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Should sports athletes really be pursued so aggressively for illegal drug use? I say let’s treat them with the same standards that we apply to personal injury victims, The victim and the athlete have an opportunity to be compensated by the public (you and I pay insurance premiums for accident victims), because society places a value on your circumstance. While one is an entertainer, and one suffers peril, we never-the-less pay to both of them. However, each must be honest to get paid and each must not try to cheat the system. Otherwise, we lose trust of that system and remove the rewards. Let’s see if I am on the
right path.

In an LA Times article, STRIKING OUT IN STEROID DEBATE, by Michael Hiltzik, March 2, 2009, he makes several good points about the unfair prosecution of steroid users in professional sports. The overall point however is a little misguided. He states, “Unless we define with clarity what’s acceptable and what’s not, and unless we demand from our police the same pristine integrity we demand of our targets, sports will never be free of doping issues.”

On his first point, every athlete, especially in baseball, knows what is legal, and what is not appropriate enhancement and frowned upon by the public. That is why baseball promised anonymity, when baseball was asking for blood samples to determine if they needed a formal drug policy. Otherwise, no one would care about giving a blood sample, even A-rod.

A personal injury victim is also asked to be honest, and forthright about their injuries and damages, wage loss and past history of injury. This allows us to trust their claim with a minimum of oversight. But when the process becomes a game of hide and seek, we, the public, get fed up. If you lie, hide, try to act like you did not know, or deny the truth in an effort to get more than you deserve, whether you are a victim in a truck or auto accident, you cheated, and the punishment is severe and quick. In personal injury cases, benefits are taken away. Juries are even known to get so revolted that they actually may not award anything to the accident victim. Do not try to cheat the public trust and grace. I guess the same can be said of bank bailout money as well.

It seems reasonable that the same standard should be applied to professional athletes. If you are lying, cheating, hiding and doing things you inherently know to be wrong, to get more than you deserve, you too should be punished, severely. Take away your titles, awards, and your contracts our grace gives you. Even if the penalty is more severe than you really deserve, that is the price you pay for loss of our trust. After all the professional athlete is no more deserving, and in fact less deserving, than an accident victim.

As in personal injury cases, professional sports will eradicate the sport of illegal drug use, not by rules and lawyers, but by public penalty and ridicule. The athlete will not want to pay that price if it is severe enough, and the sport will move forward fairly, and in our continued grace.

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