Have we stopped caring about cheats in sport ?

Here’s an
excellent article by the Guardian’s Lawrence Donegan about doping in sport.

He says the news that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz (right) – of the Boston Red Sox- tested positive for drugs in 2003 has been greeted by the U.S public with :

” … a level of indifference it usually reserves for French political affairs.”

5 members of the Jamaican sprint team failed drugs tests ;

“another so-called scandal that had the same shelf life as unpasteurised milk in a heat wave. The public doesn’t care about athletes taking drugs”

Two other recent stories to chew over :

* 3 top riders thrown out of this year’s Tour De France ..

bath cheats* 3 Bath Rugby players – left –  (it’s a strange sport played with an odd-shaped ball if you’re not familiar with it) suspended for 9 months for missing drug tests..

But some fans don’t care : here’s an excerpt from a match report when Ortiz appeared in the first of a 4 game series against the Yankees.

” Yankees fans were surprisingly placid when the 33-year-old emerged for batting practice. Fans seated near the dugout prodded him for autographs, including several wearing Yankee jerseys. After BP, Ortiz tossed two baseballs into the crowd and signed a few items while he talked casually with autograph seekers.He also gave a pair of batting gloves to young fans. No one uttered a derisive word “.

Another columnist – Matthew Syed- wrote this a a couple of months ago about how important it is to win well , to win properly.

He talks about the excellent examples shown by both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and is pleased because :

I used to be a sportsman and when I was coming through the ranks there was a powerful idea in the air. It went something like this: to get to the top you have to be selfish, nasty and, on occasions, morally dubious”

And, as Lawrence says, “do we really want a world in which cheats always win ?” 

47 Responses to “Have we stopped caring about cheats in sport ?”

  1. August 7, 2009 at 12:36

    If there is indifference to cheating, then it’s already too late. I myself also am indifferent and I don’t care anymore. I guess we’re all tired of it and slipped into a laissez faire mentality.

  2. 2 Ramesh, India
    August 7, 2009 at 12:44

    Well, you didn’t talk about Diego Maradonna! Sports journos like to call him the best or the second best even now. We all knew he not only cheated us with drugs, but also by his hand! Blaming public by a journalist is foolish. Why don’t they first boycott such sport persons and then ask the question to public – do we really want a world in which cheats always win ?

  3. 3 patti in cape coral
    August 7, 2009 at 13:18

    I’m not much into sports, but I thought that sports was about testing the human body’s limits, and teamwork and such. I didn’t think it was about testing how efficacious drugs are, or how good a conman you are. When you cheat, it ceases to be sport, and if you win, it ceases to be a win. There is just no point to it anymore. If you cheat to win, you haven’t proven that you are the best, you’ve only proved that you will do anything to appear to be the best.

    Unfortunately, it is so pervasive, people are just getting used to it. I know a couple of months ago every time I turned on NPR, someother sports person was caught with illegal performance-enhancing drugs in their system. All I could think was, again?, and move on. After a while, it makes you think that all of them are doing it.

  4. 4 Peter Gizzi UK
    August 7, 2009 at 14:12

    Hi All,
    Like Patti in Cape Coral I’m not much into sport. Today it is just another way of making money, is that sport?

    When I consider how dishonest our government has been shown to be why should anybody anywhere be honest in any pursuit.? The law is applied to us but not to them. Double standards as always!

  5. 5 scmehta
    August 7, 2009 at 14:24

    May be, because the remedy or care is in the the hands of those who are causing the disease. Most of the people, in fact, are so disgusted with the malaise of cheating/fixings that they’d never cared less about the professional games in sports.

  6. 6 Ibrahim in UK
    August 7, 2009 at 14:26

    I remember a comedian on Mock the Week saying that we should have a special Dopers and Cheaters league. All the enhanced athletes can compete against each other. No holds barred all you can pump high intensity competition to entertain us. A bit like drag car racing
    No need for drug testing either.

  7. 7 Methusalem
    August 7, 2009 at 14:42

    Yes! At the just-ended FINA-World Swimming Championship, an astounding 43 world records were set. Are the high-tech swimsuits the only reason? I don’t think so!

