Thursday, December 22, 2005

Not Everybody's All-American

The Association of Tennis Professionals has suspended Argentine player Mariano Puerta for eight years for twice violating its policies against doping. His career is over. Talk about a deterrent.

You can't help but look at this case and reason that if MLB really gave a rat's ass about this problem, they would tear a page out of the ATP's doping policy -- who tore a page out of the Olympics' strict approach.

What's most disconcerting, though, is that both of this French Open finalist's infractions don't sound anything close to what I was expecting from a doping violation -- well, depending on what you read, that is. The latest charge involved ingesting a medication that belonged to his wife, which has been described as everything from a prescription hypertension drug to an over-the-counter medication, and in 2003 he was suspended for using clenbuterol, which I've heard described as "an anabolic steroid" in some places and an asthma medication with "some steroid-like properties" elsewhere. (Are you as confused as I am?) The panel even concluded that Puerta's use of his wife's drug was "inadvertent" and "too small to have any effect on his performance."

Now I'm as suspicious as anyone when I hear about these world-class professional athletes who just happen to put these unknown substances in their bodies all willy-nilly, so I tend to agree that something is up. But at the same time, it just doesn't seem equitable that the BALCO boys continue to set records right and left -- and we know without a doubt what drugs they were doing -- and we've yet to see anyone punished beyond a 10-day slap on the wrist.

  • Read: Record ban effectively ends career for Puerta here.
  • (Pay close attention: one of the people quoted is named Dick Pound.)

  • Read: Mariano Puerta's complete statement here.

  • 1 comment:

    Bill said...

    I'm as confused as you are. On the one hand, it doesn't sound like he did much of anything. And the ATP has a record of *giving* banned substances to people in order to suspend them (even though Rusedski is an A-hole).

    But Puerta certainly did start playing out of his mind after being nothing special, once he came back from ... a doping suspension. And, Rusedski aside, in the history of testing it's only the Argentines who can't manage to avoid "accidentally" taking some cold medicine that just happens to mimic steroids.

    Blog Widget by LinkWithin