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Friday, February 01, 2013

Simmons: Daring to Ask the PED Question

I believe that Ray Lewis cheated. I believe that to be true based on circumstantial evidence, his age, his overcompetitiveness, the history of that specific injury, and the fact that his “recovery” made my #### detector start vibrating like an iPhone.

I believe in my right to write the previous paragraph because athletes pushed us to this point. We need better drug testing. We need blood testing. We need biological passports. We need that stuff now. Not in three years. Not in two years. Now. I don’t even know what I am watching anymore.

I believe he may be over-reacting….

The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 05:50 PM | 84 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: peds, testing

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   1. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 01, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4360380)
Sports Fan Me has Googled athletes' heads and jawlines, studied their sizes, then mailed before/after pictures to friends with the subject heading, "CHECK THIS OUT."


Wow, that's like the most sad thing I've ever read.
   2. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4360383)

Wow, that's like the most sad thing I've ever read.


I submitted this article, too. And, frankly, I think Simmons comes a lot closer to what Joe Six Pack thinks than what the typical Primate might.

In my circle of friends (twenty and thirtysomethings in NYC), the "who's using" conversation is very, very normal speculation and is factored into our assessments for fantasy league purposes (you don't want someone who seems likely to fail a drug test, obviously.)
   3. thetailor Posted: February 01, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4360386)
I believe that to be true based on circumstantial evidence, his age, his overcompetitiveness, the history of that specific injury, and the fact that his "recovery" made my #### detector start vibrating like a chainsaw.

Did he change it from iPhone to chainsaw after it was published? Hm. Silly.

Anyway, this is spot on, and not an argument you hear a lot:
What's the difference between taking HGH and Toradol, anyway? What does the word "performance enhancer" really mean? It's OK to borrow a dead person's ligament to regain your 95-mph fastball, but it's not OK to boost your testosterone for those same results? It's OK to travel to Germany to inject stem cells into your damaged knee to stimulate recovery and regeneration, but it's not OK to replace your blood with better blood to increase your stamina?
   4. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 01, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4360390)
Seeing the list of single-season HR leaders gave me a sad.
   5. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4360400)
Seeing the list of single-season HR leaders gave me a sad.


The one I feel sad for is Sammy Sosa. The only player to hit more than 60 HR in 3 seasons, and in none of them did he set a record or lead the league!

   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4360401)
If everyone is secretly suspicious of so many athletic achievements in the 21st century, why aren't we talking about it?


Seriously? We're not talking about it? I would kill to watch sports coverage on a regular basis that didn't discuss this stuff.
   7. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4360402)
Look at Simmons, daring to ask the tough PED question that nobody else is talking about. What a trailblazer.

Edit: Coke to Jose.
   8. John Northey Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4360404)
Wonder how different it would've been for public perception if Bonds didn't reach 60 in 2001, but was walked intentionally another 20 times (lets say). Then only 2 guys would've cracked the magic number (multiple times each) and Bonds, while putting up otherworldly numbers, still might have been accepted since he didn't kill a popular record.

As to the drug testing, if you are going to do it then do it right - blood testing, this biological passport thing (no idea what that is) or whatever. Random tests year round, increased for guys who do something suspicious (such as Jose Bautista with the Jays - he has peed in more cups than the number of hits he has had in the past few years I bet) just to help keep it from growing into a 'no way that is real' situation. The NBA having a 4 test rule is a total joke - I had no idea but I also don't follow it closely - yet somehow they get off the hook while baseball is still being held to the fire. Last I knew the NHL doesn't even do testing but people still ignore it all. Like I said though, do it full out or skip it, Olympics or NHL level - just don't do the sugar coating method the NBA does.
   9. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4360409)
Theorizing: One of the PED-related problems MLB has, in comparison to the NFL, is image. People like to think their physical talents aren't that far removed from baseball players so "cheating" seems like an affront. With football players, though, there's no comparison so no one gets wound up.

Also, football fans not only are OK with the players destroying their bodies* for the good of the team, but the fans seem to expect players to destroy their bodies. Gotta play hurt and all that bullshit.

*-Thankfully, this attitude seems to be changing.
   10. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4360411)
Last I knew the NHL doesn't even do testing but people still ignore it all.


They've had drug testing since 2005, and the WADA testing every four years for the Olympics (and World Cup) caught at least one player I know of (Bryan Berard).
   11. DA Baracus Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:25 PM (#4360412)
People like to think their physical talents aren't that far removed from baseball players so "cheating" seems like an affront.


Other than fat ass pitchers (and even then people will acknowledge the fat ass pitcher can throw), I disagree with this. People hate cheating in baseball but tolerate it in other sports because of the romanticism of baseball.

They've had drug testing since 2005, and the WADA testing every four years for the Olympics (and World Cup) caught at least one player I know of (Bryan Berard).


Jose Theodore for Propecia.
   12. dr. scott Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4360421)
People like to think their physical talents aren't that far removed from baseball players so "cheating" seems like an affront.


Other than fat ass pitchers (and even then people will acknowledge the fat ass pitcher can throw), I disagree with this. People hate cheating in baseball but tolerate it in other sports because of the romanticism of baseball.



I would guess its more like of the major sports, baseball players look more like the average athletic guy, than the average athletic guy seriously thinks they are not far removed talent wise, but there is probably some overlap. Some of the romanticism of baseball comes from this id wager.
   13. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4360423)
Anyway, this is spot on, and not an argument you hear a lot:


I've been making that argument for at least five years now.
   14. dr. scott Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4360424)
Oh, and biological Passport is a method that cycling uses to track blood values of cyclist. Even if they dont fial a test, if they see abnormal changes in the values, it can trigger either more focussed testing, or a ban if enough experts agree. The bans, however, have been hard to uphold on appeal than standard analytical findings.
   15. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4360427)
caught at least one player I know of (Bryan Berard).

I would've cut him a break for nearly losing his eye.
   16. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4360428)
Seriously? We're not talking about it? I would kill to watch sports coverage on a regular basis that didn't discuss this stuff.


Preach it brother.
   17. Blastin Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4360429)
And, frankly, I think Simmons comes a lot closer to what Joe Six Pack thinks than what the typical Primate might.


And Joe Six Pack is dumb.

Excuse me while I go look at Gifs of the Week.
   18. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4360430)
Seriously? We're not talking about it? I would kill to watch sports coverage on a regular basis that didn't discuss this stuff.


