Professional Athletes? Just Another Name For Reality-Show Entertainers

More doping allegations against famous athletes -- this time about a big-name cyclist, Lance Armstrong, and other top cycling stars.

Professional cycling is where we first heard about doping in recent years. Then came athletes in track and field, football, baseball, NASCAR, and lately golf, with the likes of Tiger Woods alleged to have taken illegal products.

But on Thursday the news turned back to cycling.

None other than 2006 Tour de France champion, Floyd Landis, stripped of that title, has leveled the claims -- the same Landis who for the last four years refuted allegations he took drugs, spending over $2 million in legal and other fees, as well as penning a book, "Positively False."

What do viewers feel about this? Weariness and perhaps resignation.



Michael Wilbon of ESPN's "PTI" and the Washington Post  said, in reference to recent allegations from a Canadian drug doctor, that he is tired of all of this and believes viewers and fans are as well. He says viewers may just want to watch their sports no matter what.

Wilbon may have a point. Drug allegations -- and admittances -- have actually done little to harm TV sports.

For sure, big athletes coming and going have resulted in sharp viewership changes. The retirement of Lance Armstrong, and his return three years later, showed some decreases and then gains in TV viewers. Late last year Minnesota Vikings' Brett Favre played against his old Green Bay team and in the playoffs, helping to deliver some of the highest-rated games of the year. Tiger Woods' return after a long absence lifted early-round ratings on ESPN's "Masters" coverage.

Performance-enhancing drugs are illegal for sports and other uses. But has this affected the viewership of baseball or other sports? There is no evidence there.  Now, I'm like Wilbon and other fans. I don't care.

If we are to now to believe Landis -- that virtually all bike racers dope -- perhaps we  need to take a radical view of all of this. Maybe we need to let them dope. That's right.  With drugs properly administered by doctors, and with riders signing off on the dangers of such use. And make the whole deal public.

What about the kids and aspiring athletes? Explain it all, and label who has taken drugs and who hasn't. 

Maybe our sports athletes aren't the exact heroes we think. Maybe they are just reality-show entertainers, where real-life dangers -- medically induced and otherwise -- can happen. All this wouldn't just level the playing field among athletes, but among athletes and their fans.

2 comments about "Professional Athletes? Just Another Name For Reality-Show Entertainers".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace, May 21, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

    Professional Sports has declined along with the rest of Television. I know someone who took his children to a Professional Football Game, the kids ended up getting bored during the Game. "Daddy, why are they just standing around doing nothing for five minutes"? was asked by them. Their Father called a friend who was watching the Game on TV during one of these "Pauses", and that person replied that there was a Commercial Break going on. After the Halftime Show they all left. I had to stop watching NASCAR because of what they were advertising. Although they call themselves "Family Entertainment" one cannot watch a race for 15 Minutes without getting hit by at least one Commercial for an "ED Pill" or some other "Adult Product". Let me remind you that most of the Races are held at times WHEN CHILDREN ARE WATCHING!

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, May 21, 2010 at 6:46 p.m.

    These sports figures are not heros and should not be crowned as such. They are not selfless; they are selfish. Many do PS only because they have to and they have to in order to keep the money rolling. How many would really be teaching kids on playgrounds without that hefty salary? And anyone who accepts a scholarship should be required to graduate with a 4 year degree with at least a B average (no special favors) in order to be recruited to a professional league since they screwed someone else out of a placement in class. Plus, I have to agree with WH on the no drug/sex ads during sports.

Next story loading loading..