Friday, January 11, 2008

Some Cheaters *TOTALLY* Win!

Oh the hypocrisy. Let me give a heads up that I am on the verge of a rant here. Nay, I *am* on a rant here.

Marion Jones just received a six month prison sentence for lying to investigators about using performance-enhancing drugs and her role in a check-fraud scam. Honestly, I am not familiar with the check-fraud aspect of things so will not comment on it here. I will, however, rail against the hypocrisy of the sentence for lying to investigators.

Let me clarify an important point before I rant further; no part of me has a problem with this sentence. Marion Jones flat out lied to Federal investigators. I cannot fully describe my disappointment in her. Perhaps it is my utter naiveté, but I believed she was clean. Chalk that up to my insane belief in our athletes. I believe that an athlete should go at it clean. If you cannot win clean, you cannot win. I should know all about that. In my almost 15-year swimming career I was generally number two. It is not an easy thing to accept, but I think it makes a person stronger to accept that. I never felt the need to either (1) make myself out into an athlete beyond what I was or (2) cheat to make myself into something I was not. Therefore, I have no patience for those who choose that route.

All the above said, Marion Jones used performance enhancing drugs. Strike one against her. Marion Jones lied to Federal investigators. Strike two against her. Marion Jones was silly enough to finally admit to it. Strike three against her.

Who among us doesn't know where I am going next? Need I say Barry Bonds? Seriously. Is he not obviously now and for many, many months (years?) in the past using performance enhancing drugs? Seriously. Is he not each and every day that passes lying to Federal investigators about this drug use? Wait, don't like the use of Barry in this? How about Roger Clemens? How about Floyd Landis? Justin Gatlin? Need I continue? (Okay, it was just called to my attention that I failed to include Lance Armstrong on this list. it is, although the little kid in me still tries to believe in him for some reason....refer to my above mentioned utter naiveté.)

Here is what amazes me. Marion Jones broke down. She felt the pressure that a high-profile athlete *should* feel. She felt the pressure of being a role model. I don't care what anyone raking in the professional dough says, a professional athlete is inherently, for better or worse in our society, a role model. Yes, Marion lied. Yes, she accepted the Olympic glory knowing full well it was tainted. Yes, it took a cascade of legal events before she would admit to the doping. However, no matter how long it took, at least she finally owned up to it. And now she is getting slammed with a jail sentence. Barry Bonds is still lying. Roger Clemens is still lying. Justin Gatlin apparently got a wide receiver try-out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even after receiving an eight year (now reduced...why?) sentence for proven doping.

So, have we learned the lesson yet? Women shouldn't be in sports anyway, right? When one makes a mistake, lies about it, then finally owns up to it we need to give them a jail sentence. Why? Because we know full well the men will not own up to it themselves. On the off chance that they do, we also know they will be "suspended" from the sport for a minuscule period of time (seriously...look up NFL suspensions for pot use).

I conclude my rant by sharing an excellent point Agincourt just made: Never, ever in a million years should anyone in their right mind (from the baseball community) seriously propose that baseball become an Olympic sport. Why? Because then it would be exposed to some of the most intense doping screening there is and then (and only then) would any number of U.S. baseball players be exposed for what they are...a bunch of lying cheats. So long as they are never in the Olympics they at least will be winners in their own minds if nothing else.


Anonymous said...

Hey guys,
MH latest post was picked up by NY times and I think he is being unfairly picked on. Can we show some support?

The guy is 1st week in surgery, he is just trying to cope.

PS. my paper was accepted.

Mächtige Maus said...

Hey now...where is the scintillating commentary on my rant? Poor me.

I did, however, put in my two cents at the ny blog.

Anonymous said...

Sorry MM,
It is difficult for me to comment on sports b/c the only
thing I know for sure about it is that I suck at it. But...
I do appreciate achievement, talent, and hard work and I can see it in Olympic athletes and it is beautiful. So I am disappointed in MJ for cheating. But prison sentence? That appears unnecessary harsh, especially considering that there is not that much reward for all the hard work in Olympics anyways. As far as commercial organized sports are concerned... I just try to ignore them. It appears to be one of these social constructs, like religion, that has no real value, at best is harmless, yet possesses some bizarre comforting power and therefore can not be gotten rid of.

Mächtige Maus said...

Ah! *Much* better! :)

I think more of her prison sentence came from the check-fraud, which I don't know anything about.

Some of the idea behind the sentence was deterrence. Now, I have previously stated (on a different post) that I am withholding my judgment of the death penalty because I think it is completely ineffective as a deterrent. Same goes here. No way does her 6 month prison sentence keep any other athlete from using performance enhancing drugs.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Hey Anonymous J. Katie - congrats on the paper! When do we celebrate?

Sadly, the only sports I have any knack for are Wii Sports. Doping is less of an issue for Mii's. The question of whether a prison sentence will act as a doping deterrent is interesting, though.

Oh, and MarkH's original post can be found here and is a better read than the NYT summary.

Anonymous said...

We will celebrate as soon as you guys come to visit!

I think that applying punishment selectively to the more vulnerable (MJ clearly has less clout than the baseball team) is not only a bad deterrent, but, in fact, quite despicable.

Mächtige Maus said...

Well, we can completely take out the concept of doping in sports and simply consider illicit drug use and still have a legitimate topic.

I disagree with the lack of reward from Olympic competition. Perhaps not so much in the U.S. (unless you consider the massive endorsements which definitely exist...Michael Phelps, the swimmer, for instance). However, other countries certainly reward their Olympic athletes handsomely.

We can't disregard that the prison sentence did not come from the doping, but rather the lying to Federal investigators...this hits on par with perjury.

What I find intriguing is that the person who has been put on the pedestal for this blatant lying is a woman (as opposed to any number of men that could have been chosen). Why is this so intriguing? Well, they chose to make a woman the "deterrent". As I have pointed out in previous blogs, women aren't given the same respect in sports to begin with at any level. Funny that we garner respect when it comes to a jail sentence.

Anonymous said...

Talking about cheating... Check out the following article - I am speechless - which may be good b/c I will not be able to spoil your surprise ...

La Pobre Habladora said...

Cutting and pasting the above did not work for me... can we get a summary?