    • 8 RightPaddock
      August 8, 2009 at 07:01

      @Methusalem – Shouldn’t that be just-ended FINA-World Wet Suit Championships.

      Next year they’re going to ban the wet suits, but allow the use of flippers so they can have the FINA-World Flipper Championships – Dolphins and Porpoises are not welcome.

  8. 9 nora
    August 7, 2009 at 14:49

    The great Babe Ruth drank like a fish, liked the ladies and used the available drugs of his time. I like to apply the Babe standard to sport. I love sports, I have never wanted a broad moral standard for sportsmen that differs from the rest of us. Personally, I would rather look at doping in the bank sector…..

    August 7, 2009 at 14:56

    Sports are all about elevation of individual image, advertisement and minting of money by all parties involved in participating and running of such events. Let’s be honest, who checks musicians and other celebrities? They too get away with a lot of flaws until nature catches up with some of them like Michael Jackson. Fans do not care a whit whether drugs are used or not.

    However, I do agree that you have to toe the lines when you enroll with clubs. After all, you are never there as free guest. If they are dumped, there’s still more talent in the reservoir. There is no hidin; you will be caught when you breech the contract and where applicable you have to pay back. TAKE CARE!

  10. 11 Jennifer
    August 7, 2009 at 15:14

    Haven’t people stopped caring about sports altogether? I am not a sports fan myself.

    As for performance ehhancing drugs, why are these people paid so much anyway? When using drugs, they alone are not winning truly by their abilities so it should be bittersweet for them.

  11. 12 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 7, 2009 at 15:35

    Firstly you can’t compare drug taking in sports like tennis and athletics. So Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal aren’t good examples because their sport requires more skill to win than strength and endurance. Hypothetically no matter how much drugs Andy Roddick takes he’ll never consistently beat Federer or Nadal. Instead he has to improve his skill.

    On the other hand athletics and cycling are sports that demand mostly strength and endurance to win hence the reason athletes are drawn to performance enhancing substances.


  12. 13 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 7, 2009 at 15:40

    @Ramesh, India

    The reason Diego Maradonna wasn’t mentioned is because he tested positive for cocaine which is not a perfomance enhancement drug.

  13. 14 Tom K in Mpls
    August 7, 2009 at 15:54

    Money can ruin anything. US point of view, baseball was boring and steroids made it inane. NASCAR was great when it involved stock cars, now with Dale dead, *yawn*. I do appreciate and respect the attitude and principles of the Green Bay Packers. This is a community owned team that stands out in many ways for this very reason.

  14. 15 Dan
    August 7, 2009 at 16:27

    As a Red Sox fan, I was disappointed that David Ortiz tested positive in 2003, but sadly not surprised. The entire era of Major League Baseball from the mid-90s up to around 2005 has been tainted with performance enhancing drugs (this is the era of Barry Bonds, et al). Since MLB started testing vigorously in 2004, it appears that the use of steroids at least has waned. Unfortunately there is no test for human growth hormones, so there’s no way to tell to what extent they are being (ab)used. I don’t think any of this has made me indifferent to cheating… obviously I wish athletes would resist the temptation to cheat, and be punished severely when they do. But it has made me resigned to the fact that many if not most athletes DO cheat, and until the public stops supporting them by buying tickets and merchandise that is unlikely to change.

  15. August 7, 2009 at 17:00

    Sportsmen who use performance enhancing drugs are mere fakes. If I have to pay to watch a sportsman using drugs to look spectacular, I’d better go to the movie to watch fictional characters like Spiderman, Batman and Superman. I know in advance that all the actions are fiction and based on special effects. It’s not the same as watching a “hero” on the podium receiving a worthless medal.

    It must be a great disappointment for fans who take a sportsman as a role model only to discover that he’s fake. Perhaps the greatest deceiver in the history of sport was the former East Germany which created Olympic medalists by injecting them with drugs, especially female champions who now look odd and feel bitter and sick.