Actually, Simmons is doing something bigger and better than rehashing the PED-in-baseball conversation we (fans) have been having here for years. He's doing an accounting of the disconnect between what fans do, and what sports journalists do when the cameras are not rolling, vs what the sportswriters do when they're on the clock. The first half of this column is a deadly needed bit of introspection that asks "why am I, Bill Simmons, famous sportswriter for ESPN, too scared to discuss the obvious things that I talk to death outside the office, while on the clock?" Kudos to him for writing this. More of the industry needs to grapple with the fact that the nut brigades at Baseball Think Factory have more in depth, nuanced and informative conversations about PEDs in sports than do the men paid to be "journalists" on the subject.
   19. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4360432)
I would guess its more like of the major sports, baseball players look more like the average athletic guy, than the average athletic guy seriously thinks they are not far removed talent wise, but there is probably some overlap. Some of the romanticism of baseball comes from this id wager.


You'd think cheating in golf would be a huge issue based on this.

I am an average quasi-athletic looking dude and I look nothing like Justin Upton, let alone Aaron Hill or even Matt Williams.

(I had front row seats right next to the third base dugout entrance at Camelback last year, hence my comparisons.)
   20. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4360434)
He's doing an accounting of the disconnect between what fans do, and what sports journalists do when the cameras are not rolling, vs what the sportswriters do when they're on the clock.
This also applies to political pundits. Remember when Peggy Noonan was caught unawares with a hot mic, and she trashed McCain's pick of Palin?
Noonan's blunt call contrasted with her conflicted column today saying Palin "could become a transformative political presence."
   21. DA Baracus Posted: February 01, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4360436)
The first half of this column is a deadly needed bit of introspection that asks "why am I, Bill Simmons, famous sportswriter for ESPN, too scared to discuss the obvious things that I talk to death outside the office, while on the clock?" Kudos to him for writing this.


He's not asking anything new. No kudos for him. Or maybe he is and I missed it because I couldn't finish the article because he wasn't making any new points.
   22. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4360443)
Actually, Simmons is doing something bigger and better than rehashing the PED-in-baseball conversation we (fans) have been having here for years. He's doing an accounting of the disconnect between what fans do, and what sports journalists do when the cameras are not rolling, vs what the sportswriters do when they're on the clock. The first half of this column is a deadly needed bit of introspection that asks "why am I, Bill Simmons, famous sportswriter for ESPN, too scared to discuss the obvious things that I talk to death outside the office, while on the clock?" Kudos to him for writing this. More of the industry needs to grapple with the fact that the nut brigades at Baseball Think Factory have more in depth, nuanced and informative conversations about PEDs in sports than do the men paid to be "journalists" on the subject.


Isn't elite opinion almost always watered down/simplified/condensed/contorted when presented to the public via mass consumption? It's not as if USA Today is going to print something as analytic as Fangraphs or some other elite source. Ditto for whatever Fangraphs' politics/economics/philosophy counterparts are.
   23. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4360445)
Although none if this exactly constitutes a groundbreaking opinion, it is good that someone with Simmons' platform is actually publicly saying these things, as others have alluded to. I suppose it would have been brave 10 years ago; when it happens now we collectively roll our eyes. It still needed to happen.
   24. dr. scott Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4360447)
You'd think cheating in golf would be a huge issue based on this.



I just assumed its because Golf fans were all rich elite people who cheated to get where they are anyway....

<ducks>
   25. Bob Tufts Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4360450)
As for golf, didn't the decline from Olympus for Woods start when the PGA started drug testing?

   26. madvillain Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4360453)
Simmons is actually asking the tough questions that most of the MSM have ignored. What constitutes a PED? What constitutes a PED worth banning? Why is a cortisone shot standard procedure but other steroids are taboo? These are tough questions that BTF has discussed many times but that hardly ever get discussed by the people that matter -- the opinion makers in the msm and the rules makers in the major American sports leagues.

Nobody wants to face the music that you can't just put everything in two easily defined categories of "oh that's not a PED" and "oh that's obviously a PED". The sooner we face up to this fact (and by we I mean as a serious society) then we can actually get to the real work of figuring out what we should ban and what we should allow.

   27. Bhaakon Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4360454)
Isn't elite opinion almost always watered down/simplified/condensed/contorted when presented to the public via mass consumption? It's not as if USA Today is going to print something as analytic as Fangraphs or some other elite source. Ditto for whatever Fangraphs' politics/economics/philosophy counterparts are.


I think there's more to it than that, though. If you recall a few years ago when a blogger made basically the same point about Raul Ibanez (though not quite, because the blogger set out to argue that Ibanez's stellar half season could be explained without PEDs), seemingly half the BBWAA went on TV acting scandalized that a player's reputation was impugned with only speculative evidence.

I think that there are still a lot of journalists who think it's unprofessional and ethically wrong to speculate in print (even if they're less likely to call out a fellow media member than a random fan blogger).
   28. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4360455)
As for golf, didn't the decline from Olympus for Woods start when the PGA started drug testing?


This may be true, but Tiger was one of the few who stood out as looking more athletic than Joe Six Pack.

(I watch about 12 minutes of golf per decade, so don't quote me.)
   29. Ebessan Posted: February 01, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4360457)
You're on the list because our President claims to be a big sports fan but refuses to get involved, and apparently would rather see every sport go to hell over risking political capital and doing something about it.


I'm sorry, but that sentence is a complete embarrassment.
   30. madvillain Posted: February 01, 2013 at 09:02 PM (#4360458)
I'm sorry, but that sentence is a complete embarrassment.


It really is. Because when Bush had PEDs in the SOTU and Congress had a hearing on it that really cleaned everything up. It's up to the sports leagues to regulate themselves, they have the incentive, they have the means -- not the feds.
   31. The District Attorney Posted: February 01, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4360469)
Wow, Simmons talks a lot about how a "Presidential sports czar" needs to do this and that, but I always assumed he was being tongue-in-cheek. Guess not.

I'm really surprised that folks here would think that Simmons contributes to the discussion with this. It's not like he's suggesting having a conversation about the nature of drug use and athletic competition. He's almost making a threat: suggesting that either athletes agree to the most technologically advanced drug testing available, or else if they don't, reporters should start speculating "looks to me like so-and-so does PED" on the record.
   32. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: February 01, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4360474)
I'm sorry, but that sentence is a complete embarrassment.

