Friday, September 07, 2007

Steroids double standard?

Great point from Jayson Stark's most recent ESPN column:

"Suppose a prominent and popular All-Star player on a two-time World Series champion were to get suspended for a quarter of a season because he got nabbed obtaining HGH (human growth hormone, a performance enhancing drug) . And suppose, at the same time, a coach on one of last year's World Series teams was also suspended for the same offense. How gigantic would the headlines be on every front page in America? How scathing would the columns be from all your favorite writers?"

The above scenario has actually happened in the last 2 weeks - in football. (Rodney Harrison of the New England Patriots, and Wade Wilson of the Dallas Cowboys.)

Where's the outrage? Why isn't the press working feverishly to figure out who Wilson was buying HGH for? Why is nobody asking "if a defensive back like Harrison is taking HGH, what do you think the bigger guys are doing?"

The whole Baseball ecosystem deserves loads of criticism for how they handled the steroids issue, (in fact, how they exploited it, if you tie the '90s fascination with HRs with tacit steroid approval by the leagues) and has gotten it's fair share of negative press, but why is football virtually untouched?

My 4 best guesses are:

1) football has many other more sensational off-field stories stealing the headlines, like Michael Vick's dog-fighting case.

2) football is considered by fans more entertainment than sport, and much like WWE fans not really caring that wrestlers take steroids to look the part, football fans in effect just don't care what wardrobe the actors wear.

3) fans aren't dumb, and already realize that the average NFL player is already a steroid-fueled freak of nature. (Geez, if an NFL kicker like Todd Sauerbrun took steroids, how about the 350 pound linemen freaks?

4) so much of the media has bought into football, that a foundation-jarring issue like rampant steroid use is soft-pedaled, in order to protect the media's investment in the NFL. (At present, ESPN, NBC, and FOX each have multi-billion dollar contracts to broadcast the NFL.)

Any careful examination of the trend in size and strength of NFL players clearly indicates rampant performance enhancing drug use, much like the rise of home runs in baseball in the 1990's illustrates the growth of steroid use. With the similar trends in usage of performance enhancing drugs, why the double standard in the press?

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
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"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous