Marion Jones’ fake-ass, tearful apology for her shameful and criminal use of performance-enhancing drugs has me ranting again.
First, I e-mailed the coaches at my alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill, to ask if they plan to take Marion down from the Wall of Fame (I have received no response yet). Then I phoned in to the NPR talk show, Talk of the Nation, to comment on the story they were doing about Doping. They took my call! I wanted to know why everyone is referring to this as a moral or ethical issue. Drug cheats are no different than common thieves, I said.
Next, I wrote the guest cheater on NPR, Joe Papp (cyclist serving a two year suspension) and asked him:
I was the caller on Talk of the Nation who spoke today about the criminal element in using performance-enhancing drugs. I want to ask you if someone broke into your house and stole your High Def TV or if someone broke into your bank account through identity theft and stole thousands of dollars, don’t you think that thief should go to prison? Why aren’t you in jail? And also, why do you keep referring to the DRUGS you took as medicine? You weren’t sick; you are a thief.
Keep telling your story and maybe the next generation of athletes will see that crime doesn’t pay.
Unlike the UNC track & field department, Joe DID write me back, immediately. Here’s what he had to say:
Thanks for contacting me.
With regards the criminal aspect, I think that is the area where the anti doping agencies have the best chance to profoundly influence sport. If more countries criminalize the use of performance-enhancing drugs, it will be a much more serious deterrent.
As far as my use of the words medicine or drugs – the products I used were medicines, albeit ones that we used inappropriately. Even amphetamines had a legitimate medical use in some cases.
Anyway, if you want to talk more [with phone #]