Yeah, this sentence is stupid.

The rest of the article is not. I think he correctly identifies the crazy way the media currently treats PEDs. During normal, day-to-day coverage of sports they don't talk about them publicly. Then, when someone uncovers evidence of an athlete using PEDs it's treated as an aberration and the athlete is blacklisted. It both undersells the extent of the PED problem (assuming you think it's a problem) and overpunishes the athletes who get caught. Moreover, the media does privately speculate about who's using and acts on those speculations when it comes to things like the HOF. Better to speculate out in the open, maybe that way we can come up with semi-coherent and enforceable guidelines.

FWIW, I think most fans treat PEDs the way they treat most other things. It's a bad thing when a guy on the other team does it but understandable when it's my team. For instance, I think Roger Clemens is a dirty unrepentant cheater but Barry Bonds is a tragic figure who only turned to PEDs when his magnificent talents weren't properly recognized.

   33. Walt Davis Posted: February 01, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4360479)
baseball players look more like the average athletic guy

Yeah, but the standard Joe Public criterion for "gotta be roiding" is that the guy doesn't look like an average athletic guy. There's just no way any rational person could think Bonds's body was impossible while 240-lb linebackers can run 4.4 40s.

And the question of "how old are people"? I graduated high school in 1979 and the #1 overall NFL pick that year was Tom Cousineau who was 6'3" and 225 ... OK, I was only 6' but I matched the weight. :-) A guy named Mike Douglass played LB at 6' 220 (well, assuming I can kinda trust those numbers). Mike Webster, a center, was 6'1" 255 so all I needed to do was get in shape and put on some muscle. Ottis Anderson was 6'2" 200, Ted Brown was 5'10" 206.

Sure, if you were under 6 foot and weren't packing 200 pounds, you had a hard time relating physically to a football player I suppose. But there were some linebackers and some centers and certainly RB, WR, DBs who were "my size" or smaller.

It wasn't always the case that football players were this absolutely massive yet fast freaks -- that's happened in my adulthood and NFL fans didn't freak out about it one bit. Similarly the NBA used to be a place where a 6'5" guy would have been huge at point guard and might even play power forward to where 7 foot guys are putting the ball on the floor and NBA fans didn't seem to freak out about that. Here's a pic of old Bulls backup guard Bob Weiss ... your accountant could post him up.
   34. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: February 01, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4360488)
Sports Fan Me has Googled athletes' heads and jawlines, studied their sizes, then mailed before/after pictures to friends with the subject heading, "CHECK THIS OUT."


They did this on Glee last week to prove that the preppy kids were taking steroids to help them with their glee clubbing. Maybe Simmons watched that episode.
   35. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4360495)
Also, football fans not only are OK with the players destroying their bodies* for the good of the team, but the fans seem to expect players to destroy their bodies. Gotta play hurt and all that ########.


Something none of the media wags paid much attention to was the massive proliferation of PEDs, specifically anabolic steroids, in professional boxing in the 1990s. There were a number of outstanding, singular talents making their cases for all-time greatness during that decade, and the majority of them have been linked to "the juice" with hardly a hiccup of media attention. Names like Tyson, Holyfield, Jones Jr, Mosley, Toney, and plenty of others are mentioned, and even the current heavyweight champions of the world, the Klitschko Brothers, admitted to having taken steroids when they were younger (purported before they turned pro, color me skeptical). Just recently Floyd Mayweather, arguably the only widely-recognizable boxer in the world now, said the following:

"People talk about steroids in football, and what’s going on in baseball, but I’m telling you, it’s going on in boxing. I know the sport. I’m in the gyms, guys are talking, guys are using this stuff. A lot of guys. It’s pretty bad, a lot worse than anyone knows or realizes. It’s why I’m afraid to fight certain people. These guys don’t know what they’re sticking into themselves, but I’ll never use. I’m telling ’roids are in boxing and a lot of these guys are using. You should do a story on that!"


But nobody cares or has ever cared about boxers' health.
   36. Boxkutter Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4360504)
They did this on Glee last week to prove that the preppy kids were taking steroids to help them with their glee clubbing. Maybe Simmons watched that episode.


Did you just admit to watching "Glee"?
   37. HowardMegdal Posted: February 02, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4360532)
I think this is a very interesting piece. As others have mentioned above, the gap between the information many journalists have/what they believe, and what they present, is often stark.
But what think is particularly interesting here is how fundamental that problem is for Bill Simmons himself. After all, he didn't rise to his current position by passing himself off as an expert (though I find him quite knowledgeable, particularly on basketball). He's the guy who tells you what he really thinks. That's his thing. And to a large extent, Simmons is struggling with the battle between the external media pressures on a guy like him (greater, I'm sure, at the WWL) and the very essence of why he is where he is today (candor/perceived candor).
It's problematic for an MLB beat guy every time he hedges on info to protect a player, or to make the six months of traveling with the team easier (and get a phone call a few minutes earlier about the next trade). But mostly, that's problematic for us, because we get inaccurate/incomplete info. Not for the beat guy.
But for Simmons? It cuts directly to his writing identity. I give him credit for attacking this problem head-on, even if I don't agree entirely with his conclusions. Ultimately, for instance, my belief in the paragraph quoted in 3 as making such distinctions largely irrelevant leaves me simply preferring less talk about the "PED problem", not more.
Still, I'm glad he wrote this.
   38. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4360536)
But nobody cares or has ever cared about boxers' health.

Not only do they not care, but Mayweather is accused of ducking Pacquiao because he wanted stronger testing.
   39. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:28 AM (#4360540)
Why is a cortisone shot standard procedure but other steroids are taboo?


Vitamin D is a steroid. Why isn't fortified milk considered a PED?

The answer is that the only thing that corticosteroids and anabolic steroids have in common is the sterane backbone. There may be plenty of tough questions in this debate, but this isn't one of them.
   40. Tripon Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:41 AM (#4360544)
38. AJM Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4360536)
But nobody cares or has ever cared about boxers' health.

Not only do they not care, but Mayweather is accused of ducking Pacquiao because he wanted stronger testing.


