Lance Armstrong Cheated to Win. Why is that Wrong?

A Defense of Performance-Enhancing Drugs.

About 3.30 minutes. Written by Nick Gillespie and Kennedy, and produced by Meredith Bragg.

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After months of bad press, the greatest competitive cyclist of all time has officially hit rock bottom: The Lance Armstrong Foundation has dropped the name of its eponymous creator and will now be known as the Livestrong Foundation. Rest easy, Lance, it can’t get much – or is that any? – worse.

His story is unparalleled, Shakespearean in scope and breadth. A cocky, gum-flapping athlete battled insurmountable odds after a devastating cancer diagnosis, his greasy soul barely slipping the surly clutches of a certain dirt nap. Ultimately, he rehabilitated his battered body and morphed into a champion.

Not only did Lance Armstrong improbably return to the sport he loved, professional cycling, he used his unfailing narrative as a stick and beat to death his opponents by winning the most grueling sporting event on the planet of earth: The Tour De France. Seven motherloving times!

He must have had help, right? I mean, you can’t just win the Tour that many times without some aid and angels. Could all the old ladies’ prayers and good wishes really have propelled this flesh rocket up the Pyrenees and down the Alps? If they could, Robert Urich would have more Olympic medals than Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz combined. But he doesn’t. Because he’s dead. Sorry, grandma.

As much as everyone wanted to believe Lance’s performance was the result of clean living and hard training, there were whispers for years that he was dirtier than a bum’s ass. The French cycling daily L’Equipepublished a long story in August 2005 accusing him of failing a 1999 drug test by using EPO, or erythropoietin, a blood booster commonly used by cyclists to aid in red blood-cell production. The French said he was a habitual doper who had enough money and support to insulate himself from the rules that sought to protect the sport from enhanced athletes who posed an unfair advantage to non-tainted riders. Lance said he didn’t trust the French testing system, probably because they detected those pesky drugs.

When Armstrong gave up the fight in August 2012 against the U.S. Anti Doping Agency (USADA), people’s love turned to sheer outrage and they took his declaration to fight the charges no more forever as an act of personal  betrayal. How could cancer boy have put something in his pure body to get him up those hills faster, to knock over those time trials like Southern damsels fainting from the vapors?

But as backlash gripped Lance fans, there was a deeper question more important than simple outrage: Why are people so mad at Lance Armstrong when logic should have told them the guy was doing nothing short of spiking his veins, spinning his blood, and biting off chicken heads to achieve his inhuman feats?

To put it a little differently: The rules pushed by the USADA and the International Cycling Union (UCI) are so arbitrary and widely flouted that it shouldn’t be a big deal that Lance, like most of his comptetitors, broke the rules. You don’t have to have a doctorate in pharmacology to know Lance cheated, but why is it wrong?

The standard answer is simply: Drugs are bad, m’kay? Now this is the aspect that should make the libertarian in all of us wince. Why are drugs bad? Because they’re bad, that’s why. The circular argument is that putting bad things in your body is dangerous and unfair and thus immoral and dangerous. But plenty of things are dangerous and unfair. How about zooming down one-lane, winding mountain passes with eager teenagers ringing cowbells in your face, otherwise known as a typical stage in the Tour de France? That seems kind of dangerous.

It’s highly unlikely Amaury Sport Organization, the body that organizes the Tour, is going to ban enthusiastic spectation. But if they did, would you be outraged by someone ringing a cowbell simply because it’s now illegal? Cycling is by nature dangerous, especially when it’s done right, because a light, strong rider will be able to propel himself at great speeds, virtually unprotected from collision or calamity should he tumble from his steel steed. Professional cyclists may be idiots, but they’re not your children. Cycling is deadlier than the drugs you can consume to make yourself faster at it, so either way, you’re hastening your own death, or at least flirting with the Grim Reaper like a cheap, Charlie-soaked bar girl.

What about the idea that using drugs is unfair because not everyone uses them equally? In addition to taking performance-enhancing drugs like EPO and testosterone (and paying to cover up positive tests), Lance is accused by the USADA of blood doping. That is essentially harvesting your own oxygen-rich blood cells (or borrowing some from a friendly matching donor -  thanks bro!) and later injecting them at a critical point (like before a bike race) to deliver more oxygen to working muscles so they can perform longer and stronger.

Of all the techniques and tools in the cycling arsenal, this one I find totally inoffensive. It’s your blood! If you want to make yourself all sickly and anemic and shiver like a hairless cat when the refrigerated sanguine smoothie glugs back into your body, then have at it. As far as I’m concerned, if drinking your own urine somehow made you faster in a time trial, then bottoms up. It’s gross, and it’s weird, but it’s yours.

If any rider in a UCI-sanctioned race wanted to deliver more oxygen to their working systems by strapping on an oxygen tank like an octogenarian on the nickel slots at the Golden Nugget, they are free to do that, according to the World Doping Agency’s banned list. So you can have an oxygen tank on your back but not in your recycled blood, which only makes the means of transmission problematic. Hey wait a second, that’s not your air! You didn’t breathe that!

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  • Rick Santorum||

    Vid: Lance Armstrong Cheated to Win. Was That Wrong?

    Hurrrrrrr Randian master ubermensch cheating to win is natural selection of the will to succeed LOOTERS.

  • General Butt Naked||

    A drugs' illegality != breaking the agreed upon rules of a game

  • schmittz||

    My impression from reading the article wasn't that Nick was accusing UCI of stripping the titles when they shouldn't have, but that there's no point in the drugs being illegal in the first place. I do agree with your point (and the stripping), he broke rules that he contractually agreed to and thus doesn't qualify for the rewards of winning. I think professional sports needs to look at what the harm in allowing drug use in general is.

  • Rrabbit||

    The anti-doping rules in cycling go back to the days where cyclists used amphetamines and strychnine to enhance performance, and that drug usage caused a couple of high profile deaths, such as Jensen during the 1960 Olympics or Simpson 1967 on the Mont Ventoux. Even over the last 10 years, there were deaths in cycling that can be attributed to performance enhancing drugs.

    Having a cyclist drop dead during the race because of performance enhancing drugs is definitely bad for the sport.
    The sponsors consider that negative for their image. Some TV stations are not longer showing those races because of various doping scandals.

    Cycling is a business, and doping in cycling is bad for the business.

  • ||

    Doping is not amphetamines or strychnine. Got an evidence that doping kills athletes besides "these other things kill athletes, so some entirely different thing should be banned"?

  • Heedless||

    There have been some problems with EPO overdoses. (Too many red blood cells and your blood becomes too thick to flow. Who'd have guessed?)

    That doesn't mean EPO should be illegal, any more than Len Bias's autodarwination is a justification for mandatory minimums, but the drugs at issue are powerful and dangerous if used improperly.

  • Rrabbit||

    Amphetamines and strychnine were used as doping in cycling during the 1960s and early 1970s. Those incidents are what started the doping controls in professional cycling.

    EPO isn't the only drug that is used by cyclists nowadays. For example, in 2003 Manzano took Oxyglobin. During the race, he then had a near fatal dehydration which he attributed to the drug.

    EPO also isn't that safe; various studies have indicated that taking EPO increases the risk of dying from a stroke.

  • tarran||

    Both those guys collapsed in 100+ degree weather.

    It's called heatstroke, and people get it when they are exerting themselves in hot weather even when they are completely drug free.

  • Ted Levy||

    Car racing is a business, too. Should speed be banned (no, not the drug...)?

  • Harvard||

    Speed (or certain levels of it) have been banned from motorsports for decades. Witness carbureation and aero rules in F1 and NASCAR to reduce speed the past twenty years.

  • Brett L||

    Eh. Its like pass interference in football. Everybody technically breaks the rule (cheats!) every play. Sometimes they get whistled. If you decide to be the one DB or receiver who doesn't cheat, you don't play.

  • Xenocles||

    Violating a rule with an in-game penalty doesn't really strike me as cheating, especially when what completes the offense is so often a judgement call.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yeah. A db has to decide whether to take the chance of a long yard/1st down completion vs. the definite short yard/1st down penalty.

