Kovacevic: How to temper audacity of dope
TribLIVE Sports Videos
This just in: Those guys in the NFL, all their hyper-chiseled physiques, all their hyper-speed healing of major injuries?
Some of that still happens through a hypodermic needle.
Or, um, antlers.
Those Major League Baseball players who hit the ball really far or throw it really hard?
Some of that still happens through nefarious means, too.
Sorry to be the bearer, but that's what stung the most about Tuesday's double-whammy of reports regarding Ray Lewis and Alex Rodriguez, isn't it?
It's not that they might or might not have done it. No, we're miles past that marker.
It's the fresh awareness that athletes everywhere still can .
Without fear of consequence.
Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that Lewis, the Ravens' marquee man since inception for better or worse, for innocent or hey-I-was-just-a-bystander, contacted a company called Sports with Alternatives to Steroids — SWATS, don't you know? — to seek help for the triceps he tore Oct. 13. The company's co-owner, Mitch Ross, told SI he recorded Lewis saying, “Just pile me up. Just send me everything you got because I got to get back this week.”
Sounds like someone terrified of being caught, huh?
Ross obliged in kind, per SI, by sending a deer antler spray, which contains an NFL-banned substance called IGF-1.
Lewis denied using the spray to reporters Tuesday in New Orleans, and he and the Ravens stated he never failed any of his random drug tests this season.
Do with that as you wish.
But also feel free to process that Lewis' injury should have ended his season, if not career. And yet, he's been back for the entire playoffs and, to boot, has been outrageously good with 44 tackles in three games.
Must be all that leadership everyone describes over the pianos and violins.
Rodriguez's case comes with a history.
He's an admitted cheater, admitted liar. In 2009, he openly confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03, even as he solemnly pledged he'd learned from his errors.
Then, Tuesday afternoon, presumably because we couldn't live without baseball taking a back seat to football on steroids, the Miami New Times reported Rodriguez was among nine players to have been treated by Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Florida, and that he continued to use steroids from 2009 — same year as the confession — right through last season.
He's denied the New Times' report, but what he can't deny is that, based on perception alone, fair or not, he can now formally kiss the Hall of Fame goodbye. He might have to kiss $114 million goodbye, too, if the Yankees can void his contract.
The only thing we know won't go away, regardless of how the Lewis/Rodriguez scenarios play out, is that athletes always will search for that extra edge. It'll continue no matter the testing, no matter the consequences. If they try in the Olympics, where athletes are borderline terrorized by anti-doping agents, they'll try anywhere. That's not sports. That's life.
But it doesn't mean the fight isn't worth fighting.
I've heard the suggestion that sports should just let everyone dope up as they wish, that this is the only path to a truly level playing field. This, of course, is ridiculous. No pastime is worth anyone's health, and the risks from steroids are documented to be devastating. Never mind the cultural impact on children.
No, it's got to be fought. And that can come through harsher suspensions and fines or even outright expulsion.
I've got another idea, too: Punish the teams.
Or, in the case of individual competition, their member federations.
Picture the reaction right now in Baltimore if Lewis had been nailed on this accusation and the result was that the Ravens had to forfeit their next game.
Yeah, that game.
Why should an NFL team go unpunished when college teams forfeit for tattoos?
As for the Yankees, who have been dragged down by as many doping storylines as any franchise in sports, what if they were forced to forfeit, say, 10 games?
All of a sudden, the pressure to stay clean at all costs wouldn't come just from the outside anymore. It would come from the teams' management and coaches and trainers, even their fellow players, who probably won't be too thrilled with that instant 10-game losing streak.
The culture that accepts cheating starts right there. Seems like a good place to stamp it down.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison shines again as Pirates clip Reds, 2-1
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- High school roundup: Greensburg Salem shocks Gateway in opener
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Franklin Regional security guard fighting to get job back
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Pitt’s obscure opener still matters
- DEP releases details of cases of drinking well contamination from drilling
- Gas drilling company withdraws application for forced pooling in Western Pennsylvania
- Trueman sparks North Allegheny’s 14-0 victory over Seneca Valley
- Pickup takes out 40-foot pine tree in Harrison; officer injured