Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Biological Makeup and the Making of a DB

We all remember AC's and James Harrison's threats to retire over the last few months. The newest athlete to jump on the "I've done something that the rules of my sport prohibit and now that I've been caught I will attempt to scare the sport into reducing my punishment by threatening to retire" bandwagon is last year's (now stripped) TdF King of the Mountain Champion Franco Pellizotti. The UCI's biological passport system was validated by CAS in an expedited ruling at the request of Pellizotti's legal team. It is the request for a quick ruling that makes Franco's statement that he's quitting (or retiring, it's all semantics), "Not because of my age or for the time, even though it's two years, it's because I am tired." If he is tired why did he request to have a quick turn-around on his appeal?

I don't know that Pellizotti doped or not, so he may have a better argument for retiring than both AC and Harrison since they clearly violated their sports' rules. Another person, though no athlete, who violated his sport's rules is OSU Football Coach Jim Tressel. What Coach Tressel did was not share information he knew of that implicated some of his players (stars including starting QB Terrell Pryor) in a federal drug-trafficking case as well as selling memorabilia. What makes him a bigger DB than he was when he failed to pass on that information to anyone was his attempt at an apology/excuse:

"Obviously I'm disappointed that this happened at all. I take my responsibility for what we do at Ohio State tremendously seriously and for the game of football. I plan to grow from this. I'm sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and didn't do things as well as I possibly could have."

Of course he's disappointed it happened, if he never got caught what would he have to be disappointed about? Secondly, I love the classic, "saddened by the fact that I let some people down." Really? How about deeply saddened that you failed in your obligation as an authority figure who is responsible for the development of the athletes on your team (including the minute percentage that will make a living out of playing the sport after college) or deeply saddened because you not only gave OSU a black eye, but the entire NCAA? It's like the apology where you tell someone that you're sorry they feel mad/upset/sad about some action of yours; thereby making it seem like it was their fault for getting mad/upset/sad in the first place. And what does he get for all this - a two game suspension and a fine of $250,000. I'm not going to argue that a quarter-million dollar fine is anything to laugh at, but a two game suspension? The players got five.

I guess all this rambling leads me to the point that despite the fact that I want to believe otherwise, history and experience has taught me that all sports are a business and the bottom line isn't necessarily winning, but keeping your paycheck flowing in.

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