« Sports

Don't Let The Cheaters Win

by Nick Vitrano

It’s not the cheating.  It’s the lie.  People can get over cheating.  What fans of the Milwaukee Brewers, fans of baseball in general, and fans of the guy Ryan Braun (and many more to follow) are feeling right now is the paralyzing sting of deception. 

It hurts.

And enters the quandary: how to handle one’s investment in the stars of the professional sports realm.

Unfortunately, there is no “safe stock” when it comes to professional sports.  Our stars of the arena are human beings.  And as the sun rises in the east and we are all certain to die…human beings will forever let down one another.  That isn’t to say that some are not performing cleanly, whatever that means today.  But in light of the latest PED scandal to hit, answer me this: how can you tell?

Since McGwire/Sosa/Bonds, we have learned much about PEDs and lengths folks will go to gain a competitive edge, and we have come upon this garden of wisdom: one cannot simply condemn with his eyes.  So sophisticated are the drugs and the doping regimens and the benefits of each, that to say a guy “looks” like he’s cheating is to perform a grossly incomplete analysis at best. 

The cheaters of today are not freak shows of pecs, lats, and traps.  A lot of ‘em look a lot…well…like a lot of us, to be honest.  And this much is certain: the chemistry of cheating is always a step ahead of the science of testing.  Always.  It’s a terrifically ugly reality of sports, but it’s nothing new.  And truthfully, I don’t know that cheating is more widespread than it has ever been.  It might be.  It might not be.  We may simply be more adept at detecting and more vigilant in our pursuit.  Maybe not.  And that’s my point.  I don’t know.  None of us does.  None of us truly knows any of these men and women, past and present, whose names appear on the backs of our apparel. 

The conservative approach is to invest in the logo, in the team, not the player. OK.  I get that, but as far as I’m concerned that’s equally risky – it’s merely a different personification of the same evil.  Owners and GMs often prove themselves every bit as selfish and greedy and egomaniacal as the player.  It appears a lose-lose, but it’s not…it’s just sports. 

Sports is a perilous investment, but we know it.  Sports owes us nothing.  We fans willingly enter into that masochistic agreement.  That’s on us.  It sounds harsh, but if you don’t want the consequences, don’t invest.  It really is that simple.  If you are going to invest, go all-in.  It usually burns ya – but every once in while, it doesn’t.  And when it doesn’t, it’s glorious.   

Tease image: NathanF via flickr on Wikimedia Commons