Sunday, August 23, 2009

The PED delimma

Fascinating look into the mind of a marginal major leaguer as he recounts his struggle with the decision of whether or not to take HGH to save his career and privide for his family. Things may not always always neatly fit into the black and white, good and evil categories that keep fans and media from having to do any actual thinking. At least when there are human beings making them and whose lives are to be so profoundly affected.

I think he is actually a little too hard on himself here. He notes that HGH was not against the rules of baseball when he did it. For me the ethical concern would be violating the rules or ethics of your chosen profession, which in this case did not apply. There is even a discussion to be had, but one I will not have here because it would cause me to ramble on and waste half of my Sunday, over whether it is unethical to break a rule or law which you legitimately believe to be wrong (and, of course, does not hurt anybody else); did you ever smoke a joint or drive 70 in a 60, for example?

Suffice to say I see a lot of gray areas in this whole thing.

Of course, as you would guess from my libertarian and freedom-loving views, I have never had much of a problem with the whole PED in sports issue anyway. If an individual chooses to attempt to further his career and help his team win at the possible (since we don't really know the long term effects yet) expense of his long-term health, I have no objection to that personally.

Similarly, if a league chooses to ban the substances and penalize or ban players for breaking said rules, that is perfectly within their rights as private organizations - although I have a huge problem with Congress getting involved to preen in front of TV cameras, as we have seen in the past. It's between individuals and private business, and nobody else's damned business really, except for perhaps the customers who can make their feelings know one way or the other with their wallets.

But I just don't muster any great moral outrage at breaking non-rules. Or draw moral distinctions between, for example, taking PED's on the one hand or using technology to steal signs on the other. Ethics are ethics, and I reject fake moral outrage over one type because people want to impose their own morality on others.

At any rate, it's a thought-provoking article and argument, even if you're not a sports or baseball fan.

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