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Before I get into explaining my title this week, let me just say that I love all things involved with sports. That is all things, except cheaters.
If you have been keeping up with sports news recently, you know that there have been several different stories pop up about professional athletes who have been accused of or caught using performance enhancing drugs.
Nearly everyone has their own opinion on this issue, but most people feel that it is wrong for certain players to attempt to gain an advantage over their competitors by any means other than just plain hard work. I am of the same opinion, and with seemingly endless reports of athletes reportedly taking performance enhancing drugs, I think the penalties should be stiffer in some instances.
Within the past few weeks, two separate incidents have surfaced in Major League Baseball. A player on a playoff contending team was found to have been taking a banned substance and basically tried to cover it up before finally accepting his punishment. A second player was found to be using another banned substance and issued a statement saying that he was sorry and would accept his punishment.
Both of these cases come well after the whole "steroid era" began. When Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens cases came to light, the problem took a turn for the worse. These two were big names in the sport. Bonds holds the all-time career home run mark; or does he? That may be a topic of debate for later columns. Clemens was a dominant pitcher in his heyday, frequently racking up double digit strikeouts in a game. Now both of these players will forever be linked to the "steroid era"; would you want that if you had the careers these two had?
Obviously, the most severe punishment was handed down to Lance Armstrong recently. After a long battle in an attempt to clear his name, Armstrong finally admitted defeat and said he would no longer fight to clear his name. Several of his former teammates have come forward and said that they witnessed him using banned substances.
When I heard the report that Armstrong said he would no longer fight the charges, but maintained his innocence, I was puzzled. If you "know" you didn't do anything wrong, why would you stop fighting and attempting to clear your name of any wrongdoing? Forget the fact that you won seven Tour de France titles and basically made cycling into the sport that it was. Do it for yourself, your dignity and your country. Basically, his statement to me meant that he was admitting the fact that he did use the substances and got tired of lying about it.
Whatever your view on this subject is, I have a feeling that you don't want to see anybody win because they cheated. Remember that old saying, "Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win" the next time you hear about one of these cases. With all the new testing procedures in place these days, how do these guys expect to get away with it?