Thursday, July 27, 2006

Landis Blood Test Stains Victory

If a second test confirms that heightened levels of testosterone/epitestosterone are due to performance-enhancing drugs, the Tour De France winner's team plans to fire him.

Until the second test comes in, I think we have to give Floyd Landis the benefit of the doubt. But given the doping scandals that already tainted this year's Tour de France, not to mention other sports over the past several years, it's fair to ask: What's up with athletes not only being so willing to disregard rules, but to do so even in a climate of heightened awareness and therefore despite an increased likelihood that they'll get caught? I mean, how stupid can you get? How disrespectful can you be of the sport that you supposedly care about so much that you'll do anything to stand at its pinnacle?

I know that there are quite a number of people (including some readers here) who think the taking of performance-enhancing drugs should be OK. I'm not going to get into that argument myself (but y'all feel free to go ahead in comments, if you want), because it seems to me that it comes down to different philosophies of human ability, achievement and merit, and there's almost never any point to debating that.

But regardless of how one stands on the issue, it seems to me that we should all be able to agree that as long as the rules and regs stay as they are, it's utterly ignoble to ignore them. I mean, isn't it antithetical to the concept of sportmanship to completely flout the rules of the game you're playing, or contest in which you're competing?

Or, when it comes down to it, do we really only care about the so-called "achieving" Athlete, rather than the Game or the Sport itself? If so, the cult of celebrity has trumped all, once again, in yet another area.

And, once again, we are all lesser for it.