    The rules of the game allow that choice.

    I'm sure if the game gave the choice of long yard/1st down vs. lifetime ban, you'd see a lot more disciplined hands.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    General Butt,

    he isnt talking about safely (no injuries) intentionally violating the rules to elicit officials intervention.

    he is discussing subverting officials and cheating. avoiding their intervention while changing the dynamics of the game.

    they are totally different animals.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    Xenocles,

    willful violation of a written and known rule when you know you will get away with it is absolutely cheating.

    its all or nothing. either you follow rules or you dont.

    there is nothing more disgusting in sports than a cheater who has moral boundaries. you're only kidding yourself, your code is sheer hypocrisy.

    as a competitor i find it quite annoying to have a cheater complain to me about someone who cheats worse than them. go fuck yourself, if you are gonna cheat me have enough balls to not bitch about others doing worse.

    committing violations accidentally with good faith is a different animal than willfully stretching the rules in a corrupt dance with officials.

    committing violations on purpose to end the play is a different animal than the corrupt dance.

    the corrupt dance is an attempt to evade detection while cheating.

    without a spirit of fair play, all sports are reduced to MMA to the death.

  • RBS||

    WHAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! Pussy.

  • Xenocles||

    The rules of the game also include the penalties for violating those rules. If you judge that a ten yard penalty and repeating the down is better than what will happen otherwise, you hold your opponent. If the spot foul is better than your guy making the catch and running for 40 yards after, you hang on to him like a cheap suit. If the guy with the ball sucks at shooting free throws but is awesome at threes, why not foul him before he can get his shot off?

    If you make your decisions within the framework of what the rules provide, it's not cheating.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    OK, but if you knowingly foul and the penalty isn't called, you'd better go up to the official and confess after the play. Otherwise you're a cheater plain and simple. The specific example of pass interference usually involves some attempt to conceal the fact you're interfering, which is cheating.

  • Xenocles||

    Mmmm... perhaps. But this runs into my other point, which is that when a particular form of violation is so rampant and unchecked in a league that you gain not advantage but parity by doing it, the rules have effectively changed. These days pass interference is basically whatever the ref wants it to be, and I've seen bad calls on this subject go both for and against my team, often in the same game.

  • hotsy totsy||

    In basketball, especially toward the end of a close game, you may purposely foul an opponent, taking the chance that he may miss one or both free shots. Plus it interrupts the flow of the game.

    The rules of the game, and when to break them, are incorporated into the strategy of the game.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Would UCI actually allow oxygen tanks? I'm pretty sure there's some other rule which would prohibit that.

    Otherwise agreed. Also keep in mind that when you use steroids all you're doing is speeding up the repair of muscles damaged due to physical exertion. Kind of like using Neosporin to speed healing of cuts. What's wrong with that?

  • ||

    It's wrong because he broke the agreed upon rules.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yerp.

    If there is no standard set of conditions to play then all records are meaningless anyways. You'd might as well be playing Calvinball.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Here are the rules for Calvinball for those out of the Hobbesian* loop.

    *not the philosopher

  • Xenocles||

    It's wrong because he broke the agreed upon rules.

    This is my only reason for opposing PED usage in sports. On the other hand, there are times where "everyone else is doing it" becomes a reasonable excuse. The way I understand cheating is that it requires that you gain an unfair advantage through your rulebreaking. If the rulebreaking is so rampant and so unchecked that you gain parity rather than advantage, I really have a hard time faulting you for joining them.

  • schmittz||

    Definitely. The problem in sports is that the people who set the rules are of the mindset that drugs are inherently bad so rules are unlikely to change. Also (in my opinion, unfortunately), the public at large still views PEDs as scourges of sport, so I don't think there would be much public support for changing rules either. From interviews I've read, in a lot of sports, athlete support for allowing PEDs is pretty low as well. If only we could end the propaganda campaign and talk about actual health benefits and risks.

  • Xenocles||

    I think "it's bad for you" is the least honest reason possible. Athletes routinely overtrain, destroying their long-term health. They perform in pain, when pain is generally the signal that you are further damaging an injury. Worst of all, many of the substances are acceptable for use when a doctor provides them for therapy - making it possible to pay off a doctor to find a therapeutic use, which might not even be necessary as you may have a legitimate therapeutic need to correct an issue you picked up in the course of your overtraining.

    You think steroids are unhealthy? Try a marathon.

  • ||

    steroids are no more healthy or unhealthy than any other endogenous substance. when used responsibly, they are healthy. when used in excess (and.or methylated orals) they aren't.

    for a person with low testosterone levels, taking steroids (testosterone) IMPROVES their health

    arguably for somebody with average or even relatively high levels, taking exogenous T also improves health - mood, aggression, sense of well being, etc. are all improved. note, i am NOT talking drugs like halotestin or methyltest which tend to make people aggressive, angry, etc. but drugs like testosterone, nandrolone, etc.

  • Scooby||

    A cop using 'roids- what a fucking surprise.

  • Ted S.||

    I'm reminded here of tennis player Svetlana Kuznetsova. During the off-season after 2004, she was playing in an exhibition in Belgium (a sort of made-up one-night tournament by invitation that officially is "out of competition"), and having a cold, she took one of those OTC cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. It can lessen cold symptoms, but its short-term effects have gotten pseudoephedrine placed on the banned substances list during competition, while out of competition use was still allowed at least back then. Sure enough, when the drug test was done, the A sample tested positive for pseudoephedrine -- which was legal.

    Needless to say, the politicians tut-tutted about her "failing" a drug test.

  • ||

    Ha, I take pseudoephedrine before tennis matches all the time, specifically because it wakes me up and makes me alert. No WTA matches for me, I guess! Not that I could ever qualify, of course.

  • ||

    You think steroids are unhealthy? Try a marathon.

    Steroids are basically man-made testosterone. Men with naturally low testosterone levels have trouble building and maintaining large muscle mass.

    Men are basically women subjected to massive testosterone poisoning during natal development and afterwards.

  • ||

    Take two on italicizing:

    You think steroids are unhealthy? Try a marathon.

    Steroids are basically man-made testosterone. Men with naturally low testosterone levels have trouble building and maintaining large muscle mass.

    Men are basically women subjected to massive testosterone poisoning during natal development and afterwards.

  • Xenocles||

    This is pretty much my point.

  • Rrabbit||

    Quite a few performance enhancing drugs are legal in cycling. There is a reason more than 80% of pro cyclists have asthma, a condition normally considered detrimental to endurance.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Swimmers also have a surprising amount of asthma

  • Xenocles||

    FWIW, my wife was a distance swimmer throughout her childhood and wound up with exercise-induced asthma (never took meds for it, and it went away since she quit). The chlorine exposure might have something to do with it. Peeing in the pool probably doesn't help, since it can evolve diatomic chlorine gas.

  • robc||

    Did he?

    As a former offensive lineman friend of mine told me when I asked him how often he held: "Twice."

    He claims he never held on any plays that he wasnt flagged. He was flagged for holding 2 times in 4 years of college ball. He says it isnt holding if the flag isnt thrown.

    Armstrong never broke the rules, because he never failed a drug test.

  • ||

    sophistry in aisle 7!

    i actually kind of agree. the reality is that at LA's level of competititon, the ASSUMPTION is that you are doping.

    and btw, when it comes to cycling, AAS (steroids) are neither the most effective, nor the most commonly used PED. people hear PED and ASSUME steroids, but not at all the case.

    heck, in my sports org, CAFFEINE is a banned PED! (in excessive quantities)

    regardless, it IS accepted that people on the tour are using. it really is, like it or not, about getting CAUGHT. the assumption is - you are an elite athlete on the TFD = using PED's

  • Mickey Rat||

    "i actually kind of agree. the reality is that at LA's level of competititon, the ASSUMPTION is that you are doping."

    Which is one of the annoying things about the Armstrong case: the argument that best proof of doping was in having won the Tour that many times. How can anyone defend themselves against that kind of "evidence"?

