Lance Armstrong, drugs, and skepticism

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Brian (January 21, 2013, 12:24:57 PM):
If my memory serves me correctly he didn't 'fess up until investigation into the US Postal team:

The evidence of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team-run scheme is overwhelming and is in excess of 1000 pages, and includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities. The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding.
Statement released 10-10-12 by USADA

These allegations were strenuously denied by LA until he had no choice to confess (for what it's worth)
That makes him a liar and cheat in my book regardless of whether other cyclists also doped. From what he admitted via Oprah he also pressurized team mates to use drugs and being a bulley....not a hero IMO.
brianvds (January 21, 2013, 14:20:50 PM):
Thus, it seems to me that the main intention of the regulating bodies in respect of doping is to prevent their sport being publicly drawn into any actual or perceived disrepute, and to preserve their own credibility so that the sport and its practice should not carry the least hint of shadiness about it. As I said earlier, the whole thing’s mostly about perceptions, and your point about “a generous dollop of old-fashioned moralism” is one of its more noticeable dimensions.

And this is likely why there are such fights about it: it's all about people subjective perceptions of things, rather than about testable facts. In my experience, people shout the loudest when they are the least certain of their facts, because that is also when they are most likely to feel threatened by contrary opinions. :)

Brian (January 21, 2013, 17:05:32 PM):
I agree largely with Mefiante's assessment above (although I'm not too sure what "old fashioned moralism means). Sport has rules, whether professional or amateur and all participants are familiar with these rules. So too do coaches, administrators and even the medical profession. When these rules are bent/broken/discarded the athlete exposes him/herself to some form of sanction. This has nothing to do with perceptions: you break the rule you suffer the consequences...period.

How the rules are applied however is often subjective, unfair and plain stoopid.

In LA's case he knew full well that doping was wrong: the ends NEVER justify the means and to argue that doping should be allowed merely corrupts the sport and as Mefiante posited "where do you draw the line?" For example for those of you who have children active in sport: would you permit your 9 year old daughter to take steroids to swim faster? (Of course there are many would, regardless of the consequences but that does not justify the dangers you may be exposing your child to).
Mefiante (January 21, 2013, 18:08:59 PM):
… I'm not too sure what "old fashioned moralism means
It’s where a dictatorial someone feels entitled to unconditional subservience from others by virtue of a delusion of moral superiority. Any suggestion that dares call this assumed entitlement into question is, of course, by definition immoral. (Cf. Pope, Bishop, Rabbi, Imam, Ayatollah, Zuma, etc.)

brianvds (January 21, 2013, 19:45:08 PM):
In LA's case he knew full well that doping was wrong: the ends NEVER justify the means and to argue that doping should be allowed merely corrupts the sport and as Mefiante posited "where do you draw the line?"

Well, I'm not sure what is meant by "corrupting the sport," or that allowing athletes to dope up would corrupt the sport. But I have to say, I am not really passionate about sport, so I suppose it is sort of natural for me not to really care much one way or the other.

That Armstrong broke the rules goes without saying, but then, arguing that the rules should be changed is not the same thing as breaking them or even encouraging anyone to break them. The question that sporting bodies and sport enthusiasts should perhaps ask themselves is whether all the anti-doping measures are worth it. There seems to me to be a certain analogy here between doping in sport and the war on drugs in general.

Most progressive thinkers nowadays agree that the larger war on drugs has been a failure and indeed something of a disaster, and that drugs should be legalized. I think it is only a question of time before they will be legalized. And perhaps it is only a question of time before sport authorities decide that the war on doping is simply not worth it. But maybe they won't.

Time will tell. In the meantime, the riders that will now get Armstrong's trophies almost certainly ALSO doped, by the looks of it.


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