The Dopes on Witchhunting Doping

“How could I not wonder, ‘Is he using something?'” ……”If you’re Derek Jeter, would you think about using HGH right now? Because I would. How would you not? Would you not think about it?”

                                                                                                        -ESPN Sports Commentator Skip Bayless

At a time where the media continues to blast the public with mindless and frivolous news that dumbs you down, the word journalism has completely gone out the window. When the pioneers and innovators of the print and broadcast news industry had ethical journalists,editors, and news directors that had standards before TMZ, Twitter, Facebook,and smart phones, journalists, once upon a time, took the time to research and report on topics that were error and sensationalist free.Groundbreaking news shows like 20/20, 60 Minutes, and Frontline gave the viewer a new voice and integrity to news in prime-time television that would’ve never been seen in print or on radio. Today, news has been replaced with cable news networks that have replaced real commentators with talking heads and sensationalist news and tabloid-style nonsense that runs constantly for 24 hours.

Last week the sports world was once again shaken up by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong as he walked away from a high-profile investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency on allegations that he used performance enhancing drugs while competing. As Friday of last week, the International Cycling Union has stripped all seven of Armstrong’s medals.

Former teammate Tyler Hamilton in a interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley this past May, told Pelley that “I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator…I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times.” Hamilton and other former teammates told federal investigators about the usage of performance enhancing drugs that Armstrong used during him competing during the Tour de France.

As you may recall, the National Baseball League also began going hard on players who used PED’s(although there wasn’t a law enforced until 2005 when the owners and players accepted one before the season started) until the BALCO scandal that lead to the media assassination and expose of the 2006 Baseball steroids investigation. The investigation involved San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds and other players such as Jason Giambi, and Gary Sheffield. The Mitchell Report, named after former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, eventually lead to the discipline of the many players as well as the strict and no nonsense approach for the use of PED’s. 

I look at this whole performance enhancing drug this from two sides, one as a sports fan, and two, as a journalist. 

First, lets look at the damage that professional baseball has had to undergo over the last couple of years. Since the MLB didn’t have a rule or set of statutes on using PED’s since they implemented them in 2006, the players that used them from then until now should be penalized to the fullest. Those who lied under oath before the Congressional hearing should also be penalized as well. But here’s where I have a problem with the MLB. At the same time they began the new rules, they’ve should’ve also given clemency to the players that used the PED’s before the media and journalists began their lop-sided witch-hunt about digging into ones past. What Jose Canseco did in the 1990‘s with his PED’s is moot because there weren’t any laws or rules to penalize him and other players. 

Finally, I have to say that I haven’t liked the way the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the press has treated Lance Armstrong. Yes, him not fighting the charges against him makes him look like he did partake in using performance enhancing drugs. But, the USADA and the press have made Lance look like he was a doper and he wasn’t cooperating with the proper authorities and officials. According to Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, its been a known fact that the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the World Anti-Doping Agency hasn’t been too nice to athletes that try to appeal their cases or to have their sides out in the open. Jenkins states that “American athletes have lost 58 of 60 cases before the CAS.” From jump, the media has tried to assassinate Lance to the point where he wasn’t going to get a fair hearing.

The media has been a source of slant and misinformation on the covering news. That’s nothing new! Even the quote I opened up with from ESPN sports analyst Skip Bayliss on his recent accusations that New York Yankee Derek Jeter is using PED’s is a bit unfounded and not factual at all. The role of the media now has become of honest and ethical journalism to tabloid and gossip news putting many readers and viewers to have a less than stellar opinion of some athletes that have done the right during their careers. The 60 Minutes interview with former teammate Tyler Hamilton was a one-sided interview that didn’t shed much light into Armstrong’s motive to use PED’s, when he won seven medal and fought cancer. The interview was a sensational segment that brought nothing new to Armstrong’s investigation, but only ratings to 60 Minutes. Yet, Armstrong never failed the over 500 drug tests he’s taken over the last 25 years has a professional athlete. 

In closing, when making your judgements on PED’s or an athlete’s character flaws, make sure you have your own facts correct. It seems the public and the press have handed down a verdict without giving a man his fair hearing.


The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report