    Kind of like asset forfeiture cases where large amounts cash are seized because no one could be carrying that kind of money on them for non-criminal purposes.

  • Ted S.||

  • josh||

    he did fail once. he got the result overriden because he came up with a prescription after the fact. a prescription that was, to say the very least, highly questionable, and not just because it was after the fact.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I think people who are opposed to the use of steroids or "performance enhancing drugs" in competitive sports are worried that if someone gains an advantage by using them, soon everyone else who plays that sport wants that same advantage, so the new standard is drug use.

    Where to draw the line is difficult, however. For an extreme example, should someone be allowed to have Lasik surgery to improve his vision be considered a cheater?

  • ||

    i fully support armstrong, but that is not ALL you do. yes, aas improve nitrogen turnover, etc. they also have substantial influence on the nervous system (especially methylated orals like halotestin).

    i could list about 10 different sports related factors AAS improved and i wouldn't be touching all of them

    the soviets did extensive research on "restoratives".

    granted, in cycling, there are a lot of peds to use besides AAS- Anabolic Androgenic Steroids.

    PED's in cycling also go way back. back in the day, a combination of red wine and cocaine was used to help numb the pain.

    fwiw, my sports org bans TONS of over the council PED's. believe it or not, even caffeine is banned (beyond threshold quantities). i'm not on the NAN list (no advanced notice), but many lifters i lift with are. they have to submit their schedules to the doping "police" and they can show up anywhere at anytime and demand a sample.

    when melanie roach was training for the olympics, testers showed up twice at our gym in the course of 3 months to test her.

  • ||

    I always thought he was a scumbag. I was probably too happy when he finally got exposed. I wonder how all the people who defended him to his end feel now.

  • ||

    i feel fine

    i recognize that if you are on the tour and you are competitive, you are doping. period

    there is a tiny chance that you aren't. it's simply a given at that level of performance.

    good for armstrong, assuming he used PED's. frankly, my opinion wouldn't change of him if it was proven he used.

    i would be interesqted if he was NOT using, since it would be remarkable to be THAT good and not using.

    here's sagir. one of the greatest lifters of the current era. note, he has a distinct LACK of visible muscularity. heck, any average musclhead at the gym is WAY more "buff" than sagir

    people who think AAS only help in skeletal muscle don't understand how they work. many many many more factors are affected. (neuromuscular factors that see improved strength without additional size for example).

    sagir, the "muscleless wonder"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCuh8trNago

    this is my favorite lifter of all time.

    he used...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAnWOC4Pf_Y

  • Ice Nine||

    Wow, the best national anthem out there is even cooler when it rocks!

  • Brutus||

    I have yet to see evidence of the headline's contention.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    anyone who goes on a crusade has suspect credibility.

    i dont doubt armstrong is guilty, but its a belief i have in spite of these organizations claims, not because of them.

    they have a vendetta and this was a witch hunt.

    i thought the PED debate was silly long ago.

    competitive advantage thru drugs is an arbitrary line in the sand. there are tons of other competitive advantages that are inherently unfair.

  • juris imprudent||

    WADA is the modern order of Jesuits - out to preserve the sanctity of sports!

  • Lyle||

    Lying about it for so long and so hard is the problem.

  • ||

    And they way he viciously went after people for calling him a liar.

  • ||

    omg, VICIOUSLY@!!!!!?!@$(#(#

    my tender sensibilities are all a flutter.

    i heard he was a meanie, too!

  • Lyle||

    Yep.

  • Brett L||

    Still haven't seen a dirty drug test on his TdF wins.

  • RBS||

    This.

  • josh||

    then you haven't looked.. one was during his first win, and he got it retracted because of a highly suspicious prescription after the fact. the others were admittedly several years later when they finally got a accurate test for epo and they selected stored samples from several sources as test subjects. all armstrong samples tested positive. a curious reporter later on got a hold of the numbers and matched it to armstrong. armstrong then claimed he was being persecuted.

    not to mention that not testing dirty, for multiple reasons, is one of the weakest defenses out there, especially when these substances are specifically designed to avoid just that.

  • Xenocles||

    not to mention that not testing dirty, for multiple reasons, is one of the weakest defenses out there,

    In other words: citing a lack of physical evidence is a weak defense.

  • juris imprudent||

    My understanding was that the USADA case was all built around NON-analytics. As in "he couldn't have performed as well as he did without doping" [largely because doping was ubiquitous].

  • The Late P Brooks||

    We should only allow double amputees race in the Tour; for fairness.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    All competitors should subsist solely on rice cakes provided by the event organizers. And each rider should have to wear a specially calibrated mask to equalize oxygen intake, and carry ballast.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    what about an internal device to regulate natural testosterone levels?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00p8GGbDRSA

    equality of outcome uber alles

  • Ken Shultz||

    If there's a rule against something, then breaking it is part of the game.

    In basketball, they talk about "fouls to give".

    In football, sometimes it's better to hold somebody than to let him sack your quarterback. Breaking the rule is part of the game.

    The rules of cycling in regards to PEDs and doping were the limits of their ability to test for such things at the time. Everybody was playing by those same rules, and within the boundaries of those rules, Armstrong won.

  • ||

    to make a legal analogy, this comes down to de facto vs. de jure reality

    the de facto reality is one should assume elite athlete on the TDF = using PED's

    the DE JURE reality is that they aren't, and if they get caught, it's because the tests WORK and therefore it caught a cheater.

    the idea that people routinely use and PASS testing isn't acknowledged.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Burdensome regulations, zero-sum results, corrupt officials: What else does sports remind you of?

  • ||

    ANY human endeavor...

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Except, in most other endeavor, we usually maintain an understanding that cheating is a necessary part of making everything work for the best.

    In sports, however, we continue to maintain this naive desire to have it all remain pure and virgin white, as if it remains the only realm of the human experience untouched by mass corruption.

  • ||

    in general, i agree. recall that the only reason that steroids are a controlled substance is ben jonson. DEA and medical experts at the time argued AGAINST making it scheduled, since they arfe not habit forming, they are not recreational, etc. like other scheduled drugs. we want to maintain the ILLUSION of purity

    we need an "all drug olympics" like in the SNL skit

  • robc||

    Speaking of which, have you seen the recent "30 for 30" on the 1988 100 m olympics?

    6 or 7 of the 8 competitors in the race were banned at some point afterwards for using PEDs.

  • robc||

    9.79* is the name of the documentary.

    6 of 8 were banned, Carl Lewis had 1 failed test prior to the olympics but wasnt banned.

    So 7 of the 8 were connected to PEDs.

  • ||

    haven't seen it, but sounds about right.

    i;ll try to check it out

  • Robert||

    Then someone should initiate a petition with DEA to decontrol anabolic steroids. There are criteria listed, except that the key term "abuse" (in "potential for abuse") is undefined. Congress did not put the anabolics steroids category out of bounds of administrative rescheduling, so theoretically it's subject to the same criteria as everything else on the schedules.

    And don't think substances are never decontrolled. Sasha Shulgin documented the steps by which loperamide worked its way in steps all the way down from 2-N (theoretically 1-N before that) to decontrolled.

  • sasob||

    Except, in most other endeavor, we usually maintain an understanding that cheating is a necessary part of making everything work for the best.

    Uh...yeah. Be sure to remember that the next time someone cons you out of some money or otherwise rips you off. Also, it should prove an especially comforting thought to bear in mind when you catch your significant other in bed with someone else: "I'm just making everything work for the best, Honey!"

  • Caleb Turberville||

    But no of his competitors were conned. They all were juicing, and they all knew that everyone else was juicing.

    The only people that were "conned" were the rule-makers and the fans too naive to know that cyclers juice. The video above makes a good case for why the rules should change, and you can't help the stupid fans.

    Try again.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    *"none of his competitors"

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I make the same distinction in the Reggie Bush case.

    Why should USC have to face penalties for paying Reggie Bush? Are you seriously telling me that Bob Stoops doesn't pay his players?