And then Mayweather wouldn't agree to undergo the same testing that he wanted Pacquiao to go though. It was a dodge, though and though.
   41. Tripon Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4360549)
Also, the people who want PEDs totally out of sports are acting much like the 9/11 truthers and Birthers.
   42. madvillain Posted: February 02, 2013 at 02:12 AM (#4360553)
The answer is that the only thing that corticosteroids and anabolic steroids have in common is the sterane backbone. There may be plenty of tough questions in this debate, but this isn't one of them.


You're missing the forest for the tree. PED -- performance enhancing drug. If you take a shot, and it numbs the pain so much so that you can go out and hit a homer and trot the bases -- well that's a pretty nice performance enhancer.

The contrast has nothing to do with the chemistry of it, but everything to do with the actual effects.

This ish is hard to figure, that's the point.
   43. zack Posted: February 02, 2013 at 02:26 AM (#4360555)
Don't those "biological passports" in cycling include tracking every rider's whereabouts at all times? I seem to recall Skeletor Rasmussen getting kicked out of the sport for 2 years simply for lying about where he was training.
   44. smileyy Posted: February 02, 2013 at 02:40 AM (#4360557)
[42] It's more than numbing the pain -- its reducing inflammtion (which is almost always the cause of pain). Where's the line between reducing inflammation to recover from an injury, and stimulating muscle growth to recover from an injury, or to recover from constant wear and tear?
   45. sunnyday2 Posted: February 02, 2013 at 03:09 AM (#4360561)
This is a great article. And to me it's greatness is pretty much captured in this paragraph.


Sadly, the collective irresponsibility of some sports media members — call it "cornballbrotheritis" — ruined any rational media member's chances to question the current environment. You don't trust our ability to handle such a loaded subject, nor should you. We've ruined your trust too many times.


To me, in the baseball world, as someone for whom the Hall of Fame has always been a very central part of my interest, it comes down exactly to this. Do you support the sportswriters, the BBWAA? Or do you support those accused of (or proven) of PED use?

And my answer is that sportswriters are so utterly lacking in moral authority that I will admire the alleged PED users more every time I read a rant against them by the moral midgets who make up the sportswriting profession.

Here is a writer who gets it. Great article.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 02, 2013 at 08:06 AM (#4360579)
Actually, Simmons is doing something bigger and better than rehashing the PED-in-baseball conversation we (fans) have been having here for years. He's doing an accounting of the disconnect between what fans do, and what sports journalists do when the cameras are not rolling, vs what the sportswriters do when they're on the clock. The first half of this column is a deadly needed bit of introspection that asks "why am I, Bill Simmons, famous sportswriter for ESPN, too scared to discuss the obvious things that I talk to death outside the office, while on the clock?" Kudos to him for writing this. More of the industry needs to grapple with the fact that the nut brigades at Baseball Think Factory have more in depth, nuanced and informative conversations about PEDs in sports than do the men paid to be "journalists" on the subject.
All kinds of this.

I don't agree with all of Simmons' conclusions, but I think the key to appreciating the article is seeing that the "we" he writes about aren't sports fans, they're sports journalists.
   47. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 02, 2013 at 08:25 AM (#4360581)
Do you support the sportswriters, the BBWAA? Or do you support those accused of (or proven) of PED use?

Meteor.
   48. bfan Posted: February 02, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4360582)
I also think this is a great article. He also hits on the notion that he have been so sensitized to not pre-judging, that we now leave our common sense at the door when it comes at looking at what is happening and reaching logical conclusions.
   49. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 02, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4360589)
You're missing the forest for the tree. PED -- performance enhancing drug. If you take a shot, and it numbs the pain so much so that you can go out and hit a homer and trot the bases -- well that's a pretty nice performance enhancer.


No, I'm not missing anything. You just don't understand enough medicine or biology to know what you're talking about. And I'm also guessing that you've never had a cortisone shot yourself. Coritsone is an anti-inflammatory, not an analgesic. They add lidocaine to the injection mostly to know that they got the needle in the right place. Do you want to ban Nolan Ryan's Advil too? How about an athlete waking up with a headache? Is tylenol a PED for that guy on that day?

The contrast has nothing to do with the chemistry of it, but everything to do with the actual effects.


The actual effects are a direct consequence of the chemistry. You're lumping together effects that are actually enormously different. And the differences are not at all hard to understand with a little bit of common sense. There are grey areas, of course, but that doesn't mean that everything is a grey area. And I say this as someone who pretty much doesn't give a crap about PEDis in baseball or any other professional sport.

Now, there is a good argument to be had about why we allow (and even encourage) athletes to have multiple injections in the same joint over a short period of time so that they can play before an injury is healed, but that doesn't seem to be the argument you're making.

Where's the line between reducing inflammation to recover from an injury, and stimulating muscle growth to recover from an injury, or to recover from constant wear and tear?


That's a better question, but it is not at all the same question as "why prednisone but not stanozolol?" People don't take anabolic steroids to recover from injury.

   50. Adam B. Posted: February 02, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4360590)
It's slightly different problems for sports journalists versus political pundits. The former group doesn't want to risk losing access to the players; while access is an issue for politicos, the bigger "problem" is that we have a political culture in which pundits don't want to be seen as undermining their own side by laying out its weaknesses.
   51. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: February 02, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4360594)
Did you just admit to watching "Glee"?


Sadly, yes. Felt it was worth it to take a dig at Simmons/steroid-mania. Of course, in Glee, you CAN prove your claims against another group of high school singers and dancers by looking at their heads. My girlfriend doesn't even like it any more, but watches it out of some sense of loyalty. I guess.
   52. smileyy Posted: February 02, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4360607)
People don't take anabolic steroids to recover from injury.


They don't?
   53. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: February 02, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4360641)
No, I'm not missing anything. You just don't understand enough medicine or biology to know what you're talking about. And I'm also guessing that you've never had a cortisone shot yourself. Coritsone is an anti-inflammatory, not an analgesic. They add lidocaine to the injection mostly to know that they got the needle in the right place. Do you want to ban Nolan Ryan's Advil too? How about an athlete waking up with a headache? Is tylenol a PED for that guy on that day?

It's hard to believe that you could write all this without understanding that this IS the point, but well...
   54. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: February 02, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4360653)


And Joe Six Pack is dumb.

Excuse me while I go look at Gifs of the Week.


P'shaw. P'shaw, I say! Primates are on the very far right end of the fandom bell curve. Joe Six Pack isn't. Joe Six Pack isn't necessarily dumb, but he's almost certainly less invested in the complexities of any PED issue.

