Have The Steroid Crackdowns Cleaned Up Sports?
July 13, 2008
After the smoke cleared from the countless MLB and Tour De France news of athletes that tested positive to performance-enhancers, we all hoped sports would clean up its act. Did it? Ever since late 2004, players have been suspended, the sports press has had a field day, and we’ve all had our questions and accusations.
“Show me the test that says Bonds was clean!”
“Explain to me how McGwire got away from the hearing without saying a word!”
On March 15, 2005, Mark McGwire and other big players including Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling survived an eleven and a half hour hearing where members of the courtroom blamed and ridiculed them as well as several players that weren’t invited, including Barry Bonds — but as expected, all stuck to their previous statements and swore they weren’t on steroids while on the field. One of those in the audience was Jose Canseco, author of the book “Juiced” which claimed he had injected McGwire when they were teammates on the Oakland Athletics. But after those hearings and several other press conferences, baseball and its steroids issues gradually became fainter. Here we are in July 2008, right into the 08-09 season, and all you I can hear is loud crack of the bat, the thump of the ball hitting the glove and the crowd munching on those peanuts. Maybe baseball will never be the same as it was before it was juiced, and maybe it will never be perfect, but hopefully it will someday once be as it was meant to be…guys on a diamond playing some good ball.
Moving across the Atlantic, the Tour De France has had similar doping allegations thrown against them. Countless bikers have been accused, and tested positive for doping from blood tests. In 2006, Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was accused of purposely giving performance-enhancing drugs to over 200 athletes, allegedly including two of the race’s favorites, Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, who were expelled before the race started. One of the most famous and newsworthy accusations was from an Italian trainer who claimed he saw Lance Armstrong use doping substances, but a 132 page report by Dutch investigators and the World Anti-Doping Agency report says otherwise. It completely excused Armstrong from any allegations against him and with that he was clean in many cycle-enthusiast’s minds. During this year’s Tour De France, the race has been totally clean so far and one biking legend is coming back to the sport. Greg LeMond, who was the first American to win the tour in 86, has made his first full visit back to the famous race in 18 years, claiming the sport has cleaned itself up more.
Although sports will always have its big stories and its steroids, it looks like its slowly ambling on the right path back to redemption.