  • Ted S.||

    I'm sure Urban Meyer does, too.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Except, in most other endeavor, we usually maintain an understanding that cheating is a necessary part of making everything work for the best.

    A quick comparison of the economic performance of countries with no rule of law would prove the lie to that claim.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Clarification:

    I referring to the dysfunctional mess that poor management from rule-makers leave people in.

    When you're in a situation where burdensome regulations are in place and connected-individuals get aways with rule-breaking, it seems (at least in my perspective) morally okay to break the rules as well. In fact, it is a practical necessity if you want to keep up with your competitors.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Ah, got it. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Robert||

    Most other endeavor is not a competitive game.

  • American||

    Wow, Reason goes off the deep end. I expect this kind of trash from, well, I don't know where, but not from Reason. Here are 5 simple reasons doing these drugs are bad.
    1) It ruins the sport for those of us who aren't willing to destroy our bodies to win. My uncle was a cycler, it was a hobby of his, and he would never have considered doing this. The sport would not have been real for him if he wouldn't of had a chance at winning.
    2) It sets a bad example for children and teenagers (but since when does Reason care about chidren) who might consider using these drugs.
    3) The sport is supposed to be natural, it is supposed to be a test of devotion and stength, not a test of stereoids.
    4) Since Reason likes it unfair, stereoids make it fairer. Anyone can take these drugs, but not anyone has the good genes and good attitude neccesary for this sport.
    45 This hs nothing to do with liberty or libertarianism. Saying the government should not ban drugs is not the same thing as saying a private organization shouldn't, or that drugs are not bad. Well, outside of the minds of Reason staff and drug warriors.

  • ||

    Wow, Reason goes off the deep end. I expect this kind of trash from, well, I don't know where, but not from Reason.

    On the other hand, we expect this whining and bullshit from, well, random losers. We even have regulars for it!

    1) It ruins the sport for those of us who aren't willing to destroy our bodies to win.

    You could also say that the rule AGAINST taking these things ruins it for people who DO hurt their bodies gaining victory. It's bad to recover stamina more quickly? Maybe we should standardize athlete nutrition and training to make everything more "fair". After all, it's not "right" to make people who just don't treat themselves as well compete with people who eat and exercise better.

    My uncle was a cycler, it was a hobby of his, and he would never have considered doing this.

    And I'm sure it being his personal standard makes everyone else wrong.

    The sport would not have been real for him if he wouldn't of had a chance at winning.

    And that would have been on him. If he doesn't want to, that's his prerogative. That he might not have won doesn't make everyone who uses them automatically wrong. It's pretty easy to point to someone and say "they wouldn't have made it, so that's BAD!" That says nothing about the rightness or wrongness of a particular standard.

  • American||

    Who is this "we" here? The point is that for actual people who do this sport, drugs would ruin it. Is it morally wrong? Well, Lance did, you know, lie for 10 years. So there's that. If Lance wanted to take drgs he should have entered the Drug Leage. Wait, there is no such thing. I find all non-medical drug use morally wrong, that's my personal standard, yes. Why? Because of such values as purity, truth, fairness, nature, respect for tradtition, you know, the values human beings have held for millenia.

  • ||

    The point is that for actual people who do this sport, drugs would ruin it.

    Or enhance it. As has been pointed out in this thread, a TON of athletes do this. It doesn't seem to have "ruined" it for any of them.

    Why? Because of such values as purity,

    Just throwing out the word "purity" is sanctimonious and meaningless. I don't think using the same chemicals that already exist in our bodies is "unpure". You might as well have said drug use is "unclean", it would mean just as little.

    fairness

    Being able to choose to take steroids or not IS fair. What ISN'T fair is how a lot of athletes take them, but only some are scrutinized over it. Armstrong wouldn't have had this witch-hunt on him if he hadn't been so successful. An athlete that took them but still didn't do as well as Armstrong would never get this much attention. In other words, it's not the drugs that do it, it's the SUCCESS in using them. That's decidedly NOT fair treatment.

  • American||

    Some athletes don't want to destroy there bodies. Period.

  • ||

    nature,

    Substances that already occur in the body aren't natural? Who knew? By this standard, protein powder isn't "natural" either, since it's not naturally occurring. "Natural" is a matter of degree, and your cutoff on that is pretty arbitrary.

    respect for tradtition, you know, the values human beings have held for millenia.

    This is another one of those sanctimonious cop-out words, like "purity". Throw it out there without an actual argument, and expect your opponent to concede. There have been TONS of traditions in human history, and not all of them are equal. Something being "tradition" is, again, meaningless on it's own. For that matter, the steroid use apparently IS traditional for a lot of athletes. You spout the word "tradition", when you really mean "traditions I like". It's not an argument.

  • American||

    I could make an arguemeant but yu wouldn't understand it. You know what I'm saying. "Purity" in that, hey, don't pollute your body. "Tradition" because I believe that the burden of justifying change should lie in those who want it, not those who don't.

  • ||

    I could make an arguemeant but yu wouldn't understand it.

    No, you're not making an argument because your arguments have all been crap. Now you're just making excuses.

    "Purity" in that, hey, don't pollute your body.

    "Pollute" with the same chemicals that ARE ALREADY IN THE BODY? This doesn't even make sense.

    "Tradition" because I believe that the burden of justifying change should lie in those who want it, not those who don't.
  • ||

    2) It sets a bad example for children and teenagers

    In what way? "Lifting weights more and eating better than the other guy is ok, but don't you dare use non-food/non-weight items to do so"?

    (but since when does Reason care about chidren) who might consider using these drugs.

    Holy Straw Men, Batdouche!

    3) The sport is supposed to be natural, it is supposed to be a test of devotion and stength, not a test of stereoids.

    Using chemicals that naturally appear in the body isn't natural, but artificially lifting weights and using (also naturally occurring) protein powder is?

    4) Since Reason likes it unfair, stereoids make it fairer. Anyone can take these drugs, but not anyone has the good genes and good attitude neccesary for this sport.

    Life isn't "fair". See response to 1). And yeah, not everyone will do as well as everyone else. I don't see how this is much of a point against the video at all, really.

  • American||

    "In what way? "Lifting weights more and eating better than the other guy is ok, but don't you dare use non-food/non-weight items to do so"?"
    Lifting weights more and eating better does not lead to all the negative health effects that steroids do. And some of us don't want children suffering these effects.

    "Natural" is ultimately a matter of opion, is bread natural? Its made from naturally occuring wheat. By "natural" I am making an ideological point, athletes strive to be naturally strong, exercizing is something people have always done, pills, they see as cheating.

    "Life isn't "fair"." Agreed. A point in this video was that the sport isn't fair, and that justifies making it less fair. I think this is illogical.

  • ||

    Lifting weights more and eating better does not lead to all the negative health effects that steroids do. And some of us don't want children suffering these effects.

    Except steroids don't HAVE to have those negative effects. Over-consumption is the issue, just like with any other substance.

    "Natural" is ultimately a matter of opion, is bread natural? Its made from naturally occuring wheat.

    No, natural isn't a matter of opinion. It's a matter of DEGREE. Bread is not a naturally occurring product, but is made from natural materials. Most drugs are naturally occurring, in some ways you could say they're actually more natural than bread. The process to make them is natural, but their creation outside of an organism is not. None of this is a reason why steroid use is wrong.

  • American||

    What's more "natural," a computer or a sharpened rock? See, matter of opinion. This is an ideologic point.

  • ||

    What's more "natural," a computer or a sharpened rock?

    It's TO WHAT DEGREE are different parts of it natural. A computer has had a lot more purposeful manipulation than a rock, even a sharpened rock.

    See, matter of opinion.

    Uh, no. Your comparison does not self-evidently show why it's a "matter of opinion". It DOES show that you don't have an understanding of what logic actually looks like.

    Face it, at this point you're just playing a semantic game. And this isn't even relevant to the rights and wrongs of drug use.

  • ||

    athletes strive to be naturally strong,

    Except those same chemicals existing in the human body are what help MAKE us strong.

    exercizing is something people have always done, pills, they see as cheating.

