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Tribune sports rant: PEDs, gamma rays … let's just use them all

Published August 3, 2013 6:38 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ex-USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan made news when he waved a white flag in the war on performance-enhancing drugs, writing on speedendurance.com, "Regrettably, I now conclude we should give up this fight."

Unsurprisingly, the man whose job it was to bust shortcut-taking athletes was labeled a short-sighted hypocrite.

Honestly, though, all the soapbox moralizing is not only predictable, it's boring. Let's play devil's advocate for a minute, though. Actually, let's blow right past advocacy and into heresy …

What if we quit playing Sisyphus and just embraced the future, already?

Gamma rays.

You're right, we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's start with PEDs, first.

Remember Ben Johnson torching Carl Lewis at the 1988 Olympics? Remember Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa crushing Roger Maris' home run record like Bo Jackson running over Brian Bosworth?

Try to keep a straight face when you retroactively claim you didn't enjoy it.

The arguments against PED use are all variations on the theme of fairness: Allowing them isn't fair to those athletes who don't want to use them, and it's not fair to those who came before and set the hallowed marks we cling to.

Here are the cynic's responses: 1. We assume you've heard of MLB, NFL, the Olympics, the Tour de France … You really still think there are many athletes who aren't using, at this point? And 2. We're not playing the same games these days anyway. News flash: Athletes in the '50s traveled to games by train, wore Chuck Taylors on the hardwood, didn't wear facemasks on their football helmets, couldn't get Tommy John surgery if they blew out their elbows. … Modern athletes have every technological advantage conceivable; why should steroids, HGH, testosterone be different?

Now then, back to the gamma rays.

It's a familiar refrain that the cheaters are always a step ahead of the testers. So surely someone has harnessed Bruce Banner's power by now and is developing it for sports? If the Olympic motto is "Faster, Higher, Stronger," can't we support measuring shot puts in miles instead of meters?

If nothing else, cheering on the Hulk has got to beat wringing our hands over the likes of A-Rod, Ryan Braun and Lance Armstrong.