Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Its about the benjamins

In reading DEA's rant, there are a couple big differences I see in comparing American Pro sports to those in Europe. The first is labor unions. The sports in this country have well organized labor unions which collectively bargain with owners for specific contract rights that cover everything from product licensing to health insurance. As far as I know the pro cyclist has only his agent to work on his behalf. The unions in some US sports have become so powerful they bassically run the league, take the NBA for example. Secondly, pro sports here have for the most part ownership that is into making serious money and understands that in order to put buts in the seats or sell TV ads they need a product that people want to watch. The prime example is the NFL. Another even better example is Major League baseball. If you look a baseball in the 80's & 90's they had significant problems with labor relations and as a result there were strikes and lockouts. This hurt the marketability of the sport. At about the same time, steroids and other performance enhancing drugs were becoming more available and more widely used in baseball. Baseball at that time had no testing policy or were most of these substances even banned. What happened was home run rcord began to fall and the fans came back. Who doesn't want to see a monster home run when the go to a game. Well baseball ownership profitted and began to market the home run and bsaeball returned from the grave, many think largely due to the benefit of steroids and the like. Now that the steroid issue has become politicized baseball and other professional sports leagues have had to deal with it because of the bad pr it has brought with it. They have, with the aquiescence of the labor unions instituted drug testing and suspensions for violations, but they pale in comparisson to the number of banned substances or suspensions handed down for violations when you view them against their international counterparts. Why? Because the US sports owners know that if they ban the product that the people want to see, they won't watch. DEA will still watch the Patriots even without Rodney Harrison for 4 games, but if they started banning big name players for years or careers it would potentially become a serious problem. Many folks consider steroids as cheating, I would submit that the sports leagues here do not. At least not is the same vein as point shaving or fixing a game or gambling on your team as a player or coach. If there was a concern that performance enhancing drugs were affecting the outomes of games here, there would be much more of an outcry as Vegas would not be able to make the $$ they do. The validity of an outcome of a game would be compromised and that would or could mean the death of a sport. Until the cyclists organize or there is strong ownership in the sport I do not see there being any real progress on this issue. What the progress would be I don't know. Maybe more reasonable suspension and more relaible testing at a minimum. Guess the bottom line is as long as there is money in the sport there will be people looking for whatever edge they can get to win, even if it may cost them their career.



weak and feeble said...

I hate it when he makes a good point.


weak and feeble said...

Is JJ some sort of lawyer or something?

I say let them drug it up, who wants to watch a 170lb running back get hit by a 180lb linebacker? Not me, if I wanted to see that I'd throw a twinky on JJ's back and watch DEA get em.

If I could make 5 million a year playing football or riding a bike I'd take HGH (again). What bothers me is when they lie about it.


bluecolnago said...

how'd that song go? "money, money changes everything...." cindi lauper, maybe?

keep riding! i'm still planning on driving the team car for weak & feeble in the pro tour...