Friday, February 16, 2007

Arbitrary Cogitation - Role Models: NFL vs UCI

I read an AP report a few weeks ago announcing that the NFL and its players union have agreed to more extensive testing for performance enhancing drugs and have added EPO to the list of banned substances. Did I accidentally hit the flux-capacitor button in my DeLorean and get sent back to 1999? Last I checked it was 2007 and they are just now beginning to test for EPO?

Were they sitting around thinking, “Hmm…You know, maybe an endurance and blood-boosting agent would be beneficial to an elite athlete in the NFL. Gee, never thought of that before”?

“It is important that the NFL and its players continue to be leaders on the issue of illegal and dangerous performance-enhancing drugs in sports,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “These latest improvements will help ensure that we continue to have a strong and effective program. As we have done in the past, we will review this policy on an ongoing basis.”

…because if there are any good drugs out there right now, it will apparently take them 5 years or more to add it to their list of banned substances.

And speaking of the NFL…let’s compare the nation’s favorite sport to MY favorite sport of cycling. It is my contention that, despite on-going scandals, professional cycling is among the most respectable sports and contains as large a pool of quality role models as you can find for the youth. Just like Wu-Tang and ODB, CaliRado is for the children.

Now granted, I do not have access to all of the tabloid and sports-news coverage for European cyclists that I have for NFL players in the States but lets take a look at just a small sampling of some of the more popular stories that came out of the NFL this past season, shall we?

The Team Excellence Award goes to the Cincinnati Bengals with a truly remarkable 9 players arrested for various charges since January 1st 2006. You read that correctly, NINE players arrested in just over a year. Now that is a remarkable team effort. The leader of the team was wide receiver Chris Henry who managed to find himself in handcuffs no fewer than four times in 2006. Way to go Chris…your teammates must be so jealous. Can you say Mug Shot photo album?

The Comeback Detainee of the Year Award goes to Terry “Tank” Johnson of the Chicago Bears. Johnson has now been arrested three times including his assault on a police officer in early 2006 but he made headlines most recently for needing a judge to grant permission to leave the state of Illinois so that he could play in the Super Bowl. But the real reason we know and love the man who actually has “Tank Johnson” spelled out in its entirety on his jersey, is because of his world-class weapons collection and the no fewer than 15 visits made by police officers to his residence in 2006. During one such visit, over 300 rounds of live ammunition and six illegal firearms were found in addition to a bodyguard with a bag of weed. Said bodyguard, one William Posey was subsequently murdered the day after Johnson’s arrest for weapons charges outside a Chicago club attended by both men. There is no joke here.

And finally…the MVP of Foolishness in the NFL and a role model to all wannabe football players is none other than San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawn Merriman. The 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year likes to go by the nickname “Lights Out” and does a really nice little dance on the field when he does something even remotely good. That’s always fun. But the biggest reason for Merriman’s victory in this category is due to his positive test for a banned substance in late October. “Lights Out” claimed his innocence and contended that he had been the victim of a tainted supplement. I have NO problem with this part of the story. What immediately became maddening was the realization that for a positive test, Merriman would have to sit out a whopping 4 games. 4 GAMES!!!!!! And no appeal. Just sat out four games, got healthy and then resumed his quest for the Defensive MVP Award and a Pro Bowl berth. Thankfully Jason Taylor voiced his concerns over having an MVP candidate test positive and was awarded the title himself, quite deservingly. However, Merriman was still allowed a spot on the Pro Bowl team. Again…it’s not that I have a massive issue with Lights Out (although he is, by all evidence, really kind of a goof) but I find serious fault with the punishment for his “mistake.” Or, lack of punishment I should say.

I will leave you with a little nugget of wisdom from Lights Out that you can pass on to all the potential dopers out there. When questioned about the substance violation and the ensuing media coverage, Lights Out responded brilliantly with, "If I wasn't having the kind of season I'm having, this wouldn't even be a conversation."

Oh really Dr. Lights Out? I guess he’s right. Performance enhancing drug use is only a problem when performance is actually enhanced. If he sucked we probably wouldn’t care what he was taking. Thanks.

So...don't get me wrong. I like football a lot but in the grand scheme of things, despite what my collarbones say, I think the kids are better off on bikes.


J.T.A. said...

Before anyone jumps on the Union issue...I know, I know. The NFL actually has an effective, powerful union representing the players. Not so much for the UCI or cycling in general. This is a whole post topic itself, and I will get to it eventually. But I's a function of the Union and the collective bargaining agreement, not the NFL or the player. all still stinks.

blue squirrel said...

i think i like cycling, i almost forgot that there was an NFL [no team in smelLA]. the problem with the NFL, is that they don't have any french connection that can have knee jerk reactions anytime an american [sorry, non-french] rider wins and wins big. great bit once again, sad facts though.

[3 collarbones and i hope i have stopped counting]

were did i just read, "the 98lb weakling that finishes last in a pro race is still a superior athlete, over any other athelte or sport." something like that.

JV said...

I'm not sure I want to see Tank Johnson next to me in a sprint.

J.T.A. said...

[Only 2 collarbones but both at the same time...Suburban. I mean, I was riding in town...and got hit by a Suburban]

The athlete issue is tricky. There is a huge difference between endurance,speed,strength and hand eye coordination. I think golfers are the most underrated athletes in the world.

What do you think of the 25 Greatest Athletes post earlier?

Anonymous said...

"...leaders on the issue of illegal and dangerous performance-enhancing drugs in sports,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell says it all right there. Guess it depends how you take that comment... But by dragging its feet, the NFL certainly seems to be a leader when it comes to drugs in sports.

Anonymous said...

You asked if Colorado has badgers. Well the whole reason I was looking at your site was to see what one looked like because I wanted to make sure what I saw today 13 miles east of Colorado Springs on Schriever AFB of all places! It was like 97 degrees today and I about sh*t when he crossed the road in from of my car so I stopped and took a good solid look it him. I don't know what the hell they eat but out there, there isn't crap but tumbleweeds and rabbits.