Joe Six Pack is also an extremely important demographic. Once Joe Six Pack decides boxing will turn his kid into Ali, he's not going to let his kid pick up the gloves. 20 years later, Joe Six Pack will stop watching fights because there aren't any good heavyweights left.* We're starting to see that with football and CTE. Think Buckley vs Valeo: the primary purpose of anti-doping efforts is to prevent the appearance of corruption. This is all about the real AND imagined integrity of the game.

The PED conversation is maturing, even for Joe Six Pack. The dividing line appears to be "enabling" vs "enhancing". Joe Six Pack doesn't care that Andy Pettitte or Ray Lewis took something of questionable legality and potency to get over an arm injury (why he'd ever believe that crock is another story....) Joe Six Pack sure as #### cares when championships are won and records are set by dopers because the integrity of the competition is at stake and, wrt baseball in particular, Joe Six Pack holds baseball to a higher standard (as well he should. It's got an anti-trust exemption, after all.)

Simmons is right-on. It's time we really bring this whole mess into daylight and respond to changing circumstances. PED speculation is already a part of our discourse and a new kind of PED use is becoming a standard part of American life. Our general discourse would probably benefit from more honest sportswriting. It would help us understand and fuse what might seem, especially to Joe Six Pack, to be otherwise disparate narratives (why middle aged men can see a doc for "low T" but a ballplayer can't engage in similar therapeutic use.)

*Yes, this is a gross oversimplification.
   55. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: February 02, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4360659)
Wow, Simmons talks a lot about how a "Presidential sports czar" needs to do this and that, but I always assumed he was being tongue-in-cheek. Guess not.

I'm really surprised that folks here would think that Simmons contributes to the discussion with this. It's not like he's suggesting having a conversation about the nature of drug use and athletic competition. He's almost making a threat: suggesting that either athletes agree to the most technologically advanced drug testing available, or else if they don't, reporters should start speculating "looks to me like so-and-so does PED" on the record.


A few points to this:

a) I realize this is an unpopular opinion on this site, but so long as taxpayers build stadiums and baseball enjoys an anti-trust exemption, I think government absolutely has a role in ensuring that controlled substances aren't being used for off-label purposes contrary to the inherit bargain engaged in by the taxpayer: that in exchange for these funds, professional sports leagues will promote athleticism and competition with integrity, and integrity includes "clean" ballplayers. There was a systematic failure in this regard.

b) Simmons is precisely encouraging "a conversation about the nature of drug use and athletic competition." He's also encouraging sportswriters, who essentially act as stewards of that conversation, to behave more honestly and he's calling himself out to start.
   56. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: February 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4360662)
God help me, I actually agree nearly 100% with Stabby Neckulus on something.

This is one of the more courageous sports pieces I've seen in quite some time. Just by writing this, he is taking a serious risk that half the athletes that might have talked to him before won't walk to talk to him now.

And please, nobody here should flatter themselves by comparing this article to the so-called "conversation" that has been going on around here for the last decade. Simmons actually has an audience and some real cachet within the industry; the BTF Nut Brigade is completely irrelevant.
   57. The District Attorney Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4360684)
so long as taxpayers build stadiums and baseball enjoys an anti-trust exemption, I think government absolutely has a role in ensuring that controlled substances aren't being used for off-label purposes contrary to the inherit bargain engaged in by the taxpayer: that in exchange for these funds, professional sports leagues will promote athleticism and competition with integrity, and integrity includes "clean" ballplayers.
Mmm. I do think there should be testing, but unless it's in the context of an intractable labor dispute over the issue, I'm reluctant to get the government involved in it. The argument that the government pays for the stadium can easily prove too much. Paying for stadiums should logically give the government a seat at the table when it comes to team/league economic issues. I don't see why it should give the government power over the rules of play.

Hopefully you'd agree, though, that the reason Obama doesn't get involved in sports PED issues is not because he "isn't a real sports fan." Who knows whether he is... all politicians pretend to be... I suspect that he actually is (and GWB sure was). But in any event, he could be the world's biggest sports fan and still not think it was the President's problem, based on his opinion of what the government can and should be worried about.

Simmons is precisely encouraging "a conversation about the nature of drug use and athletic competition."
Just totally disagree here. Someone said earlier that the thing about the President was the dumbest thing in the article, but the dumbest thing in the article actually is this:
athletes pushed us to this point
Which couldn't be any more incorrect. And by coming from that starting point, naturally Simmons' conclusions are also then wrong.

Simmons is not saying that there are two or more sides to the issue. He's saying there is one side -- PED-using athletes are destroying sports -- and therefore, we need to publicly shame them until they agree to let us (quoting here):
see what's in everyone's body, once and for all
I am phrasing it a little dramatically there, and I don't even think Simmons is thinking about it that way himself, but in terms of consequences, that's what the man is suggesting. Quoting again:
Don't hide behind your players unions and allow your player reps to fight against better drug testing, then flip out if Jalen Rose and I decide to have an impromptu "Who's On Your 'I Need To See You Pee In A Cup' Team This Year?" podcast... The goal should be simple: total transparency. Every American professional league should have the best possible testing. Period. And if athletes don't think it's fair … well, I don't think it's fair that some of them cheat. So there.
I am really not seeing that as an invitation to delve into the subtleties of this issue.
   58. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4360685)
realize this is an unpopular opinion on this site, but so long as taxpayers build stadiums and baseball enjoys an anti-trust exemption, I think government absolutely has a role in ensuring that controlled substances aren't being used for off-label purposes contrary to the inherit bargain engaged in by the taxpayer:

Even if I bought this line -- I don't, it would be no different than drug-testing anybody in a public school, drug testing anyone that received social security or took a deduction for mortgage interest, or eliminating the need for probable cause in searching cars driving on public roads -- that would be an argument for drug-testing owners or putting them under some increased scrutiny, not players. No players are given the stadiums, are named on the stadium lease, or made any negotiation with government to this effect. That the owners will frequently use a portion of that revenue to pay players is immaterial, I'm sure they're also buying real estate, fancy cars, and vacations, and making investments in other businesses, but that's not an argument to put Loria's real estate agent, car vendor, preferred airline, or companies that Loria invests in under heightened scrutiny.
   59. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4360686)
It's hard to believe that you could write all this without understanding that this IS the point, but well...


