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Examiner
  • Lori Boyajian-O'Neill: The age of cheating

  • The Baseball Writers Association of America decided that there was not one player worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame in 2013. Not one. No Cooperstown celebration this year because the writers could not reconcile their angst about dirty players entering the Hall. It is the most controversial issue in baseball.

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  • The Baseball Writers Association of America decided that there was not one player worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame in 2013. Not one. No Cooperstown celebration this year because the writers could not reconcile their angst about dirty players entering the Hall. It is the most controversial issue in baseball.
    Then Lance Armstrong confesses to Oprah that he cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles. From baseball to cycling, we are awash in high tech methods and drugs which allow athletes to test the limits of human athletic performance. And cheat.
    The Steroid Era in baseball and the Armstrong Era in cycling, what do you know? T or F?
    1. Roger Clemens was never convicted of using banned substances.
    2. Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test.
    3. MLB began steroid testing in 2009.
    One day after the embarrassing vote, Commissioner Bud Selig announced that MLB will begin testing for human growth hormone (HGH), used by players to recover more quickly from injury and strenuous training. The Steroid Era of the 1990’s has stung the Hall causing MLB to further tighten its doping policies.
    Cycling is called the dirtiest sport in the world. So dirty that when the International Cycling Union stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles they did not name other champions because basically they would be hard pressed to find clean riders to crown. Every single team was dirty. The history of cycling is a chronicle on cheating. Knowing how to cheat has been as important in cycling as knowing how to ride. It begs the question, if everyone is doing it is it really cheating? I think yes. They are cheating the sport and the very rare clean rider.
    So knowledgeable is he about exercise physiology, Armstrong could teach at Stanford. His is a remarkable run of slipping past the dope cops and winning the most prestigious events in cycling and the hearts of cancer survivors everywhere. Still, Armstrong could not succeed alone and when his co-conspirators turned against him he vilified them. He is not a sympathetic figure and he has no friends in cycling. Armstrong assailed those who revealed that he failed a drug test in 2001 and then brokered a cover-up with UCI contradicting his long-standing claim that he never failed a test. Among those who must now feel vindicated are former teammate and whistleblower Floyd Landis, accuser and three-time Tour champion Greg LeMond and David Walsh, author of four books on the cyclist, all victims of Armstrong’s wrath.
    Lance Armstrong has now confessed, that, well, yes, he too was doping. Unlike his baseball counterparts who had freedom provided by years of a toothless MLB testing program, Armstrong was well aware he was cheating. He orchestrated a plan around the rules just like almost every other rider against whom he competed. Armstrong was just another cheater in a sport filled with cheaters. One could argue he was the best cheater of all time.
    Page 2 of 2 - Baseball will survive the Steroid Era but the backlash against Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens may cost them the Hall of Fame. The backlash against Lance Armstrong will extend far beyond Sporting removing the Livestrong sign. He is an international pariah and his life will be spent restoring his reputation and making amends. NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said it best, “I’m not paid to be a role model. Parents should be role models.”
    Thanks to Major League Baseball and Lance Armstrong parents have a lot of explaining to do.
    Answer: 1. T 2; T 3; F 2003.
     
    Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill can be contacted at lori.boyajian-oneill@hcahealthcare.com.
     
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