For many, the controversy over performance-enhancing drugs has already passed. Much like how a great part of the nation has been rendered immune to torture due to years of knowing about it, many sports fans have reached a point where they just don’t care what athletes stick into themselves. As long as they perform, let them do what they want.
Still, there are holdovers that take umbrage to their favorite athletes cheating. And there are others who will side with their favorite athletes when they deny using steroids. Remember, we are but a decade removed from fans arguing that man-mountain Mark McGwire would never cheat.
Lance Armstrong has been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and has vehemently denied it. And the average American sports fan will side with him. He’s Lance Armstrong, Tour de France superstar, American hero, he would never cheat. It must be the damn jealous French out to get him.
Of course, it shouldn’t be out of line to think that Armstrong has likely cheated in the past. It’s difficult to comprehend that Armstrong – after a brilliant and inspiring fight against cancer – came back to cycling and dominated – while clean – against the world’s best cyclists, many of whom were in fact cheating.
But it seems we are supposed to believe that every athlete that has risen to the top of their sport has never cheated. All of these top, buffed athletes have previously denied, or continue to deny cheating: Armstrong, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Tiger Woods …
Wait, Tiger Woods? How could I conceivably think that Tiger has ever done anything either illegal or illicit? He’s Tiger Woods! As Shane Bacon at Golf Fanhouse put it: “[R]umors that Tiger may be on the juice are obviously ridiculous.”
The question that many will refuse to ask – Why is it ridiculous to wonder if Tiger has ever juiced? Is it because the PGA Tour has announced that 100 percent of the players they’ve tested are clean? Well, as we’ve seen from Major League Baseball and the NFL, sports organizations will do whatever they need to do to keep their biggest moneymakers from being found out.
Do you really think the PGA Tour would test Tiger Woods for performance-enhancing drugs unless they knew he’d be clean at the time of his test? There is just far too much money to be lost to think otherwise.
You can argue all you like that performance-enhancing drugs wouldn’t help a golfer, but, no offense, you’d be speaking out of ignorance. Because there are all types of designer drugs out there that will help athletes in any sport, golf included.
In the end, let it be known that this is in no way an accusation against Tiger. I know what everyone else knows – he has denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, and he has now said he’s passed two drug tests. No accusation made against him (if there even have been any) holds any water, whatsoever. About the only inkling of evidence against him would be his amazing physique, but Woods’ remarkable dedication to being the best golfer ever easily explains that away.
More than anything, though, Woods is, and will continue to be, a victim of his own era. Top athletes use performance-enhancing drugs. This is clear. And while I can write with confidence that I believe Woods is clean, the idea that he may not be is anything but ridiculous.