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If you have followed my blog, you know that they generally are centered around a certain theme. Whether I’m writing about the Olympics, the Penn State scandal, or the Saints Bounty program, each blog has been unique. This one changes that a little. Over the past several weeks several incidents have come up that need to be addressed. We will call this the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Ugly – I know what you’re thinking, the good is supposed to come first. We’re going to change this up some. Last week, reports came out that Lance Armstrong was going to drop his fight against the USADA. This meant that the USADA would make a ruling that would strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France championships and would ban him for life from cycling. Reports were out there that the USADA had lined up at least 10 of Lance’s former teammates to testify that he had used performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong decided this wasn’t worth the fight. He decided that he had enough. Maybe he saw the writing on the wall. Perhaps he knew that there was no way to win this fight. The USADA had enough ammunition to ban Armstrong it would seem. Why would he want to waste huge amounts of money for a defense he was sure to lose?
I don’t know if this is what Armstrong was thinking, but I’m pretty sure he knows what he is doing. This is a man who battled cancer and beat it. He came back from that and went on to win the most grueling athletic competition there is. This is where the critics come in. They wonder how a man can come close to dying with cancer and come back to excel as he did without the use of performance enhancing drugs, which makes for a good argument if you think about it. I’m not here to prove his guilt or innocence. However, I do have a problem where a country that is founded on “innocent until proven guilty” can take a man and ban him on accusations alone. In a sport where doping is prevalent and many of the top riders have been caught, Lance never once failed a drug test. It doesn’t look good that he so easily gave up his fight. It does give the impression that he is guilty. I guess in cycling you are guilty until proven innocent.
The Bad – Can we please get some real officials for the NFL? The NFL and the officials are arguing over money and I don’t understand it. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. How can it not afford to give these guys more money? For the most part, the normal officials do an amazing job. I’m not going to pretend to act like I know what the details are and what exactly is holding up the process. I will tell you, though, that I’m ready for this to be over. Please, please, please get this done and get the real officials on the field. The preseason has been brutal with some of the terrible calls made. It would be a travesty if an official makes a call that potentially causes a team to lose a game. The NFL needs to remedy this, and fast. Quit penny pinching when you’ve got billions of dollars.
The Good – This year has been full of bad stories. And I don’t mean bad as in poorly worded. I mean morally bad. Whether you’re talking about Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State scandal or if you’re talking about the Saints players paying each other to injure others, it’s been a bad year. That’s why this story has a nice feeling to it. The Washington Nationals currently hold the best record in all of baseball. They are having an amazing year and it’s almost guaranteed that they will be playing in October this year. Right now, they might be the favorites to win the World Series as well. Part of this is because of some younger players on their team, Stephen Strasburg being one of them. The unique thing about this story is that the Nationals are planning on shutting him down this year when he reaches 175 innings pitched. That’s right. They are going to shut him down. Strasburg had a major injury in 2010 and had Tommy Johns surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his shoulder. The Nationals have decided to bring him along slower and make sure they don’t ruin his arm at an earlier stage of his career. This is refreshing to see. Washington is in a clear position possibly to win a championship this season and they are sitting their star pitcher down so they don’t injure him. Most general managers have this win at all cost mentality and they seize the moment that’s in front of them.
What the Nationals have done is decided that the health and future of Strasburg is more important than winning at this moment. In the midst of ugly incidents in sports, it’s refreshing to see this kind of good coming from someone thinking about others before themselves.
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