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The Three Step Process to Denying Performance-Enhancing Drug Usage

Recently, OJ Mayo joined the long list of professional athletes who were caught using an illicit performance-enhancing substance and subsequently caught using a bad excuse to explain usage of said substance. Based on the now predictable response of those who have been found guilty, the doping playbook uses a three-step process to react to a positive test. Number one: look surprised. Step two: deny all accountability. Three: if all else fails blame it on an over-the-counter supplement/energy drink or some other poor faceless schlub.

Heart, chemistry, teamwork. These were once the hallmarks of sportsmanship. Now, the only time you hear about heart is when there is an enlarged one from supplementation. The chemistry is supplied by ne’er-do-wells Vince Galea and Victor Conte. And, teamwork only exists when one player is helping another with steroid, er, Vitamin B-12 injections. Baseball has been racked with so many allegations, one would half expect the 2013 Hall of Fame induction class to include cream, clear, and Report, Mitchell to be enshrined. Heck, if you total up the number of home runs hit as a result of the trio, it makes Ruth and Aaron’s power look like that of Rowan and Martin.

What happened to the days where athletes got by on grit, toughness, and, perhaps, a horse tranquilizer or four? Eh, you probably misremembered those days, too. I presume there’s no blood test for gumption, or a urine test for elbow grease. Nowadays, it’s out with the old in with the “-ol.” Heck, even the producers of the chicken at the market go out of their way to say “steroid-free.” (Presumably, these chickens were killed because they could not keep up with the birds that were drugged.)

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Floyd Landis: Cycling’s Jose Canseco

Four years ago, cyclist Floyd Landis was the Tour de France leader and the new American hope to carry Lance Armstrong’s torch. After his surge on the 17th stage, Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and he was later stripped of his Tour de France victory. Landis was then suspended two years by the USADA for using performance-enhancing drugs. Ever since his suspension, Landis has fought for his reputation by denying any use of PEDs. After four years of denial, Landis finally came clean on Wednesday night saying he wanted to clear his conscience. Landis added to ESPN that “[he doesn't] want to be part of the problem anymore.” Well, Landis has gone well beyond being part of the problem and he’s now taking the Jose Canseco approach to fixing things.

Much like Jose Canseco, the former baseball star who felt blackballed by MLB, Landis called himself a pariah who had little chance of ever riding for an elite team. I’m sure his status in the cycling world has driven him to his decision to blow the lid off the scandal in the sport. The Wall Street Journal says Landis fired off emails to USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union detailing his and others’ PED usage:

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