Thursday, August 15, 2013

Every Star Athlete Must Use PEDs, Right?

Adrian Peterson. Albert Pujols. Justin Verlander.

What do these three star athletes have in common, besides being considered some of the best athletes in the world?

All three have been accused in the past week of using Performance Enhancing Drugs in the past week, even though no evidence exists that any of these three stars have doped.

Enough is enough.

 In the aftermath of Major League Baseball suspending over a dozen players for PED use, including a 211-game suspension for Alex Rodriguez, apparently certain people didn’t think that it was enough. Former MLB player and current radio analyst Jack Clark took matters into his own hands. He used his new spot on WGNU AM in St. Louis to accuse Pujols and Verlander of using PEDs. He had been on the show less than a week before attacking the two stars.

A couple of days later, news comes out of anonymous sources accusing Adrian Peterson of doping.

Now it’s bad enough that accusations are being made, but before diving head first into that fiasco, let’s first examine each athlete’s reactions to being accused of using PEDs.

Let’s start with Verlander. Clark accused him of using PEDs based on “evidence” of his fastball velocity. He threw in the upper 90s and even would hit 100 mph. After signing a long-term contract with the Tigers in the off-season, his fastball is now only reaching mid-90s. Clark says that this is a typical athlete, using drugs to get money, and then all of a sudden not playing well because they wouldn’t be using any more. He called it “a free pass to steal.”

Verlander’s retort: “It’s moronic.” Plain and simple. And he just dismissed it.

Pujols on the other hand took a much different route. Clark claimed that Pujols’s former trainer Chris Mihfield told Clark that he would “shoot up” Pujols. Clark said he “knew for a fact” that Pujols was a user based on this.

Pujols’s response: A lawsuit. “I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it.  If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person.  I have five young children and I take being a role model very seriously.  The last thing I want is for the fans, and especially the kids out there, to question my reputation and character.”

As for Adrian Peterson’s response: gratitude. "When you know you don't do it, and someone's saying you do, you're like, 'Wow. They think I'm on HGH? I'm doing that good? Well, hoo! Thank you, Jesus!' It's a compliment. I don't get mad about it at all.”

So what’s the best reaction? Name calling, a lawsuit, or taking it as a compliment?

Honestly, the lawsuit seems like an overreaction to me. Yes, it’s slander and not legal, but at the same time it almost cries “Oh no, somebody suspects me, I can’t let them see that he’s right!” And I highly doubt that Pujols juices. I never thought of him as one. And a guy accusing him of using PEDs didn’t change my opinion on the matter. Him filing a lawsuit on the other hand makes me at least consider that it might be true…sadly.

Verlander just called it moronic and brushed it aside. He said that Clark clearly “is not watching” and “know[s] nothing about” any of it. I can honestly say that I haven’t seen a lot of Verlander this year, but I don’t recall his pitches being in the 92-93 range as Clark seems to think. Clark’s faulty logic is brushed aside, just like every TomDickAndHarry across the country who thinks he knows everything.

Peterson takes it as a compliment. Honestly, his response is best for public image as it is one that I believe most can relate to in their own lives. “Do you work out?” “No, but thank you I’m glad you think I look good!” “Can I see your ID?” “I’m 42, but of course you can check to see if I’m legal!” “You take PEDs.” “I’m so good that I must be cheating? That’s cool.”

So where Pujols does what is best legally, his response ends up looking the worst for the most important court out there: the court of public opinion.

That’s what’s wrong with sports.

Now as for Jack Clark: shame on you. You played 18 years in the majors. You hit 340 home runs in your career. But apparently you don’t like being out of the spotlight now do you. You try to throw others under the bus so that you can get your 10 seconds of fame back. You could have made these accusations at any time, but you chose to do so right when you started your new job as a co-host. Thankfully your employers have parted ways with your stupidity.

Jack Clark, you like too many out there have their own agenda. Like too many around the world, you assume that just because somebody is a great athlete that he MUST be a cheater. He MUST have used performance enhancing drugs.

That’s what’s wrong with sports.

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