Talking about continua and grey areas and all that is fine. But pretending that there aren't also glaringly obvious differences between two points that are miles apart on any reasonably drawn line doesn't exactly enhance one's argument. That's what I was objecting to, as I stated pretty explicitly.

Joe Six Pack is also an extremely important demographic. Once Joe Six Pack decides boxing will turn his kid into Ali, he's not going to let his kid pick up the gloves. 20 years later, Joe Six Pack will stop watching fights because there aren't any good heavyweights left.*


Gross oversimplification or not, how worried do we suppose Roger Goodell is about this in the long term?

Just by writing this, he is taking a serious risk that half the athletes that might have talked to him before won't walk to talk to him now.


Seems like he's taking a bigger risk that his half of his colleagues won't talk to him any more. Anyway, he's not a beat writer; his job doesn't really depend on access in the same way. That's not a criticism; just pointing out that he's in a better position to do this than many other sportswriters would be.
   60. asinwreck Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4360688)
My question to Simmons is exactly how clean he thought the sports he grew up watching in the 70s and 80s were. Given the distribution of steroids and amphetamines at the time, why would Larry Bird, John Hannah, and, um, the quick to anger, quick to return from a shoulder injury young Roger Clemens be above suspicion?
   61. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4360709)
And I'm also guessing that you've never had a cortisone shot yourself.

I have. It was definitely performance enhancing.
   62. Zach Posted: February 02, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4360711)
We look the other way when hardcore evidence emerges that the NCAA is just as corrupt and dishonest as some of the shadier coaches it's policing.

If he's talking about the Frank Haith thing, what manner of corruption does he mean? Suddenly dropping an airtight case days before its conclusion is about as suspicious as it gets.
   63. Zach Posted: February 02, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4360728)
On the subject of suspiciously dropped investigations, a US attorney dropped the case against Lance Armstrong days before an indictment, after approximately everyone who had ever interacted with Armstrong in any way had lined up to testify.

Corruption begets corruption.
   64. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 02, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4360757)
I actually think this is the dumbest thing in the article:

I believe we need to fix this disconnect between our private conversations and our public ones.


There's a very good reason that the standards for public conversations are different from those for private ones, especially people who are publishing in a very public forum, as Simmons is. He can say whatever he wants to his buddies after a couple of beers; he can accuse Ray Lewis of anything he wants in that forum. But if he's going to do so publicly, he needs to adhere to higher standards of evidence and fairness.

If he's going to publicly accuse Ray Lewis of using PEDs, he has the obligation of talking to Lewis about the situation. Maybe there have been advances in the kind of surgery Lewis had, that allow him to heal more quickly than other people with similar injuries. Maybe Lewis' injury wasn't as severe as those suffered by the people Lewis compares him to. I have no idea if any of this is true, but I doubt Simmons does either. I don't think he wants to work that hard, and I'm sure he doesn't want to have Ray Lewis screaming at him.

If you extend his logic to other areas, you see that he can't possibly be serious about this. I'm sure sportswriters were conjecturing about why the Cubs traded Rafael Palmeiro. Should they have written public columns about that? "Did Cindy the Slut Send Palmeiro Packing?" (It's OK if you just ask the question. You're not accusing anyone of anything, you know?) Or about the famous fight between Cal Ripken and Kevin Costner? By Simmons' logic, they should have.

If Simmons wants sportswriters to be cover PEDs more responsibly, he should be encouraging to report on the topic more seriously. Encouraging sportswriters to publish their drunken banter based on rumors and conjecture is asking them to be more irresponsible.
   65. madvillain Posted: February 02, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4360799)
It's hard to believe that you could write all this without understanding that this IS the point, but well...


Yea, right? It's not about the ####### chemistry (sorry Walt White) it's about the results. My examples of the cortisone shot and anabolic steroids had nothing to do with the medical science and everything to with their inherent shared property of being PEDs for athletes, regardless of how they arrive at their affect.


   66. Darren Posted: February 02, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4360805)
Simmons, Daring to Ask the Steroid Question about the guy who's team just beat my team!
   67. Grunthos Posted: February 02, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4360812)
My question to Simmons is exactly how clean he thought the sports he grew up watching in the 70s and 80s were.

He has been pretty clear elsewhere that he understands this point. He's not writing about a dichotomy between a pure past and a decadent present, but rather the combined effect of A) a much larger variety of biological "enhancements" being available to athletes, B) the intense aggregation of wealth at the top end of major sports, and C) a vast increase in the interpenetration between sports, media, and the life of Joe Six-Pack.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: February 03, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4360959)
Joe Six Pack holds baseball to a higher standard (as well he should. It's got an anti-trust exemption, after all.)

Wait. Joe Six Pack can't grasp the "subtleties" of the PED debate but he's familiar with the nuance of baseball's anti-trust exemption? I'd be stunned if more than 5% of the population even knows baseball has an anti-trust exemption and almost none of that 5% would be able to put any sort of rational value on that exemption. The notion that baseball's anti-trust exemption has anything to do with why it and football are viewed differently by the general public is one of the sillier things we've seen on this site.

On performance enhancement:

Really, it's not hard. Player walks into the locker room with the current ability to perform at level X. Player receives treatment A and is now able to perform at level X + Y. Treatment A is a "performance enhancer" if Y>0.

This is useful. It makes it clear that the debate is not about performance ehnahcement. It is about several things:

a) "natural". Spending time in a batting cage or working on your pickoff move with the pitching coach are presumably performance enhancements. So is standard run-of-the-mill weightlifting, nutrition, etc. These are (rightly) considered "natural" or just part of "regular training" or what have you. Nobody is concerned about this but they are performance enhancers.

b) So widely accepted in general society they might as well be "natural." Glasses and contacts for example. At this stage, Lasik surgery is common enough to fall into this category. Standard, over-the-counter Advil and caffeine fall here.

c) Repairs. Surgery and rehab.

d) Accepted for no good reason. Greenies prior to 2005, spitballs, scuffed balls, corked bats.

e) Ewww, the East German women's swimmers look like men and people are injecting themselves with stuff.

