John McCain

China Envy


OK, this will be my last post for a while either about steroids or the Puffington Host (I can quit anytime, honest!). But nothing better demonstrates the horrifyingly illiberal mindset of the government-enabling jock-sniffers than, well, Jim Lampley:

In China, sports authorities deternmined after the disqualification of the women's swim team at the 1992 World Championships that they wanted to be on the clean side of this controversy. So these days in China if a state-supported athlete tests positive for an Olympics-banned substance they face a fine and a jail term. The second positive test brings a lifetime ban. When the Chinese try to win the medal count from us at the 2008 Beijing Olympoics, they will be competing cleanly. Will we?

I hear they've also got great ideas about population control and campaign finance reform, Jimbo.

For those of you who don't give a rat's ass about sports, and don't see harassing millionaire athletes as any kind of big deal, just realize this—Congress is currently considering setting up federally required random drug tests for amateur athletes as well, even down to the high school level. That knock on your front door could be because your teenager has the audacity to play organized soccer. And because John McCain has the audacity to use the federal government like Al Capone used a baseball bat.

NEXT: I Did Not Know That!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I suggest every Jim Lampley column get a write up about it here at H & R. His stuff is hysterical. Who is he anyway? I’ve never even heard of him before.

  2. Can’t wait for the investingation into the doping of Mathletes.

  3. Ben — He’s a well known and widely respected sports broadcaster; been around for three or four decades. I think he has a show on HBO or one of them cussin’ channels now, and he covers boxing a lot.

  4. Lampley is the main boxing play-by-play guy for nearly all PPV events and for HBO Boxing. And a pompous jackass to boot

    I can’t believe he’s applauding the Chinese sports commission on anything. Don’t they force Yao to pay back something like 30% of his salary

  5. on the one hand, that’s gross.

    on the other hand, fans are often somewhat blind to the greater implications of their loves. star wars fans don’t think about the plastics used to make their costumes, for example. sports fans are often not big on politics beyond the focus of their sport.

    on my left foot, however, what a fucking douchebag.

  6. Funny, when I think “Communist country”, “Olympic Sports” and “doping”, then “prohibition” isn’t usually the next word that comes to mind.

  7. So we’re still holding on to the notion that Olympians are amateur athletes?

  8. You know, in some ways I have no problem with banning steroid use in athletic competition. It might be a silly and arbitrary policy, but the whole idea of organized athletic competition is that it’s, well, organized. The event sponsors dictate the terms under which the competition will occur. Those who agree to those terms can participate.

    So if Olympic authorities decide to bar athletes who test positive for steroids, well, they dictate the sizes of the balls used, the dimensions of the playing fields, the rules for calling plays, the acceptable uniforms, the lengths of the fencing swords, the masses of the shots that are put, and just about every other detail.

    Now, they might find it difficult to enforce these rules, they might find that excellent athletes are barred by these rules, and they might find that fans are turned off when excellent athletes are barred. So they might find that it makes sense to give up on these rules. Or maybe not. Whatever.

    So I’m hardly in the pro-steroid camp.

    But I don’t see how it’s a matter for federal regulation. Let the Olympic authorities sort it out.

    (And yes, I realize that the Olympic games have all sorts of government involvement, both direct and indirect. But that is hardly an argument for even more government involvement.)

  9. I hear they’ve also got great ideas about population control

    Honestly. Does anyone really want to imagine a world where China *doesn’t* exercise some population control? “These fantastically priced DVD players at Wal-Mart are made of people! PEOPLE!”

  10. “2008 Beijing Olympoics”

    Jeez, if I’m a semi-famous sports guy posting on a semi-popularly read website, I might, just might, read my post before posting. At least people here correct themselves with another post, which, by the way, you guys don’t really need to do that, ok?

  11. larrylegend — Um, I think WE make him pay back a lot more than 30% of his salary. Check your tax brackets?

