don't get arrested, don't say anything too stupid) the leagues truly don't care.

Olympic sports, not so. And as a result, more fans view those sports as less credible.

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