Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mandatory drug testing, now

This week's news that the University of Waterloo suspended their entire football team after nine tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs reeks of "collective guilt," which is banned under the principles of international law, is rather troubling.   I can understand the reasoning (that if some players were doping then others knew about it but did nothing to stop it) but it's also wrong to give the truly innocent the same punishment as the guilty.

The CIS claims they have major funding problems which have avoided random drug testing (up until now, they only tested at the regional bowl games and the Vanier Cup, which gives players plenty of opportunity to cheat early in the season as well as the off-season).   Too, there's also pressure not to test too much since major league sports don't test as vigorously as the international organizations that govern the same sports elsewhere.

This isn't a matter for collective bargaining or for economy.   A cheater is a cheater.   If it means more government funding to ensure such tests, fine.

Also, the players unions in the big leagues as well as in NASCAR must understand that just because they're jocks that entitles them to a lesser sentence than what amateurs would get.    It's a matter of right and wrong.   If it means busting the anti-trust exemption under which the leagues operate, fine; but it must be done.   It's the world anti-doping code, period, and it must be imposed too at the collegiate and high-school levels.    A two year suspension for a first offence may not deter those who are determined to cheat no matter what but it will make those who are hoping to get a scholarship or advance further really think.

But strict enforcement, including random tests anytime and anywhere around the planet, will ensure the innocent will be able to continue to play as they have the right to.  They, after all, have nothing to fear from a false positive -- they will be better able to prove their lack of guilt then a guilty athlete will to prove they were "framed."

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