    So we're back to tradition. If drug use was something people have always done (and people have for plenty of different things in history), then it would be okay with you? If exercise was something people thought up recently, you would be in favor of banning it? And apparently many athletes DON'T see it as cheating, but rather as part of what they do. Not to mention that if athletes have been using this stuff since the 70s, that certainly seems to put it in the "traditional" category.

    A point in this video was that the sport isn't fair, and that justifies making it less fair.

    The point of the video is that competition and advantage are inherently unfair, it being "unfair" doesn't make it wrong. You seem to think it should be wrong by default unless it can be proved to be "just", while they are making a claim that it isn't a matter of it being "just" or "unjust", but simply an advantage many take.

  • ||

    45 This hs nothing to do with liberty or libertarianism.

    You're right, it has to do with inconsistent and sanctimonious expectations and judgements, with a healthy dose of ad hominem/straw man arguments. Hooray!

    Saying the government should not ban drugs is not the same thing as saying a private organization shouldn't,

    You're right, and being against involuntary regulation doesn't mean you have to automatically support private regulations of the same sort. The private organization can do whatever they want with themselves, and the rest of us have just as much right to criticize them if we want. As do you to them, and me to you, and you to me aaaand etc., etc., etc.

    or that drugs are not bad.


    Drugs are bad, m'kay?. Except for when they part of socially approved purposes, then they're ok! Unless you take more of them than is socially approved, then they're bad again :( . But never, ever use drugs for fun or profit, or else you're a bad person :( .

    Well, outside of the minds of Reason staff and drug warriors.


    Only inside the mind of a sanctimonious busybody can a person think being against both public and private drug regulations is the same thing. Or that allowing private regulations means you have to approve of all of them.
  • ||

    Last and 3rd to last paragraphs shouldn't be in quotes.

  • prs130||

    Agree. Reason seems to have a blind spot vis-a-vis steroid use.

    Sport enthusiasts have a right to compete with one another. It's absolutely necessary to have a mutual understanding as to what the conditions of competition are. Reason, and many of the commenters, fail to understand that a mutual agreement to not use steroids is no different than a mutual agreement to not use your hands during a soccer game, or to not use aluminum bats during a baseball game.

    If a certain segment of cycling enthusiasts want to see who can race through the mountains on bikes the fastest, without using steroids, then that's their business.

    If another segment of cycling enthusiasts just want to see who can go fastest and don't care what the competitors put in their bodies, then that's fine too.

    If another segment want to strap rockets to the handlebars, great.

    And if fans want to watch all three varieties of competition, or none of them, or if they prefer one to the others, then that's fine too.

    And if competitors break the agreed-upon rules, then the fans and fellow cyclists have every right to complain and/or exclude them from the competition.

    There's nothing preventing Nick Gillespie and darius04 from starting their own cycling league where PEDs are not tested for. I can't understand why they insist on belittling people who make an individual choice to support or compete in a sports league that excludes steroid users.

  • ||

    This times 1,000,000

    It's never enough for Reason to say that a substance should be legal - it must also be morally upright and virtuous, and if you disagree, you are immoral and/or stupid. It's the same shit with pot. You can be 100% for legalization, but if you don't also endorse pot smoking, smoke it yourself regularly, respect, esteem and admire others who smoke it regularly, and believe wholeheartedly in its innumerous benefits to the health and wellbeing of every human, you're a drug warrior moralizing religious zealot, and fuck off slaver.

    It's beyond ironic to criticize private sports organizations for being moralist busybodies... by prying into their rules, belittling their sport, abd then moralizing about them.

  • Gladstone||

    Not to mention this often results with libertarians being tied to every crackpot out there with some fringe beliefs.

  • hotsy totsy||

    So, American, sports should be a GENETIC competition?

  • Xenocles||

    Genetics is certainly the first screening device. Let's just say that my son won't be banking on an NBA draft selection in fifteen years.

  • Karst||

    Lance Armstrong is not "the greatest competitive cyclist of all time". Not even close. If anyone could plausibly be credited that way, it would be Eddy Merckx.

  • Voros McCracken||

    The cycling itself is likely more dangerous than any of the doping Armstrong did. This is definitely true in football.

    I am 100% pro PED. The argument that "it's against the rules" rings hollow in baseball because baseball didn't particularly want it to be against the rules, but the federal government making it illegal forced their hand, and then the federal government again stepping in and threatening them forced them to start testing.

    The line between what's legal and illegal in this area is ridiculously arbitrary and has nothing at all to do with safety. Just like in the drug war, legalization would likely reduce most of the dangers involved with these substances and also lead to improvements in the quality, efficacy and safety of them.

    Besides taking your cue on morality from the IOC is the very definition of irony.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Pretty soon, football is going to be litigated out of existence. After concussions are dealt with, they will try to rectify the problem of crippling arthritis.

  • Ken Shultz||

    And no hockey in sight.

    Time to start watching Rugby.

    Seems like every day, I become a little more Kiwi.

  • Ted S.||

    I enjoyed the Davis Cup tennis this morning.

  • Robert||

    I coached our Pee Wee all star football game to end our season today, and I'll miss it. After a few yrs. of coaching, I found it very hard to enjoy watching football any more, so I hardly ever do that, unless you count watching video clips to improve my coaching.

    As I went away from the park today, I saw a couple of organized baseball games going on. Baseball in New York City in the middle of Nov. strikes (heh) me funny, but...hey, why not? It's as warm as when they play in the spring. I know at least one HS nearby that has fall baseball. What the heck, I used to play rugby fall y spring.

  • robc||

    Defenders want cut blocking banned. Since they cant hit offensive players any more, it probably makes sense.

    Might as well break out the flags.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Remember the good ole days when college football players understood that the NFL required personal commitment and that they would likely sustain injuries if they played long enough? Remember when some even made the decision to attend classes to get a degree in case they didn't want to sustain those injuries?

    Whatever happened to those days?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Bring back the XFL!

  • American||

    What we (I say this as if we were all on the board of the Baseball Leage) would be saying if we legalized this is "look, if you want to be a millionare, if you want fame, you have to destroy your body. If you really like baseball, and you like your body you will have to go elsewhere." I believe in capitalism, a private organization can do what it wants. But I creatnly wouldn't want it to encourage people to destroy their bodies. It's a morality thing. Sorry for being so damn old-fashoined.

  • Heedless||

    You think this isn't already how it works?

    The odds of a pitcher making it 10 years in the MLB without at least 1 major surgery are approximately zero. And baseball is comparatively safe. Half the attraction of PEDs is that they help to avoid or at least mitigate the chronic and acute injuries that are inevitable for any high level athlete.

  • American||

    "inevitable"
    I'd like to see some stats for that.

  • Heedless||

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC1941297/

    Headline results: You have a 1.5% chance of being injured in a given collegiate level game and a .4% chance of being injured in a given practice. (Higher for football, lower for baseball)

    Given a season with 20 games and 150 practices, that works about to ~60% odds of being injured in a given season. (I'm assuming homogeneity for the sake of easier math, but heterogeneity would increase the likelihood of injury, so consider this a lower bound)

  • SFC B||

    In the entire history of professional baseball there is one pitcher who has gone 10+ years without missing a start.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Whether the rules are stupid or not is immaterial to the fact that Armstrong voluntarily participated in the the Tour de France with full knowledge that doping was against the rules and lied about compliance with those rules. Part of good sportsmanship is making a good faith effort to comply with the rules of the game and to hold your performance and that of other players to that good faith understanding of the rules. If you don't like the rules of the game, find another game to play or try to change the rules.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Look, no one is saying that Armstrong didn't agree to a contract to obey the rules.

    The discussion is if the rules in place are the result of a backwards mindset in the culture (and yes in the government, which we all know, pulls a lot of strings in the world of sports, ie baseball). That mindset might be leaving us with dysfunctional mess and it might serve us better to reform those rules.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Should we reform the rules? Sure.

