Monday, January 9, 2017

The Politicalization and Hypocrisy in Amatuer Sports

The Politicalization and Hypocrisy in Amatuer Sports
By: jamesbaxley
Now, I’m not a fan of Russia politically, but I do like its culture and what they have given the world as far as art and literature goes.

But even though I’m not an admirer of political Russia, that does not mean I want to blame every problem in the world on them, only the ones which Russia is guilty for. Lately, who knows what Russia is guilty of with the United States blaming them for everything? On top of that, all of the U.S.’s flunky’s in the European Union back up what the U.S. has to say, that is as long as the U.S. sends money and weapons to the E.U. and props up NATO to protect them.

As an American, I have to say that sometimes the U.S. is a hypocrite. The U.S. professional sports and amateur sports is rife when it comes to cheating. The U.S. pretends it has the moral high ground in this and other matters, but it actually doesn't. Let’s take a quick glance at professional sports in America, Baseball in particular. 

Barry Bonds
Jose Conseco
Jose Canseco stated on 60 Minutes and in his tell-all book Juiced that “as many as 80% of players used steroids, and that he credited steroid use for his entire career.”  Ken Caminiti revealed that he won the 1996 National League MVP award while on steroids; in 2003, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids, a year in which he was American League MVP; Mark McGwire admitted in 2010 that he had used steroids and human growth hormone including in 1998 when he set the single-season home run record. 

Mark Maguire

Drug use in sports isn’t just a recent phenomenon, Mickey Mantle used steroids and amphetamines among other substances during his chase of Roger Maris’ record; outfielder Hank Aaron wrote in 1992 that he accepted an amphetamine pill from an unnamed teammate and took it before a game during the 1968 season; pitcher Tom House, a former left-handed relief pitcher active in MLB from 1971-1978 mainly with the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, has admitted to using "steroids they wouldn't give to horses;" Third baseman Mike Schmidt, an active player from 1972-1989, admitted to Murray Chass in 2006 that "amphetamine use in baseball is both far more common and has been going on a lot longer than steroid abuse."

The same holds true with amateur sports (the Olympics) as it does with professional sports in America. Marion Jones, an American track and field star won three gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was later stripped of her titles after admitting to steroid use when the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) which supplied anabolic steroids to professional athletes were busted in a 2002 U.S. Federal government investigation of the laboratory.   

 Not only did that scandal uncover Jones’s doping and more than 20 top-level athletes doing the same, including Jones's ex-husband shot putter C.J. Hunter, and 100m sprinter Tim Montgomery, it exposed the U.S. as being hypocrites. This is only the beginning though.

Let’s not forget Lance Armstrong, a world-class cyclist who led "the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sports has ever seen" according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s chief executive Travis T. Tygart who adds that Armstrong would “do whatever was necessary to conceal the truth." 

Armstrong isn’t the only cyclist to get caught doping, Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for failing a dope test.

The voices condemning Armstrong for doping is loud (although the voices are fading) but I don’t hear those same voices condemning the money and awareness he raised for cancer and cancer treatment. According to Corrie MacLaggan, over the duration of its existence, the Lance Armstrong Foundation as it was formerly known as and now called the Livestrong Foundation founded in 1997 has generated more than U.S. $500 million worth of funds.

Lance Armstrong is an American former professional road racing cyclist. Armstrong had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, before he was banned for life and all his results from August 1998 were voided, as a result of long-term doping offenses.
Let’s look at the 2016 Olympics now. In an act of “Cultural Warfare,” the World Anti-Doping Agency is calling for all Russian athletes to be banned from the upcoming [2016] Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The WADA’s call for a ban on Russian athletes echoes a recently leaked letter from U.S. and Canadian anti-doping officials, addressed to the International Olympic Committee in anticipation of the McLaren report. 

The one calling for the ban is British badminton doubles champion from the 70s, Sir Craig Reedie. He is the current president of the WADA, a former Chairman of the British Olympic Association (1992–2005), and a Vice-President of, and a serving representative on, the IOC. Most likely, he takes his orders from politicians in the U.S. just as Prime Minister Tony Blair took his orders from President George Bush when it came to the Iraqi Invasion.

The Americans led the way with the accusations that Russian athletes used performance enhancing drugs. How did the U.S. come to this conclusion? From three whistle blowers: Grigory Rodchenkov, Yuliya Stepanova, and her husband Vitaliy Stepanov.

Not to get off topic, but don’t you think that with the Obama administration’s war against whistleblowers and official leakers, (there have been eight prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act, more than double those under all previous presidents combined) that siding with Russian whistleblowers is a little hypocritical?

Related: Hypocrisy Much?

Yuliya Stepanova, was a Russian runner who specialized in the 800 meters track event and her husband Vitaliy Stepanov, a former employee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. Vitaliy Stepanova wrote letters to WADA which dismissed them.

Yuliya Stepanova, former Russian 800m Olympian
 Grigory Rodchenkov (right), the former director of a Moscow laboratory, the Anti-Doping Centre, was suspended by WADA in November 2015. He had been previously arrested in 2011 for alleged involvement in a doping ring. Even though Vitaliy secretly recorded over 15 hours of interviews without Rodchenkov which blew the doors open in the “alleged” Russian doping allegations are living in the U.S. in exile. 

Grigory Rodchenkov the former director of a Moscow laboratory, the Anti-Doping Centre
Fleeing to the U.S. was a good move. In February, 2016, the former director of the Russian antidoping agency RADA Nikita Kamayevagency’s and its founding chairman, Vyacheslav Sinev were both found dead. This was just three months after the WADA released a damning report describing a state-backed system of doping.

Putin had praised Rodchenkov in 2015 by awarding him the Order of Friendship and then did a 180 in 2016 and called Rodchenkov a "man with a scandalous reputation." 

Fast forward to 2016 and we see things haven’t really changed. A cyber-espionage group identified as Tsar Team (APT28) and more specifically hackers nicknamed Fancy Bears published confidential documents about three of sport’s biggest female stars: the Williams’s sisters, Elena Delle Donne, and Simone Biles.

These athletes were granted “medical exemptions,” or more commonly known as in amateur sports as “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” to take otherwise banned substances. 

WADA director general Olivier Niggli said: “Wada deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes” and “Wada condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks.” He continues with the unsurprising condemnation of Russia.