The debate about "what is a performance enhancer (that should be banned)" is really around why something should fall under (e), not (d). As we move forward, we might get more into (c) as surgical enhancements arise. The question raised earlier is whether painkillers and anti-inflammatories should count as (c) or (d). I'd argue this depends a lot on how they're being used but, as they're used in sports to my knowledge, they fall under (d). If pitchers get cortisone shots on a regular basis, if Clemens is popping Vioxx in-between starts, if Jim McMahon is getting an injection on the sideline in the middle of a game, that is beyond "standard medical use." That is "doing everything we can to get this guy out there today in a state where he can perform and to hell with the consequences."

To clarify, my one cortisone experience. I have a spur in my heel that acts up on occasion. Usually it would just act up, cause me problems for a few days, I'd stay off it as much as possible for a few days, and everything would be fine. This one time though it just didn't stop and it was getting to the point where I could hardly walk at all. So the doctor gave me a shot of cortisone.

So, my heel was inflamed. Of course, every time I had to walk on it, it aggravated the inflammation. It had gotten to the point that standard "lay off it as much as possible" wasn't gonna work. To "get better", the inflammation had to be dealt with. Cortisone and laying off it as much as possible did the trick.

That, of course, is not the same as "Vioxx and give us 6 innings" or cortisone the day after every start in hopes you'll be able to go 4 days later.

Meanwhile, "my shoulder hurts" then "OK, we'll put you on the DL and hope it clears up -- here's some cortisone to relieve the inflammation in the meantime and 2 days of painkillers so you can get some sleep" would seem fine assuming 2+ weeks of rest might actually "cure" the shoulder.

One of Ray's arguments is that roids, HGH, etc use will become sufficiently widespread in society for "anti-aging" purposes that eventually they'll fall somewhere in the (c) and (d) range. I suspect they've been sufficiently demonized in sports that it won't happen that way.

Anyway, the mystery is why some things fall under (d) while similar things fall under (e). It's not about performance enhancement. It's not about "natural", it's not about general societal use. What is wrong about a cyclist injecting himself with his own red blood cells? What is wrong with using steroids to assist with rebuilding muscle after surgery? If steroids allow a player to extend his career by a few years at little/no health risk (or with informed consent to that health risk), why would that be wrong? Painkillers extend careers, scuffed balls extend careers, greenies surely extended careers so the issue isn't about "artificially" extending one's career.
   69. Russ Posted: February 03, 2013 at 07:35 AM (#4360973)

Anyway, the mystery is why some things fall under (d) while similar things fall under (e). It's not about performance enhancement. It's not about "natural", it's not about general societal use. What is wrong about a cyclist injecting himself with his own red blood cells? What is wrong with using steroids to assist with rebuilding muscle after surgery? If steroids allow a player to extend his career by a few years at little/no health risk (or with informed consent to that health risk), why would that be wrong? Painkillers extend careers, scuffed balls extend careers, greenies surely extended careers so the issue isn't about "artificially" extending one's car


I agree 100%. There will never be a clear division of *this* is an "enhancer", *this* is an enabler. What you rarely hear about in the PED arguments is the only thing that matters: risk to the athletes. Lots of people die or are seriously injured in weight rooms. Should we allow athletes to go to the weight room? Of course, but that's because the risks of debilitating injury or death are minimal. Would we allow athletes to have heart transplants that would enable their blood to be pumped faster or lung transplants to give them greater lung capacity? Probably not, as heart transplants are super risky and we wouldn't want players to feel forced into having heart or lung transplants just so that they could perform better. PED usage is a work safety issue and it's the only rational way to think about the problem. Every other direction leads to personal opinion. If you have people forced into making choices that they wouldn't normally make that lead them to unacceptable health risks, then that is where your dividing line is. So at one point in the past, TJ surgery *could* have been something that should have been banned, but it no longer likely is.

Now with things like steroids, it's complicated because we don't know the risks and it's probably better to be conservative than not (although that's open to subjective interpretation). This is truly (IMO) a work safety issue and, to a more general extent, a worker's rights issue (should a worker have to do things that make them personally uncomfortable in order to stay gainfully employed)?

This is why I hold the player's union mostly responsible for this mess. The player's union in baseball is a union that I generally admire, but they did not recognize (or chose to ignore) the safety and worker related issues on this problem in order to maintain some sort of negotiating leverage. I find that to be dereliction of their responsibility as a union to protect its members.
   70. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: February 03, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4360980)
Seems like he's taking a bigger risk that half of his colleagues won't talk to him any more.

How do you figure? His colleagues are overwhelmingly against the use of PEDs in sports, the Baseball Hall of Fame vote we just had proves it. I suspect that deep down inside, many of his colleagues would love to voice the kinds of opinions that Simmons just did, but are afraid to because they just don't want to risk losing their access and/or their jobs.
   71. Lassus Posted: February 03, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4360982)
Well done, Darren.
   72. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 03, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4361016)
That's an excellent summary you give, Walt, but few people here accept the distinction between enhancement for restoration of one's pre-existing talent, and enhancement for going beyond that. They can see that greenies may enable a player to extend his career in the sense of playing more games within a season and adding to his counting stats, but not the idea that a healthy and well rested player can increase his talent by merely popping a pill. At bottom it comes down to one's definition of "enhancement", and up to now the public's definition is reflected in the writers' voting much more than the definition that seems to be the consensus on BTF. You can keep saying that all this shows is how stupid and hypocritical the public's view is, but so far that doesn't seemed to have moved the needle very much.
   73. Moeball Posted: February 03, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4361025)
His colleagues are overwhelmingly against the use of PEDs in sports, the Baseball Hall of Fame vote we just had proves it.


No, this just shows they are against PEDs in baseball. They are clearly NOT against the use of PEDs in football. Ray Lewis' name shows up in a Miami investigation - we'll talk about it a little, but he'll still get to play in the Super Bowl. A-Rod? Let's just end his career right here and hope he never sets foot on a baseball diamond again. There will be no suspension for Lewis but baseball players will probably see some. Heck, here in San Diego Shawne Merriman got a big new Nike endorsement deal after he was caught taking steroids, indicating there was no perceived hit to his social standing and viability as an endorser. You still see fans wearing his #56 jersey all over town, parents and children, so obviously parents don't consider him as a bad influence on the kids, either.

Joe Six Pack doesn't give a rat's a** about steroids in football, or concussions either, for that matter. Just give me my weekly dose of violence.