    However, I'd rather not toss good sportsmanship on the funeral pyre in our rush to be rid of bad rules.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    If we consistently applied the same methods that were used to rectify the Lance Armstrong situation to all of sports, then the entire concept of competition is ultimately a ruined.

    Think about, Armstrong was found guilty of doing something that basically everyone else was doing. If the penalties were more consistent (in the quest for "good sportsmanship" across the board) basically, no one deserved to win the Tour de France, and we might as well have not even had the event at all from 1999-2006.

  • Heedless||

    1903 - 2012, you mean.

  • ||

    basically, no one deserved to win the Tour de France, and we might as well have not even had the event at all from 1999-2006.

    Wouldn't have broken my heart, but from the perspective of the organizers, I'd say that's true - if everybody was breaking the rules, they were all being unsportsmanlike, and nobody should have won.

    However, the organizers in cycling get less of a pass on that front, because they've basically winked away the inconvenient fact that their rules were being flouted in the pursuit of more excitement and TV endorsements. If you can't or won't hold your athletes to the alleged standards you set, you should either do away with the standards or stop holding competitions.

  • American||

    "Lance Armstrong Cheated to Win. Why is that Wrong?"
    I think the point is that Mr. Gillespe sees nothing wrong with Lance Armstrong's action's.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    taking your cue on morality from the IOC is the very definition of irony.

    No kidding. The Olympics should take up permanent residence in some totalitarian shithole. It's too bad he's gone; Ceausescu's Romania would have been a perfect fit.

  • Disgusted Dem||

    I suspect some of the hysteria about PED's has to do with some bending of the truth by sports journalists. Ex-athletes have admitted that there was use of amphetamines and steroids by athletes going back several decades. A former baseball pitcher believes that PED use in MLB was worse during his time in the 70's than it was in the late 90's. Sports journalists turned a blind eye to all of this until finally the public started to ask more questions about it. The sports journalists had to create the story of modern times being the "steroid era" so that their decades long silence on PED use would not be held against them. And their creation of the idea that PED use is only a very recent phenomenon has led to the moral outrage against athletes who have been caught.

  • American||

    A point in this article is that because cycling is unfair, that justifies making it less fair. This is a characteristic two-wrongs-make-a-right arguemnt. Firstly, the sport is not about being "fair." It is a test of strength and devotion. Reason writers wonder about why people would "zooming down one-lane, winding mountain passes with eager teenagers ringing cowbells in your face." It's because they enjoy the sport. No one enjoys any of the side effects of performance anhansing drugs. They don't want to have to do drugs to win sports. After all, sports aren't just about winning, remember when we used to play them as children, they were fun. Now a certain poriton of you are libertines, who think that an action is only immoral if it violates someone else's rights. I am not a libertine. For one, lying and cheating are wrong, period. If Lance wanted to do drugs he should of joined Gillespe's Drug Leage. And beyond that, I would never watch a sport where I knew the participants had to destroy their bodies to win. I would never want to encourage anybody to do drugs. Drugs are bad, m'kay. Read up on the list of side effects of drugs if you don't believe me.

  • juris imprudent||

    I am not a libertine.

    No shit Sherlock -- you are a full-on mouth-breathing Puritan!

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    1. I despise rules and laws which cannot be effectively enforced. I include speeding and insider trading among these.

    2. Armstrong passed every dope test they could throw at him, which means every stage he won or come in the top three or so, and many he didn't win. This leaves the UCI with two choices: either their anti-doping laws were not effectively enforced, or Armstrong was not a doper.

    3. I see lots of complaints that "everyone was doing it" is not a valid excuse. I say it is. Selective enforcement is what police states do. I repeat, laws which are not or can not be fairly enforced are not laws at all, but the means by which a police state controls its subjects. If everyone WAS doing it, that is an admission that the laws exist only to punish whomever they want for personal reasons.

    4. The UCI's only "proof" is a bunch of snitches who are no doubt getting sweet deals from removing a competitor or not being charged themselves.

    5. Any statute of limitations has long since passed. The reason for a statute of limitations is to prevent bring up stale evidence which cannot be effectively countered.

  • Gladstone||

    I see lots of complaints that "everyone was doing it" is not a valid excuse. I say it is. Selective enforcement is what police states do. I repeat, laws which are not or can not be fairly enforced are not laws at all, but the means by which a police state controls its subjects. If everyone WAS doing it, that is an admission that the laws exist only to punish whomever they want for personal reasons.

    Someone should bring this up the next time someone posts some story of police brutality or corruption.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Yes, because using PEDs to win a contest is EXACTLY like police beating, killing, and stealing. EXACTLY.

    The purpose of banning PEDs is to prevent unfair advantages. Those "unfair advantages" disappear when using PEDs becomes so widespread as to be ubiquitous; the reason for the ban evaporates.

    The purpose of banning police brutality and corruption is to prevent police brutality and corruption. It's purpose does not evaporate because it becomes widespread; it just becomes more of an imperative to figure out a way to better enforce the rules, because the current methods aren't working.

  • ||

    Yes, because using PEDs to win a contest is EXACTLY like police beating, killing, and stealing. EXACTLY.

    For the purposes of that logical construction, yes. The only difference is that you've made a moral judgment that beating, killing and stealing are more wrong than cheating at sports. If such an arbitrary distinction were the basis of the same analysis in reverse by a state-sympathizing moralist, I doubt you'd be persuaded by their logic. That's not say you aren't right, only to say that we should recognize that every legal philosophy must by its nature be based on a moral premise, whether you agree with that moral premise or not.

  • Gladstone||

    For the purposes of that logical construction, yes. The only difference is that you've made a moral judgment that beating, killing and stealing are more wrong than cheating at sports. If such an arbitrary distinction were the basis of the same analysis in reverse by a state-sympathizing moralist, I doubt you'd be persuaded by their logic

    Yes. I doubt if some cop gave the "everybody does it defense" to say why it is unfair that he should be imprisoned for beating up some homeless guy I doubt anyone here would be sympathetic but I bet plenty of cops would.

    I was pointing out that such a blanket endorsement of the "everybody does it defense" is rather....problematic. The logical conclusion of that argument is the "tu quoque" fallacy.

  • ||

    I quite agree - my quibble was with Generic Stranger try to negate the equivalence with nothing but his moral judgment, because I think he'd be quite inclined to disagree with anyone else applying his same argument.

    OT, but speaking of police beatings, here's a nice one from my home town: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50.....d-janitor/

    4 years for beating a mentally handicapped janitor to death. Not bad, eh?

  • American||

    As a supporter of capitalism, I believe it is the best economic and political system. That doesn't mean it isn't deeply flawed. This article shows that. When I was a kid my firends and I would always play soccer during recess. We weren't pursueing fame or money, and we weren't doing it for others. We did it for ourselves, because it was fun. We built up our bodies because we wanted to be strong, we wanted to be attractive. But professional sports, worth millions of dollars, has become corrupted. The athletes are after money and fame, outward success rather than internal happiness. Rather than being true to themselves, they are literally sacrificing their bodies to the pursuit of other people's fleeting glances and other people's money, to spend mostly on sybols of wealth, so that they can gain other people's fleeting glances. In the process what do they get out of it? If you build up a fortune only to die a painfully[1] alone in your mansion, your wife having left you after you went roid-rage on her, what was the point? This is why most athletes don't want drugs in sports, and this is why I would never watch Gillespe's Tour de Roids. This is a moral case against use of these drugs. There are some people who glorify a world of "do whatever the hell you want" and think of immorality only as the violation of other people's rights. I am not one of those people.
    1. The internet has a lot of information on the negative side effects of these drugs.

  • MJGreen||

    You get more ridiculous with each post.

    A professional sport is not the same as a hobby or - for crying out loud! - children playing a game at recess. It's great that your grand dad cycled for fun or honest competition, and games with friends are obviously for fun. Enhancing your performance, then showing off when you win, would be dickish. It would undermine the whole point of the game, which is to bond and have fun. But a professional sport is not about that. For the athlete, it's about winning. For the organizers and viewers, it's about hosting/watching an exciting game. If you want to watch a game played "honestly" and for fun, go to your local park. And with or without drugs, professional athletes are already sacrificing their health for the sake of victory.

