John Benkus Reported As Having Compassion For Professional Athletes Who Take Steroids, What???

BEIJING - AUGUST 16:  (L-R) Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Darvis Patton of the United States compete in the Men's 100m Final on Day 8 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 16, 2008 in Beijing, China.  Usain Bolt of Jamaica finished the event in first place with a time of 9.69, new World Record. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Josh Sanburn recently came out with a Q&A piece, How Fast Will Humans Ever Run?, in TIME where he discussed tidbits of John Benkus' (host of ESPN's Sports Science show) new book The Perfection Point with the author.

Based on what my blog here at Chicagonow emphasizes, it goes without saying that both the title of Sanburn's article, and of Benkus' book, would spark some interest for me.

In the piece, Josh toys with several questions that help distinguish the purpose of the book, how increased "statistical rigor" might improve the credibility of the predictions within it, as well as other interesting details. However, there was one question, and answer to that question, that especially caught my eye.

Question: "In your book you say you have some compassion for professional athletes who take steroids. Have you received any criticism for that remark?"

Answer: "People say, How could you ethically take steroids? I take the view, How couldn't you? We're not talking about whether you're going to make $5,000 if you take them. We're talking about a $100 million contract. You're talking about being a good player or being the best player of all time."

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 29: Aleksander Shustov of Russia wins gold in the Mens High Jump Final during day three of the 20th European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on July 29, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

If you are a frequent visitor and reader of my blog, it should be obvious as to why this one particular question stands out for me. And why John Benkus' answer is something I will take issue with.

Is he serious??? How can anyone logically deduce that there is any relationship between a standard of ethics and $$$$? Doing something ethically, or in an ethical manner, has absolutely no relationship whatsoever with how much money one might receive through a decision or choice they make.

The way this reads, it sounds as if John is implying that because one might secure a $100 million contract, that in and of itself justifies the ethics behind the use of steroids.

Really John, is that what you meant to say???

And it gets worse as he continues with, "You're talking about being a good player or being the best player of all time."

BERLIN - AUGUST 22: Tyrone Smith of the Bermudas competes in the men's long jump during the IAAF World Challenge ISTAF 2010 at the Olympic Stadium on August 22, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

As well-thought-out and statistically sound as John's book might be, the implication behind this quote above is what I would call a false premise - it is untrue. If an athlete uses steroids I personally do not see how they could ever be considered "the best player of all time."

This is due to the fact that it was not them who accomplished anything; they are not their true self as they travel that steroid path. It is the steroids that helped to change them into something that they are not, something that they never were.

Basically, it changes your natural genetic potential, or rather, you are unnaturally extending your genetic potential. You are not you anymore. 

It is a false evolution so to speak, an improvement of athletic ability that is artificial, not real, and at the complete opposite side of the spectrum from which ethical standards and behavior are born.

In addition, it is my understanding that steroid use shortens a persons genetic lifespan. If that is not a negative consequence to steroid use I don't know what is.

I have referenced the following piece (link below) on several occasions, when appropriate - like now, and would encourage athletes to follow this mindset or thought process over the one implied in the question (Josh Sanburn) and answer (John Benkus) quoted earlier.

I believe it to be in the best "global" interest of anyone who participates in sports, no matter what level.



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