Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Presumption of innocence, or “innocent until proven guilty” dates back to the Romans. It is a vital part of this country’s legal system and should continue to be. But when it comes to professional athletes and PED use it no longer has meaning. Even Lance Armstrong has now admitted to doping after years of denial. Another major PED bust in Florida has given the proverbial asterisk to players before any sort of legal action can take place. After all of the PED revelations in the past decade athletes have forever lost the benefit of the doubt when it comes to accusations.
Every fan has a favorite athlete, a hero, a figure one imitated during childhood on the playground and aspired to be. Fans assume that they know everything there is about their favorite because they’ve memorized all the stats, seen every highlight, and watched every interview. In reality none of us know anything. In between the deity and the mortal lies a buffer of marketing moguls and PR aficionados. We as fans are shown what we are supposed to be shown. The images in our heads of an athlete are drawn the way that a team of strategists wants it to be drawn.
While some athletes are genuine a lot of their personas are a facade which is why so many fans have a difficult time accepting that a player has been cheating. In reality the only way to know someone is to meet and interact with him/her. It is hard to pick out the authentic personalities from the endorsement seeking fakes until something that cannot be shielded from the public comes to light, like a positive steroid test.
USA Women’s National Team goalie Hope Solo was made to be the face of US women’s soccer. She is beautiful and a great athlete, and from what the public was led to believe, mean on the field and warm hearted off the field. She was a sponsor’s dream. Unfortunately her true colors have shown in the form of a positive steroids test, a twitter fight with former USA soccer star Brandi Chastain, and questions surrounding a domestic disturbance with her now husband Jerramy Stevens. Do you believe she’s everything she’s made out to be?
It is much harder to find an athlete who has tested positive for a PED and admitted to it then it is to find one who will deny until the evidence is so damning that they have no choice. Even those who test positive and appeal don’t get off because the test was wrong. They win their appeals because of a technicality in the sample taking process.
Brewers left fielder and 2011 NL MVP Ryan Bruan got away without punishment in 2012 because of the “manner in which the sample was handled.” Unless someone placed a positive PED test in Braun’s sample, how does the handling test changes the result? Braun has since been linked to a facility in Florida that was known to supply PEDs and denies any wrong doing. Do you believe his test in 2012 was wrong now?
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won his appeal of Adderall use because the cup containing his sample started leaking the tester transferred his sample into a different cup. Unless the tester came with a second cup contaminated with traces of the drug, or unless the air was contaminated with Adderall particles how was the sample effected?
Occam’s Razor: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Did the student not turn in his homework because his printer and internet mysteriously stopped working at the same time, or did he simply just not do his homework? Did a player turn in a positive test because the sample was somehow tainted by particles in the air? Or a tester risking their jobs to tinker with it? Or simply because he was using PEDs? It is not hard to find the simplest explanation, which is usually the correct one.