There has been a lot of blasting here, and on a number of other blogs, newspapers, and media-outlets of ESPN for their recent sycophantic coverage of the home-run chase - most, if not all of it, justifiable. However, let it not be said that I didn't recognize them when they actually post an article or two that takes cheaters to task. They're decent reads.
It got me thinking though. Particularly this paragraph towards the end of the first of the two articles -
And now when I look at the innocent face of my 5-month-old daughter, I want
sports to help her dream, too. I don't want her to see the greatest home run
hitter in baseball history and question whether he was a cheat. I'd rather she
not watch a suspiciously officiated NBA playoff game and instantly think the fix
is on. And God forbid she look at any future female sports stars and just throw
her hands up because she doesn't have their chemist.
That passage could easily apply to me and my 5-year-old daughter or my soon to be born daughter (at least that's what the ultrasound tech told us it was going to be).
It's getting hard to look at professional sports...any professional sports these days and not wonder.
There are golfers talking openly about the need for steroid testing in golf. Golf! That's ridiculous.
In cycling, Lance Armstrong - the poster boy for overcoming adversity - is constantly fighting allegations of doping, even into retirement. Some of the allegations coming from former teammates with nothing to gain by coming forward. I won't even go into Floyd Landis.
I've discussed the issues with baseball at length.
How many football players have failed drug tests this summer and are facing four game suspensions to start the season? Right now, I'm thinking around four.
I don't even follow auto racing, but I feel like I'm constantly hearing about some driver or other who's being docked points for rules violations.
Track and field? I competed in high school and college. It pains me that every time the sport makes the headlines it seems that it is because one of its biggest stars was caught doping. And those that weren't nailed decisively (Marion Jones), have consciously put themselves into doubt by surrounding themselves with coaches and trainers who have been busted as suppliers of performance enhancers.
Like Wayne Drehs at ESPN, I want my daughters to be able to look up to athletes. I want them to understand they have options - that they have the option to pursue athletic excellence on a level playing field, that a woman can be strong and athletic and not have to sacrifice anything but the time on the practice field to be that way.
Right now, my only answer can be to my daughters, should they come to me for advice in regards to performance enhancing drugs is, "you just need to work harder." Sadly, the chemists have been working smarter.