Keith Richards in 1978 after a night at Studio 54 could pass one of boxing's drug tests


So whatever Keith was taking was enhancing his performance?
   74. bfan Posted: February 03, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4361093)
Joe Six Pack doesn't give a rat's a** about steroids in football, or concussions either, for that matter. Just give me my weekly dose of violence.


Isn't it that people think that evryone is juicing in football, so it doesn't provide an advantage to any individual players, where in baseball it is a distinct minority that are using, so they are gaining an advantage?

It is kind of like income taxes. In Greece, everyone cheats, so no one is offended that any individual is cheating; everyone has just unilaterally (and illegally and inefficiently) reduced the marginal tax rates. In the US we have a good record of compliance and a rigorous enforcement arm, so people are more-inclined to be mad at tax cheaters.
   75. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 03, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4361167)
I do think that "increase baseline ability" and "restore baseline ability" are reasonably different things. But...
They can see that greenies may enable a player to extend his career in the sense of playing more games within a season and adding to his counting stats, but not the idea that a healthy and well rested player can increase his talent by merely popping a pill.
That pill that increases your talent - that's an amphetamine. The best research in the field I've seen is that amphetamines enhance athletic ability, in particular reaction times, well beyond a healthy, rested state.

It bothers me when the "enhance/restore" distinction gets trotted out in defense of a steroids/amps distinction, because it doesn't apply.
   76. Ebessan Posted: February 03, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4361646)
I also want to point out this passage:

That list is dead. It means nothing. McGwire's generation made it fundamentally impossible to put power numbers into context for the rest of eternity, basically. And they did more damage than that. This past Christmas Eve, my son and daughter made Santa cookies, wrote him a letter, even left four carrots for his reindeer. As we were putting them to bed, I remember thinking, Man, I wish they could always stay like this. And by "this," I really meant, I wish they could always just blindly believe in things being true despite mounting evidence against them. For whatever reason, that made me think of Lance Armstrong. Was there even a difference? Our kids have Santa; we have Lance and Barry and A-Rod and everyone else.


"This ruined my ability to keep my childhood fantasies alive, the worst crime imaginable."
   77. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4361656)
That pill that increases your talent - that's an amphetamine. The best research in the field I've seen is that amphetamines enhance athletic ability, in particular reaction times, well beyond a healthy, rested state.


Amps make you more focused, more energized and increase reaction times by artificially modifying brain chemistry.

PEDs make you bigger, faster, more powerful and stronger by artificially modifying muscle building chemistry.

The only distinction is the fact that you can't *see* the effect of amps in the brain, where you *see* the effect of PEDs on the muscles.
   78. Dan Posted: February 03, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4361705)
That pill that increases your talent - that's an amphetamine. The best research in the field I've seen is that amphetamines enhance athletic ability, in particular reaction times, well beyond a healthy, rested state.

It bothers me when the "enhance/restore" distinction gets trotted out in defense of a steroids/amps distinction, because it doesn't apply.


Even if you willfully ignore the direct increases in ability from something like an Amphetamine, if the drug is effective as a restorative measure, how can that possibly be separated from being a performancer enhancer? Anything that lets you feel energetic and fresh after hours of work/activity is automatically going to be a PED for an athlete because he's going to utilize these restorative effects to practice and prepare and work out more than he would if he weren't on said drug. If a normal athlete starts to get a bit tired after an hour of BP and hitting the ball off a tee before a game, he probably decides to conserve himself for the game at that point. If a guy is popping greenies, he just pops a few and heads back out for another hour of BP. Unless we're going to assume that enhanced ability to practice and workout without feeling to tired to perform in games won't lead to more effective practice and workouts, how can any "restorative drug" not be a PED by definition?
   79. rr Posted: February 03, 2013 at 11:06 PM (#4361725)
Just by writing this, he is taking a serious risk that half the athletes that might have talked to him before won't walk to talk to him now.


Nah. Simmons is a manager and a brand now, and pretty big in both areas. He does "event" interviews with big names, Bird, Magic Johnson, even Obama, sometimes has jocks on his podcasts, and he is also one of ESPN's NBA talking heads in addition to what he does with Grantland and 30 for 30. But he is not a beat writer, nor is he an analyst, and neither access nor deep thinking are huge parts of his work. As a writer, Simmons is selling, and mostly writes about, himself, and his sports fandom. There is no serious professional risk at all here for Simmons. I don't have an issue with the piece, but it not some ballsy move that is going to have massive reverb. If there is value to it, it is that people who like it should appreciate that Simmons has a big audience, most of whom will read it.

As to the public/private thing, Tom Nawrocki in post 64 sums a lot of it up well.
   80. The District Attorney Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4365597)
Bill Simmons, The Man Who Finally Thoughtfully Examined the PED Issue, on his recent podcast with Chuck Klosterman:
Why couldn't they have said, "Hey, whoever makes the Super Bowl, you're getting blood tested the day before the game. And we're spending all this money on this equipment, and if you're cheating, we're going to find out. And whatever's in your body, we're publishing on our website." Would you think -- do you think that's unconstitutional, or would you be for it?
   81. Ron J2 Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4365684)
They've had drug testing since 2005, and the WADA testing every four years for the Olympics (and World Cup) caught at least one player I know of (Bryan Berard).


As I've noted before this shows how dangerous steroids are. Berard lost an eye. (Yeah. Before the positive test and as a result of a stick to the eye. Still, we've got a straight link between positive test and eye loss)

Jose Theodore also failed a drug test. Propecia. Can't have athletes with enhanced hair.
   82. Ron J2 Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4365689)
#43 Fired by his team on the day he won a stage in the tour and while leading the tour.

Worth noting that he was suspended even though there was no attempt to test him when he wasn't where he said he was -- and the story only broke because of a gushing piece about his preparations for the tour. The report mentioned watching him go uphill in a driving rain in Italy and mentioned a specific date. And somebody remembered that he was supposed to have been training in Mexico at the time.
   83. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4365698)
What do people think of Will Carroll's book "Juiced," which came out around 2005? I'm about halfway through it now. It's fine. Nothing special though, unfortunately. It lays out the basics of the various drugs and the history fairly well, I guess, including touching on the different sports/different eras.
   84. AROM Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4365752)
My question to Simmons is exactly how clean he thought the sports he grew up watching in the 70s and 80s were.


How about the 60's? Maybe Bill Russell - though he had an aversion to needles and swallowed the steroids. A side effect of that was nausea, but it got him through the big games.

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