By Chad T. Jones
Public Affairs Officer
Not for nothing, but if you didn't know that Armstrong, a cancer survivor and former seven-time Tour De France champion, was living strong thanks to some needles and oxygenated blood, then I don't know what to tell you.
Well, after being out of pocket for a few weeks, there are some things I want to tell you: Justin Verlander is tougher than Chuck Norris youtube.com/watch?v=f67LgpJBPPE.
All is right in the world again after Michigan finally beat MSU after four seasons, and Mr. Jones' little boy must be growing up since he'd rather watch a presidential debate than Monday Night Football.
But in light of the most recent downfall of an American icon, I want to readdress the issue of cheating in sports through the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs, aka PEDs, or aka by me, Performance Equalizing Drugs.
Way back in June of 2009, I wrote: The term "performance enhancing" is a myth because athletes no longer take these substances to give them an advantage over their opponents. They are taking them so that they can keep up with their opponents. That's why the term "performance equalizing" is far more appropriate.
In that same column I wrote about Jose Canseco's claims regarding PED use, included some comments about Lance Armstrong, and revealed the three hard truths all sports fans had to face when dealing with PEDs:
1) Your favorite star is probably juicing, too.
2) Performance equalizing has been going on for a long, long time.
3) You can't blame the athletes for trying.
The final truth - you can't blame them for trying - is the one I think most sports fans still have a hard time dealing with because it is so counter to everything we learned on "Sesame Street," or the playground, or even in our lives of service. I certainly know Drill Sgt. Parler at Student Company wasn't PTing me into buying into the value of cheating.
And when we were growing up, what did our parents, teachers, coaches and role models always tell us?
"Cheaters never win."
Well, I think it is clear that in sports, cheaters not only win, they get paid and they become heroes. Don't believe me? Check out the following clips and notice the fans' reactions. Do you see the outrage? Listen to the announcers. Do you hear the disgust?
You may have noticed I threw in the Lance Armstrong commercial clip just to provide a bit of irony and to transition to the point that the athletes are not the only ones who need to cut the "holier than though" attitude.
Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, which stripped Armstrong of his wins and accomplishments, said "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling; he deserves to be forgotten in cycling."
Tough words, except that anybody that UIC would replace Armstrong with is probably cheating, too. Here's my proof: The seven titles the UIC took from Armstrong are going to be vacated and not handed down to anyone else because 20 of the 21 top-three finishers in those tours are also tied to doping -- 20 of 21!
And you can't blame any of those riders, or other athletes, for what they did. That's not to say you'd make the same decisions. But don't act as if you were in their shoes, you wouldn't at least think about going down their path.
You'd be silly not to because, what are the honest consequences? Jail? No. Loss of money? Probably not enough to put them in the poor house. Pride? Maybe for a while or until Honey Boo Boo does something newsworthy popwatch.ew.com/2012/10/23/honey-boo-boo-fakes-sleep-dr-drew/.
And as for our fan indignation, don't worry, it won't last forever. But even if it does, there will be another equalizer to cheer before you know it.
If you have comments on this or anything to do with sports, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Col. Brian P. Foley
Public Affairs Officer
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