    I'll do math exercises on my phone when I have a few minutes. I don't use a calculator or even a pencil and paper, because that would diminish the point of the exercise. That doesn't mean engineers and accountants shouldn't use calculators in their jobs. We're both doing math, but at different levels and for different ends. How can you not get that?

  • American||

    Math is not a zero sum game. Sports are. Performance enhancing drugs would not "enhance" anything, really, they would just make everything more painfull.(literally, the side effects are not good) Athletes don't want to take drugs to win. And they don't want to play with people who do. My point was an ideological one about a society that encourages people to destroy their bodies for no rational reason. The "children playing a game at recess" is a metaphor. People want to win. I get that. But some of them surelly don't want to destroy their bodies. And they still won't win, if everyone else does it.

  • Almanian.||

    Athletes don't want to take drugs to win. And they don't want to play with people who do.

    Right. Sure.

  • ||

    Athletes don't want to take drugs to win. And they don't want to play with people who do.

    If that were the case, then how on earth did drugs get so implacably embedded into every major professional sport? Did the team owners force the players to take the drugs? Did the fans? Did the sponsors?

  • ||

    There are some people who glorify a world of "do whatever the hell you want" and think of immorality only as the violation of other people's rights.

    Right. Those are called "libertarians".

    I am not one of those people.

    Then why are you wasting your time at a libertarian website reading articles written by libertarians to be consumed by libertarians? Just to piss yourself off?

  • sarcasmic||

    I normally don't have nice things to say about Kennedy, but that was well done.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I have been kind of curiously following this story as it appeared in Reason (I lack the stamina to chase it elsewhere), and have yet to see a firm statement that there is concrete evidence that he violated the rules. Are their drugs which are both against the rules and impossible to detect with a post-race drug test? If not, do we actually have any evidence other than hearsay unearthed by what appears to be an open-ended witch hunt? My understanding of the 'investigation' is that it took the form of multiple cycles of "Well, we didn't get proof this time, so we'll change the rules until we 'get' him.". Am I wrong?

    Maybe I'm totally off base here, but it seems to me that the question isn't "Why is it wrong for Armstrong to have cheated?" but "Why aren't respectable athletes tarring and feathering the second-rate Joe McCarthy who drove Armstrong from cycling?".

    IF there are performance enhancing drugs that cannot be detected by test, then having a rule against them has to be worse for cycling than their use, because there is no defense an honest athlete can mount against a competitor's accusation. If there are no such drugs, then Armstrong either raced clean, or managed to defeat the tests in spite of the large numbers of chances the authorities had to catch him … and should therefore probably be hired by the CIA, because he's obviously James Bond.

  • ||

    Yeah. My only real complaints about the Reason coverage have been their assumption that he did cheat, and their insistence he's some sort of "sanctimonious jerk". That really rankles, and I'm not even a cycling or Armstrong fan. It just seems unwarranted.

  • Almanian.||

    Yep - this. I've seen no "evidence" - therefore find it ironic that Reason's basically convicted him based on heresay, which they normally never accept.

    And "sanctimonious"? How, exactly?

    Not seeing it. This was a witch hunt, and a poor one at that.

  • juris imprudent||

    You FOOL, have you no idea the harm witches can do? Society must be saved from this scourge -- uh, for the children!

    Herp Derp

  • ||

    And "sanctimonious"? How, exactly?

    Acting like a whiny bitch about being drug tested and asserting your moral and physical superiority by insisting you didn't take drugs when Pollyanna herself would look naive for thinking you didn't. And then capping it off with emotionally exploitative constant reminders that you survived cancer, as if that somehow makes you a better or more honest person.

  • Almanian.||

    Right, never heeard "moral and physical superiority", nor "constant reminders" about cancer.

    Perhaps you watch more TV than I do.

    In the end - no evidence, and "whatever."

    Witch hunt.

  • ||

    Oh FFS, give me a break. You've never seen a banner ad or TV commercial or junk mailing with Lance Armstrong's super cereal mug staring back at you in black and white over a "livestrong" graphic? You don't think it's a little dickish to pretend like you're some fucking superman who's morally and ethically superior to your fellow competitors by denying vehemently you've ever touched a performance enhancer when doping in the cycling world is, as was pointed out in the original piece and extensively here in the comments, as common as bears shitting in the woods?

    Lance Armstrong being a sanctimonious prick and also the victim of a with hunt are not mutually exclusive propositions - I was just trying to provide a justification for the description.

  • Alice Bowie||

    It'a a bicycle race for gods sake. Who cares.

    I don't understand. If he ate healthy, did he cheat?

    But, on the other hand, if the requirements are that you have to eat two hotdogs a day to run in my race, I guess if you don't do it, you cheated.

  • Almanian.||

    I'm interested in any race the requirements for which include eating two hotdogs.

  • David Emami||

    "He's good, alright. But he's no Clem Johnson. And Johnson played back in the days before steroid injections were mandatory."

  • Redmanfms||

    Quoting Futurama, really? Really?

  • Fluffy||

    he is discussing subverting officials and cheating. avoiding their intervention while changing the dynamics of the game

    Part of the game is the individual human limitations of the officials.

    I don't see the Atlanta Braves giving back all the division championships they won because umpires falsely believed their pitching staff was hitting the corners of the strike zone.

    Why didn't Tom Glavine interrupt the game after every strike call to say, "No, umpire. That was a ball. It was clearly low, and below the batter's knees, like ALL of my pitches. An automated strike calling computer would not have given me that pitch. I am clearly getting that pitch called as a strike because human officials are physically limited and subject to bias"?

    Because a strike is "what an umpire calls a strike". And holding in football, or defensive pass interference, is "what generates a flag". No flag? No infraction.

  • Fluffy||

    Saying the government should not ban drugs is not the same thing as saying a private organization shouldn't

    In this context, the decision of that private organization to ban drugs is based on a false model of "fairness" that is leeching its way out of sports and starting to infect society in general.

    Although I enjoy sports, I have to admit one thing. The best definition of "sport" I can think of is "a competition to accomplish a task that is utterly valueless, entered into with arbitrary limitations regarding the methods you can use to accomplish that task." And it's really and truly pernicious that we use something with that definition to teach young people the meaning of the word "fair". Because they take that definition of the word "fair" and say things like "It's not fair that people take cognitive enhancing drugs to be smarter in real life" or "It's not fair that newspapers are going out of business because of the internet" or similar statements.

    They're applying the "sports" definition of fair, where anything that gives anyone an advantage, or anything that changes underlying arbitrary rules, isn't "fair".

    So fuck yeah, I'm going to piss in the general direction of anyone trying to enforce that vision.

  • np||

    Pike's Peak in auto-racing is the only sport I can think of that defies the conventional "arbitrary limitations regarding the methods you can use to accomplish that task" There are various divisions and an unlimited division, which the only one of its kind in auto-racing, where anything goes so long as it passes safety inspection (for situations like this)

    The only human sport that was practically unlimited was the Pankration

  • Fluffy||

    WTF are you talking about?

    To hit a home run in baseball, here are the arbitrary limitations in place:

    1. The batter has to stand in the batter's box.

    2. He must use a regulation bat.

    3. He must bat during his turn in the batting order.

    Without "arbitrary limitations", all 20 guys on the team could get together and build a cannon to shoot a baseball into the stands and it would count as a home run.

  • np||

    Arbitrary limitations with regards to the goals in the concept of the game. If the goal is to hit a home run with your body and the bat, then that's not a limitation, as it's a part of the definition.

    If the goal is to simply move the ball in the air as far as possible, the sure, a canon shooting the ball would be appropriate. But of course, that changes the entire concept of the game as it would no longer be baseball.

    Of course there are arbitrary rules. Like strike area vs ball area. Why 3 strikes? Why not 4? Or 2? etc.

    Anyways, my point is to have withing the concept of the game, to remove limitations on human players.

