*This will come off as hating but it’s actually realism.
What are the odds that a baseball player who admitted to using performance enhancing drugs at one point in his career to live up to his contract would use them that one time only? And what if there is no real change in production during the early years of his career to the middle years when the performance enhancing drug use occurred, to the later years when he was theoretically clean?
Yankee apologists are likely to argue that the odds are high that Alex Rodriguez only used drugs in Texas, that his performance in a Yankee uniform has been untainted. And this may be true, but it is worth asking the question about whether anything else was going on. And it would not be very surprising if the reports out of Miami are proven to be true and Rodriguez was using other performance enhancing drugs as he got older and the pressure of a big money contract extension became too great.
What are the odds that a cyclist who fought cancer would be able to break records as he won what is considered the most grueling event in sports? What about if all of his teammates admitted to their own drug use and identified this individual as the ring leader. What if drug use was rampant throughout the sport? At what point do we start to realize that the human body has limits and those who claim to take it past those limits without any chemical help are not being genuine.
Up until last month Lance Armstrong apologists shouted from the rooftops that he hadn’t tested positive. And that he had done too much good with his foundation so it wasn’t fair to smear him. I remember hearing and regurgitating something about how his lung capacity was something like 20% more than the average person. But in the wake of his interview with Oprah Winfrey we can all stop going along with the fairy tale.
What are the odds that when a human being sustains a particular injury and it generally takes six months for the person to recuperate that someone could split the recovery time in half? That this injury is uncommon and becomes more likely with steroid use but that the recovery would be done without chemical assistance?
Ray Lewis just won a second Super Bowl title and he may be totally clean. But there is good reason to question his methods. Because he is retiring, ultimately the issue of his use of deer antler extract probably won’t be pursued. I don’t have a problem with this. But before this all gets swept under the rug of his admittedly great career, let’s take a moment to consider the reality of human biology and consider the possible scenarios.
Basically I have a problem believing that ultra competitive people are able to make the distinction between what’s right and what’s not. Chances are that the guy who makes it to the major leagues does so because he kept taking extra batting practice while ignoring many other aspects of life. Instead of doing homework (the right thing), he went back to the cage after practice. Furthermore most professional athletes have been catered to for years so it is plausible, in my opinion, that they would think they could get away with performance enhancing drug use like they’ve been getting away with bending rules for most of their lives.
There is an adage that the simplest explanation is usually the best explanation. In each of these situations, even when allowing for the uniqueness of the physical abilities of professional athletes, it is just more likely that they cheated. Armstrong has finally acknowledged it. Lewis will get to duck the issue via retirement. Alex Rodriguez: the floor is yours.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.