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SPORT-MED  June 2012

SPORT-MED June 2012

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Subject:

Sport and Society 6-25-12 Clemens et. al.

From:

"David P. Dillard" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

To support research in sports medicine <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 13:49:25 -0400

Content-Type:

MULTIPART/MIXED

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (163 lines)


.

.

Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 10:14:25 -0400
From: richard crepeau <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Sport and Society 6-25-12 Clemens et. al.

.

SPORT AND SOCIETY FOR ARETE

.

JUNE 25, 2012

.





It ended last week with the jury foreman announcing to the court that the 
jury had found Roger Clemens “not guilty.”



.



.


There have been a number of reactions to the decision. Many of the more 
self-righteous around the baseball world were quick to point out that “not 
guilty” does not mean “innocent,” nor does it mean “drug free.” It does 
however mean “not guilty,” and it was clear that for many of these 
commentators “not guilty” does not mean “not guilty.” What they have 
pointed out is that Clemens was found “not guilty” of lying to Congress 
when he told them he had never used steroids or HgH. Clemens of course 
believes that “not guilty” means “innocent” and he didn’t do the deed.

.

The chorus followed, featuring a solo by Dodger manager Don Mattingly, who 
denounced the government for wasting all that money, estimated between $3M 
and $5M for the two trials. The subtext of this criticism is that no one 
really cares about the legal niceties of this case, or even about elite 
athletes doping. So much time has passed, four and half years, since 
Clemens appeared in Congress that most people have forgotten about it. 
That view was given some legs by the fact that two jurors were dismissed 
when they nodded off during the trial. In addition the first trial ended 
in a hung jury.

.

Then there are those who denounced the prosecution for botching the case. 
Their lead witness, Brian McNamee, who said he injected Clemens with the 
substances in question, was spun like a top by Clemens' lawyer, Rusty 
Harden. One New York writer, who apparently was fooled by the name “Rusty” 
and the Texas accent, described Harden as a bumpkin. The writer must not 
have read the bumpkin’s resume. Harden also managed to get Andy Pettitte 
to back off from his testimony and say he had only a 50-50 certainty of 
his recollection that Clemens told him he used HgH.

.

The Clemens Case was the second major whiff by federal prosecutors in 
recent times. More millions were spent trying to prove that Barry Bonds 
used performance enhancing drugs. For seven years the Feds tried to get a 
case on Bonds, and the best they could do was a conviction on one count of 
obstructing justice. Estimates of the cost of the Bonds case ranged from 
$55M to $100M. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days to be served at home, and he 
is appealing the conviction. How much is that per day? You do the math.

.

These two failures are usually linked with the failure of the two two-year 
investigation of charges against Lance Armstrong that ended with no 
charges being pressed. After watching the Feds fail the U.S. Anti-Doping 
Agency has decided to make another run at Armstrong charging that he has 
used illegal drugs in the Tour de France. Charging Lance Armstrong with 
illegal drug use has become so common that it has taken on the character 
of a mantra.


.


So in the end what does it all mean?

.

Clearly someone thinks that the use of steroids, HgH, and other PEDs is an 
issue that concerns or should concern the public. Maybe it does. It 
certainly seems to concern sportswriters and commentators who have an 
endless supply of disgust for these athletes. For many people however the 
biggest concern seems to be over wasted time and money.

.

It seems that most people simply take it for granted that there are drug 
cheats out there, and those who they conclude are cheats are dismissed by 
the public out of hand. There is no need for anyone to do time, to make 
public confessions, or to throw dirt on their heads. Sports fans simply 
discount these suspect athletes and let it go at that. Baseball players 
like McGwire, Bonds, and Clemens, to mention a few, get no respect from 
fans and any records they achieved are considered flawed or bogus. That, 
for many fans is all that matters. They are presumed guilty.

.

It is assumed that Clemens was injecting, that Bonds was juicing, and that 
Lance Armstrong and nearly everyone who ever rode in the Tour de France 
used illegal substances. It really doesn’t matter what happens in 
courtrooms. In a sense sports fans share the viewpoint of Judge Kenesaw 
Mountain Landis, who after the Black Sox were found “not guilty” said he 
was not impressed by “the verdict of juries.” The judge then banned the 
players from baseball for life.

.

At the core of the problem is that all drug use is treated as if it were 
the same. A blanket ban is a simple and simplistic drug policy. It does 
not require anyone to make difficult decisions and distinctions. It does 
not recognize that in some situations a drug might be useful and perhaps 
even necessary for an athlete to use. In addition many drugs remain 
undetectable and new drugs are constantly entering the field of play. 
Further ambiguity is added by the fact that some drugs are encouraged so 
that athletes can play with pain.

.

Pursuing high profile athletes can justify prosecutor’s budgets. Testing 
and punishing athletes can employ thousands of people at the World 
Anti-Doping Agency and give ex-Olympic officials the feeling of 
self-importance. Seeking to ban athletes for PEDs offers authorities a 
chance to demonstrate that they believe in “pure” sport, even if that 
purity has long since been obliterated by commercial corruption and 
self-indulgence. 

.

It is, in short, a messy business.

.

On Sport and Society this is Dick Crepeau reminding you that you don’t 
have to be a good sport to be a bad loser.


.

.



Copyright 2012 by Richard C. Crepeau


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