  12. If I were in charge of China, I think I’d focus on giving steroids to people who actually generate revenue rather than people who don’t. The state-supported amateur athletes don’t generate any revenue (OK, Yao Ming does now). But those sewatshop employees generate lots o’ wealth.

  13. …they will be competing cleanly. Will we?

    Substitute “won’t be getting caught” for “will be competing cleanly” and he’s got a more accurate and interesting piece.

  14. Mike, a world without chinese population control measures is EXACTLY the kind of world I would hope for. Compulsory birth control is UNCONSCIONABLE. You should read some of Julian Simon’s thoughts on population growth, and whether it is a good or bad thing.

  15. I’m trying to remember, was it a 70s National Lampoon that had the pic of the East German women’s track team, and each of them seemed to have male plumbing, to judge from the way the trunks hung. I thought it was very funny but my girlfriend was very offended.

  16. I’m almost totally against the government having anything to do with this shit.

    But it seems reasonable to say that steroid use was a well-established practice in baseball, and that MLB more-or-less tried to keep this under wraps.

    I think that’s a problem. Truth has intrinsic value. Not an all-trumping summum bonum, but it is universally recognized as a good, and its opposite as problematic. So baseball more-or-less trying to hide the truth is bad, and…well, I don’t think the answer lies in government per se.

    But on the other hand, in the wake of the revelations, I’m not entirely sanguine about *nothing* happening. Even if people don’t really give a shit. It’s the setting of another bad precedent. It’s like a public health hazard. Not the steroid use itself – what do I give a crap about that?? – but the acceptance of baseball’s quasi-deceptions. A true public health hazard warrants action taken at the civilian-government level. And I see some aspects of this issue that fit the description.

    It’s a little like knowing that your government is occasionally using torture, and over time coming to accept it. It sort of corrupts the mind. I think it applies to me as much as anyone else.

    I’d bet there are some parallels with tobacco companies, although I think that people were more aware of the health hazards of tobacco than the truth-hazards of baseball’s steroid hush campaign.

  17. Don’t they force Yao to pay back something like 30% of his salary
    And Uncle Sam would be taking what? 39% The question is, does he gets a credit, a deduction or take it in the shorts by the IRS? If it’s a credit, I wonder if I can get a deal like that.

  18. I’ve speculated before on how long it would be until all employers are required to give drug tests, same way they are now required to make sure employees are citizens or green-card holders. Just watch: this will turn out to be the first step down that road.

  19. Jennifer, this is more like the tenth or twelfth step down that road.

  20. RC-
    Which number this step is is debatable, I think. I still say number one, for this reason: The rules requiring testing of airline pilots or nuclear plant operators–well, those could be excused on the grounds of safety, even though there’s no evidence that ANYBODY has ever been harmed because a pilot or nuclear engineer was too stoned to do a good job. The rule that federal employees must be tested–well, you can make the argument that if the Feds are the employer, they can dictate terms of employment. But this sports thing? There’s no possible public-safety issue, and the athletes aren’t government employees. That’s why, even though I don’t care about sports at all, this concerns me far more than previous drug-test laws.

  21. Jennifer:

    I know you jest LUV to trumpet that chicken-little doomsayer line, but how far will you stretch an issue in order to connect the two? I’m not saying you’re wrong in your prediction, but, how exactly does the steroid issue jive with it? In the government’s war on “controlled substances”, this is just another paver in the road to tyranny. The steroid issue, which is important, should be debated on its own merits, however, and not convoluted by extrapolating it into “mandatory drug tests by all employers!” There are many other signs that point much more strongly towards your prediction.

  22. Evan-
    So you think the leagues will test ONLY for steroids, and ignore signs of marijauna use?

    As for the question “how does the steroid issue jive with mandatory drug-testing of all employees,” I’m wondering if you cross-posted, and made your comment before I posted my response to RC.

  23. Aw, c’mon, keep posting about me.


    The Puffington Host.

  24. > of them cussin’ channels…

    Love that!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.