A month or so ago I was in a bar awaiting a table in a restaurant. The subject of Barry Bonds came up between these two people next to me. I was eavesdropping. One guy told the other guy that Barry Bonds was scheduled to go to trial in March. I thought he was mistaken and was talking about two years ago or something. I interrupted him and told him that he surely must be confused. He insisted that he was right and this was a new date for the trial. So I looked it up on my blackberry internet and lo and behold he was correct.
You would think that I of all people would have been aware of this – being so central to the Balco case. But the fact is I didn’t care, and obviously most of the media didn’t care. And furthermore I am quite certain the vast majority of the nation did not care. So why is the federal government – in our times of unprecedented fiscal crisis – unquestionably pouring money into this expensive trial that pretty much lost all its relevance years ago?
Before I go any further I need to make it clear that my comments are not meant to be personal towards any law enforcement agents or such. In fact Jeff Novitzky, who is the investigator and driving force behind the Balco investigation and subsequent big name doping cases, is someone I have respect for (in a relative sense). He always handled himself very professionally and graciously when I encountered him during my company’s raid in 2005 and at a couple of subsequent court appearances. So no, this is not about him in particular or any other federales for that matter. It has more has to do with my views on how our taxpayer dollars are spent and how much beating this long dead horse really matters to our society. In my opinion Novitzky is just doing his job, and as long he keeps getting funded he will continue to do what he loves to do and what he has developed a remarkable proficiency in doing.
But we get it already. Doping is bad. A ton of athletes have been doing it for decades. They were breaking the rules. We have digested this and assimilated it into our brains. Time to move on.
I also read about Lance Armstrong today. Apparently there is more evidence surfacing regarding his performance enhancing drug usage. Yeah, whoopee. Of course he doped. Everyone doped in the field of elite cycling. They still probably do, at least to whatever extent that they still can. This is reality. Prosecuting Lance Armstrong will not change that reality. Prosecuting all the dopers that he beat back in the day will not change that reality. So why spend millions to prosecute him for whatever incidental crimes that may have been committed as a consequence of his doping? How does that help society??
I have a solution. Let’s take all these millions that we are inevitably going to spend to publically humiliate all these athletes – and lord knows there are more to come – and spend them on logical and ethical anti-doping research and development efforts?