    There can be baseball league where everyone is rigorously tested, perhaps after every game even. And there should be another league or division where anything goes for human performance, just like the example I gave about Pike's Peak racing: there are various divisions, as well as an unlimited division.

  • np||

    There isn't much of a rational basis behind these kinds of rules. You can argue that all the advances in health sciences and sports medicine are unnatural. Most of the rules in sports come down to try to equalize outcomes. And the sport becomes more restrictive as more teams complain. There should be a league where anything goes, that pushes physiological limits, but the problem is that you know the government would not allow that.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Now this is the aspect that should make the libertarian in all of us wince. Why are drugs bad? Because they’re bad, that’s why."

    Apparently, performance enhancing drugs have no dangerous short or long term side-effects that the governing bodies could be sued for ignoring if PEDs were officially condoned as standard equipment.

    If being against drug prohibition requires you to deny that many drugs have potentially dangerous effects, han libertarians are more committed to ideology than truth.

  • Fluffy||

    No rationally constructed tort system would allow anyone to sue a sports organization for failing to prevent the competitor from taking a particular PED.

    It would be like me suing the NFL because I falsely believed I could be an offensive lineman if I bulked up by eating a lot of bacon.

    Any polity where such a suit wouldn't be laughed out of court on its filing day is an unjust system to begin with and has larger problems.

    So "Darn you libertarians! This is just what sports organizations have to do to protect themselves against lawsuits!" doesn't impress me. Since I'm also against the frivolous lawsuits, that's not my moral problem.

    What you fail to realize is that I don't care if the drugs are harmful or not. It's literally irrelevant to the terms of the argument. If they're so darn harmful, you can protect yourself from them by using the simple expedient of not taking them. Problem solved.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "No rationally constructed tort system would allow anyone to sue a sports organization for failing to prevent the competitor from taking a particular PED."

    Who said the tort system was rational? And PED bans may be a rational defense to the irrational system in place.

    "What you fail to realize is that I don't care if the drugs are harmful or not."

    Good for you! That was not the argument made in the article, however.

  • Fluffy||

    The article is claiming, quite rightly, that the opponents of these drugs feel no apparent reason to even attempt to make a coherent case that the drugs are harmful.

    A real case against the drugs would have to account for the fact that Lance Armstrong isn't dead.

    He's not dead, and is a former cancer sufferer.

    So these drugs can make a cancer survivor into a world-class athlete.

    A real discussion of the merits of the drugs would have to account for both the risks and the benefits of the drugs, and would also have to account for the subjective time value of both the risks and the benefits. For example, it would be utterly absurd to describe a theoretical drug that will make me get cancer when I'm 80 but would double my IQ between now and then as so unacceptably dangerous that it has to be illegal.

    And such analyses are never done. Never. The only analysis ever done, EVER, is "well drugs are bad and OH NO HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES!" Fuck high school athletes.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "No rationally constructed tort system would allow anyone to sue a sports organization for failing to prevent the competitor from taking a particular PED."

    Several thousand former NFL players are suing the league essentially for failing to prevent those players from playing after they received head injuries during their careers.

  • np||

    No one is denying drugs aren't potentially harmful. But then this is purely a matter of degree. Drinking too much water can kill you.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Why are drugs bad? Because they’re bad, that’s why."

    That is not a denial that (some) drugs have dangerous side effects? The article's argument is that there is never a rationale for banning a PED, because admitting that there are hurts the anti-drug war cause.

  • np||

    No. I guess you must not understand sarcasm. If you think that's a denial then it why limit it to just some type of drugs when ALL substances, legal and illegal have dangerous side effects. It's just a matter of degree.

    I don't see where you got that conclusion from and the nowhere in the article and the video, and no one here (when not being sarcastic) states that drugs are free from potential harm.

    Lack of discussing the bad effects from overdosing does NOT imply they are completely safe, since, again nothing is completely safe. However, the fact is, they can be used safely.

  • triclops||

    I am happy to see Armstrong suffer. He was a sanctimonious, vindictive asshole to so many, including his own friends and family.

    That said, pro cycling comes out no better. They totally had a vendetta out for him. Everyone else was cheating, so to single him out is quite ridiculous.

    Bad guys all around.

    The PED bans in sports are just society trying to maintain a pleasant fiction, not sure how to address that one.

  • mr simple||

    A Sheryl Crow fan, eh?

  • samsonsworld@gmail.com||

    Its wrong because it tells every young athlete that to even compete in the sport that they also have to take steroids and other drugs. I've heard people from this era of cycling say that to even be on the team in a race like the Tour de France, you had to be doping.

    Treat it this way, and you'll find that every 16,17 year old kid who dreams of being a cyclist in the Tour de France is taking steroids and other drugs. Because, they'll be told that this is what they have to do to be successful.

    This will of course be followed by the severe health problems that follow as they get a little older and start to face the long-term effects of doing this to your body. It will be every kid who dreams of playing in the NBA or NFL if they took drug testing out of those sports too. In short, look around your neighborhood, see every kid who's playing sports, every kid who dreams of being successful at sports, and picture them all doing these drugs because the one thing they'll no for sure is that every other kid who dreams of being a successful athlete is taking them and that there's no chance at all of them achieving their dream if they don't.

    This is one case where it makes a lot of sense to draw a line in a sane place and make it against the rules of the game to take performance enhancing drugs. Its called health and fairness.

  • joey89924||

    some entirely different thing should be banned?

    http://www.hqew.net/product-da.....Sheet.html

  • Danno||

    Looking the other way as a signal to say PEDs are OK is a problem. It grooms cynical dishonesty which is a problem. See Rome. The honest rider who may win without drugs will never win under an intentionally dishonest system In many ways an analogue is the banking system. Destruction is baked in.

  • Robert Jordan||

    If you're fighting a war, or rescuing someone from a fire, then by all means, cheat.

    If you're participating in a sporting event in which you agreed by your participation to abide by certain terms, then abide by the terms.

    Freedom requires personal responsibility. BE honorable.

  • Generic Viagra||

    I think it should be allowed to use doping in sport - the athletes play with passion.

    Thanks.

  • DR KRunk||

    My opinion is that we should not only encourage doping among pro athletes, we should DEMAND it. Random drug testing should be used to verify that they've taken their steroids, not to ensure they are "clean," whatever "clean" means. The US public doesn't care about "fair competition" - we want hybrid human monsters competing in some super-human realm. That's why we hate soccer but love the NFL. What's better than a 350 lb glistening black man who can jump 5' vertically to catch a ball thrown milliseconds ago, intended for someone else, then run the length of the field in 12 seconds, all while smashing opponents into the ground along the way. THAT is entertaining sport. And pro athletes get into the game knowing that's what we want. Take Barry Bonds. Please. (rim-shot)

    But back to Lance.
    Cycling aside - Lance should get some kind of international award for figuring out a way to put - and keep - stage four testicular cancer in remission. Everyone forgets how screwed he was - the cancer had spread to his BRAIN for crissake - and liver, and bones. That's pretty much the end of the road for most folks. Pat Robertson would call what Lance (an atheist) accomplished via science a "miracle".

    And then there's LiveStrong. $Millions of donations that actually made it where they were intended. What have YOU done lately to forward cancer research Mr. Anti-Doping Prick?
    Yeah...that's what I thought.

  • DR KRunk||

    DR, You are obviously a sage and witty pundit. A genius no doubt. Bravo. Here Here. I could not agree more.

  • TimothyZ||

    Say what you will, but someone had to be the fastest and go the farthest.

  • Jim Walsh||

    Liberace as a what convention?

  • TimothyZ||

    Anyone who thinks you can just take steroids without effort and win the Tour De France (as well as setting several world records) is full of crap. Lance worked just as hard and was just as talented as any other athlete. Personally, I want to see sports demonstrate the limits of human capability. Lance did just that. He'll always be a hero of mine.

    PS I am on the market for Livestrong merchandise. I bet I could find some cheap. I should start wearing that stuff.

  • TimothyZ||

    Whoops, already commented on this thread. I thought it was another website. Sorry.

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