  16. 17 Julia in Portland
    August 7, 2009 at 17:22

    I think that cheating has made a big difference in how I look at players….I resent that they’ve take something I love and made it rotten in many ways. Cheating is exactly that ‘CHEATING’.

    I know that we put pressure on athletes to out perform but they need to keep the integrity and avoid cheating, otherwise their thick necks and bulging biceps are just another indication that our sports aren’t real and the competition is fixed.

  17. 18 steve
    August 7, 2009 at 18:35

    Did anyone care when East Germany would systematically cheat and basically had females turn into males from steroids to compete in the olympics? It was obvious, yet nobody said or did anything.

  18. 19 Brad
    August 7, 2009 at 18:38

    The fans in Baseball do not realy care, they will pay to see a steroid pumped player hit long home runs and that is what provides the excitement and when fans are excited they pay more money.



  19. 20 steve
    August 7, 2009 at 18:38

    Someone please send some steroids to Baltimore so they can actually make the darn playoffs! They haven’t been to the world series in 26 years!

  20. 21 Vladi
    August 7, 2009 at 18:40

    I do care if athlete use steroids because, pun intended, it doesn’t make for an even playing field.

    It”s OK for me to suspend disbelief when I go to a movie or play because I understand before hand that what I’m seeing is not real but following baseball, which I have for almost 20 years, I don’t want to have to suspend disbelief. I expect that the athletes are the real deal and NOT enhanced by steroids.

  21. 22 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    August 7, 2009 at 18:41

    I don’t follow much in the way of US pro sports and this is one of the reasons. I also don’t encourge my neices or nephews get too involved or wrapped up in our pro sports here. the players no longer represent the kind of hero figures I want to see kids looking up to. better to have children idolize real mentors who represent constructive, usefull, productive endevours like space exploration and naturalist studies.

  22. 23 Keith Chima
    August 7, 2009 at 18:47

    I agree with comedian Daniel Tosh, with the modest proposal that all athletes should be FORCED to use steroids! That is the only way we can ensure a level playing field. Hahaha

  23. 24 Lucas Haley
    August 7, 2009 at 18:52

    Would there be such a fuss if a professional WWE wrestler was found to be doping? Along the spectrum of sports to entertainment, most televised sports are further along the line to entertainment. I would be a lot more angry if the teammates of my local soccer team were cheating than the soap-opera-like characters of pro sports.

  24. 25 steve
    August 7, 2009 at 18:53

    Remember the Canadian Ben Johnson who was stripped of his gold medal for having tested positive for drugs? I think in amateur sports, they take drugs more seriously, but pro sports are about making money, so it’s tolerated.

  25. 26 Keith Chima
    August 7, 2009 at 18:55

    In all seriousness though, as far as pro athletes go, I could care less. Athletes who use steroids risk their own reputation, ultimately. Olympic athletes, however, should be scrutinized and tested several times. The Olympics are a long-standing and honorable celebration of competition, and we owe the athletes a fair environment.

    • 27 Tom K in Mpls
      August 10, 2009 at 15:10

      I was a young teen when TV coverage hit the olympics. Over the next decade I watched all pretext of it’s traditions fall away as advertising money came into play. Since then, I ignore it just the same as any other money game. And when ticket prices to one single event typically go for between $1000 and $2000 US, don’t even try to say it isn’t a money game.

  26. August 7, 2009 at 19:00

    I think you make something out of nothing. As a black woman I find it more insulting that Barry Bonds has been accused but nothing proven. When the frug thing first broke, excuses were made for Mark McGuire. Well, it isn’t against the rules in baseball. Then all of a sudden it’s wrong and that’s not to say it is right. It isn’t and can been deadly. If a guest on public radio is correct, this has been going on since before Sandy Koufax and all. If true, why not speak of all of it.
    No matter what is done, short of murder, baseball up to 1948 is worse, when blacks were not allowed to play and when they did, had lives, homes, threatened. Hank Aaron had his daughter almost kidnapped from a hotel to keep him from breaking babe ruth’s record.

