Friday, February 1, 2013

Bill Simmons is right - we should openly question athletes' PED usage

Bill Simmons just published what should be a career-defining column, and what could be a future-altering column for sportswriting in general. I used to dog on Simmons for being too shtick-y, but every year he gets better.

No one wants to point out that maybe the NFL gets more and more dangerous because the guys who play the game are playing it at superhuman speeds and hitting each other with superhuman force. Certainly not every player. But enough to make it matter.

When NFL players say they believe someone is going to die on the field in the near future and that, despite their dislike of the NFL "softening" the game, additional measures by the refs and the league to curtail violent hits are probably a good thing, I wonder if the players also say (in their heads) that their peers cutting back on PEDs might also be necessary to prevent catastrophe.

The new NBA player (post-MJ) is not the old NBA player. The new golfer (post-Tiger Woods) is not the old golfer. The new baseball player (post-Kirby Puckett) is not the old baseball player, but we knew that one already.

Humans evolve, but we evolve at a rate of change within reason. Bill Simmons has every right to make PED usage speculation a "fair game" subject, and I hope it spawns meaningful discussion, debate, and ultimately, change.

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