Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Marion Jones, Floyd Landis, Double Standards

By now everyone has heard/read that Marion Jones gave back her 5... yes 5 medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Needless to say, I have some issues, big surprise huh?

As sports fans, wisely or not, we want to believe. We need to believe. We believe in teams like the Cubs, the Red Sox, we want to see a team like Appalachian State beat Michigan, Stanford, a 40 point! underdog beat USC. Voeckler keep the yellow jersey. Rocky win again, and again and again. I remember watching those Olympics and cheering for her to get all 5 golds wanting to believe- she got 3. Do we have limits? At some point will we still care? Maybe we will be betrayed one too many times.

Jones' relay teammates from the 1600m and the 400m relay will probably lose their medals as well. Doesn't really matter though, because 2 of Jones' 6 teammates, Chryste Gaines and Torri Edwards are also dopers, having served their own bans since 2000. WTF! It gets worse: the silver medalist in the 100 meters in Sydney, who would now get gold was Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou. She was banned as a result of her actions during the Athens Olympics.

Marion admitted to taking the "clear." The same stuff that Barry Bonds used. I watched some of MNF last night and during halftime the announcers talked about Marion's confession and apology and how honorable it was. No, mention of Bonds, though. One of them even said that if Mark McGuire had made the same kind of apology, he'd be in the Hall of Fame by now. Excuse me, if he confessed to taking steroids, why would he be entitled to be in the Hall of Fame??

I sense a double standard here. Why is cycling considered to be rife with cheating but baseball, track and so on and so on are crystal "clear," I mean clean. People assume Floyd Landis doped, but now nothing about the details.

Non-cycling friend: So, Jim do you think their all doping?
Me: Who?
NCF: You know, bike racers?
Me: I don't know, I hope not.
NCF: Well, Floyd Landis doped.
Me: Why do say that.
NCF: He was found guilty.
Me: If you look at the decision it raises more questions than it answers about testing procedures and the rights of riders.
NCF: That's just a technicality.
Me: Not exactly. If the tests are bogus, then the results are bogus. Look, I don't know if Floyd Landis doped or not, but before I'm willing to kill someone's career, I'd like to be sure that we're right.

Maybe, I should ask my runner friends who just ran the marathon, if all runners are on dope. Or my friends who follow baseball if every home run hitter was taking the "clear."

Isn't the problem with doping more endemic of our society as a whole? With the sums of money that we are willing to throw at athletes, is it any surprise that some will cheat for money and glory?

Jones confession was not honorable, she confessed because she was facing jail time and maybe still will for federal charges.

Sources: ESPN.com

BTW, I didn't really want that Michigan to lose, but I respect the effort of the underdog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim.

My name is James and I work for the BBC World Service.

On today's show we may look at the Marion Jones issue and ask whether she was right to hand back her medals.

Why did she wait 7 years to hand them back? It's likely her team-mates who won bronze in the 400m relay will also have to give back their medals - is that fair and how will they be feeling today?

Do you have a view on this and would you like to contribute to our global conversation. We are on air from 1700GMT.

Please e-mail me - james.harrod@bbc.co.uk or phone on +44 207 557 0635 and we'll call you straight back.