    • 29 James Ian
      August 8, 2009 at 06:57

      Please let’s not bring race into this. Your credibility went out the window as soon as you brought that to the table. Let it go, we are all just humans, some good, some bad, some nice, some mean. Don’t throw your race in my face as an issue and it won’t be. Just be a human.


  27. 30 Michelle
    August 7, 2009 at 19:00

    Maybe we should have a seperate league for those interested in destroying their body’s with steriods! Then the fans can see the “exceptional” play while the playing field is leveled and fair.

  28. 31 Jacob Harris
    August 7, 2009 at 19:00

    If Tiger woods can get Lasic to make his vision better than 20/20 in order to improve his game, some cyclists sleep in high-altitude chambers, and Andre Agassi gets cortisone injections in his shoulder…and yet that is not cheating, how is taking Anabolin to hit harder so egregious? I’m not a sports fan, b ut at best this is a violation of the spirit and not the letter of the game.

  29. 32 Nate, Portland OR
    August 7, 2009 at 19:02

    Ros mentioned a cocaine scandal in rugby, in which many players have been suspended for cocaine use. There’s a big difference between using performance enhancing drugs and recreational drugs. I care a great deal about performance enhancing drugs. I as a fan don’t care a whit about the recreational drug use. If individual leagues wish to uphold some sort of behavioral standard by punishing recreational drug use its their business. I think its stupid, but I’ll remain a fan. Performance enhancing drugs turn me off from watching the sport. If its a sport I play (basketball, both brands of football) I may continue to watch to learn techniques, moves and tactics – but maybe not.

    I lost interest in baseball a long time ago, partly due to the steroids. I’m on the fence regarding American football.

  30. August 7, 2009 at 19:08

    NFL football players apparently do not have to operate by these same drug rules and it doesnt seem to be hurting the sport of football.
    I dont think it is a question of cheating. If the times have changed to the degree that sports players wish to enhance their performence to remain competitive, it should be their choice. I dont think its wise to mess with your physiology in such ways personally.
    I believe the rules should be changed or enforced. The players know that the franchise wont penalize them as long as they earn their way. Enforce the rules or change them before you kill baseball with all the negative publicity.

  31. August 7, 2009 at 19:13

    As a baseball fan, I consider much ado about nothing. Why? In baseball they have yet to make a drug to make you hit a ball. Hand/eye coordination is the ticket. My 7 yr old grandson is great at it already. If cannot hit a ball, taking drugs will do nothing for you but maybe speed up your career do to poor health. these are grown men. Men have always tended to want to become more. Viagra, energy drinks, etc. Some, Manny, Alex, etc., who have proven what they can do and Barry(like I’m going to believe what a couple of white guys wrote about a man the media and no one else, for the most part in white America, likes because they consider him arrogant, read: does not know his place.)have me scratching my head as to why? They never needed it. You have 3 of the purest hitters the game has ever known.

  32. 35 Roberto
    August 7, 2009 at 21:46

    RE ““do we really want a world in which cheats always win ?”

    ———— Gonna make it short and sweet.

    Many in the world have no sense of honour or ethics and would sell their own souls or that of their granny, their wife, children, their friends, or a perfect stranger down the river for personal gain.

    The athletes reflect the corporate culture which pays huge salaries to a select few and has sucessfully pulled off a $26 trillion derivatives global fraud on the whole of the world. That’s the way it is with some folks, the way it wasand always shall be.

  33. 36 T
    August 8, 2009 at 03:28

    Yes. It’s a double standard. We love to have a go at these overpaid players who we KNOW are doing drugs. Yet, do we use our economic power as fans to cut into the owner’s profits to force them to change? No.

    It just keeps on going.

  34. 37 Tom D Ford
    August 8, 2009 at 05:54

    Professional sports is capitalist business, so I have no expectation of honesty at all.

    Businessmen pride themselves at saying that there is no morality in business, that business knows no morals.

    So, no, I am not at all surprised that people engaged in the business of “sports” are cheating.

    Watch junior sports if you want honesty.

    Better yet, participate! Play or referee your local sport and that will show that you do care!

  35. 38 RightPaddock
    August 8, 2009 at 06:31

    I don’t think the many sports fan care if a team sport player takes performance enhancing chemical substances, I don’t. I’d prefer they didn’t, but there are so many other -ve issues surrounding these sports (game/match fixing, rape, drunkenness, off field violence etc) that doping is a 2ndry issue.

    But I do care about individual sports like athletics, swimming, small boat sailing, tennis etc. These are the sports that WADA etc should be concentrating on. Even though I’d long suspected they were doping, it still angered me when Jones, Toth, Chambers and the rest of the the Balco gang were exposed.

    @Joane Johnson – the US military (and others) prescribe substances to their men & women specifically to improve hand/eye coordination and to combat fatigue. Betablockers are used to “steady the nerves” by shooters, archers, etc.

  36. 39 James Ian
    August 8, 2009 at 06:47

    I don’t know if I can call it “cheating” they are just willing to take the physical risk of using a drug that in the end could shorten thier life. If they are will to make that sacrifice to raise the bar in their sport then so be it.
    I could care less about sports, I don’t watch collage or pro sports, but if I did I think I would want to see them playing at extreme levels and get my dollars worth.
    If anything makes me mad aboout sports it’s the crazy money these people make for playing a game. It’s dumb to me the amount of money people spend on sports stuff and how they glorify these egomaniacs. If people spent as much time and money on science research, in all fields, who knows what wonderful things could be discovered and how much better the quality of life could be for everyone.
    Instead people want to sit on their dead butts, drinking beer and eating junk food, getting fat and watching some game, trying to convince their buddies they could have played pro if…..

    • 40 Tom K in Mpls
      August 10, 2009 at 15:21

      You criticize the part of sports you support the most. Why shouldn’t those that do the most to generate the cash flow from people like you get the biggest cuts of the flow? It doesn’t matter what their job title is, give them what they earn.

      • 41 James Ian
        August 11, 2009 at 14:17

        You lost me Tom, what do I support, I missed that part.? I said I didn’t watch the stuff. Please explain. The only sports thing I own is a Larry Bird shirt and the only reason I have that is because someone bought it for me and I never wear it. There wouldn’t be any “cash flow” if it were to come from “people like” ME.


  37. August 9, 2009 at 14:10

    Fear ot the the truth will catch up with you and take hold of you. You refuse to live in the real world. Others are not enslved to your fears and to the masters of your life that own your soul.

  38. August 10, 2009 at 10:14

    Everybody, EVERYBODY who can uses performance enhancing drugs. From coffee to Viagra. I think it is absurd that we think our athletes should be clean, and yet everyone else is using. Musicians, actors, politicians, doctors. And yet we are upset about what baseball players are using? Isn’t it time we all grew up?

  39. 44 Dennis Junior
    August 10, 2009 at 15:43

    Yes, in most situations we have stopped caring about cheats in

    ~Dennis Junior~

  40. August 11, 2009 at 14:51

    James Ian–You are so correct. Me either. My sister would buy every Jordan that came out, for her son(he is now almost 36, college grad, husband, father of 3 with 1 set of twins. My husband and I would buy good shoes for our 6’6″ son who is now 36,married, no children. I did not see it. Nike even had this trick of staggering the release of different colors of the same shoe to boost sells. Dummies thought it was a different shoe. Now LeBron is putting out his new ugly shoe. My son-in-law, with 4 young children, 33 years old, will buy it to go along with the other ugly ones. My nephew, once he went to college and it’s finances determined this was madness and never bought any. He has more brains than his own mother and my son-in-law. My son never cared about them. Never wore them and won’t today. We made an exception in 1989 when our youngest graduated high school with honors, received a full scholarship to college(s). Score high on ACTS and SATS. She loved Ken Griffey then of the Mariners and we presented her with a pair of his shoes. They still look like new.

  41. 47 J-Mac
    September 13, 2009 at 02:01

    I still don’t get it why do athletics have to cheat these days. I just think that some athletics are just lazy and don’t want to put in the effort to be the best so the just try to take short-cutts to make it easier for them. What so wrong with just working as hard as you can without breaking the rules.

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