Steroids and sports writers

I don’t often write about or even allude to sports in my blog. In fact, I never do. But this article on how sports writers make a whole lot of idiotic noise about nothing in regard to steroid abuse is one of the funniest (in the very darkest of ways), best-written, intelligent pieces I’ve seen in a long time. The idiocy all goes back to one event, the writer contends: the death of Len Bias.

Len Bias would have been 40 years old in November had he not celebrated by putting the Cali Cartel up his nose on the very night in 1986 that he’d been drafted by the defending champion Boston Celtics. The tragedy was put to immediate use by a bipartisan passel of opportunistic hysterics led by then-Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who demanded a tough new law to placate the angry and mournful Celtics fans among his constituents. (You think I made that part up? Dan Baum limns the whoopin’ and hollerin’ splendidly in his history of the drug wars, Smoke and Mirrors.)

That October, President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which was sort of the drug war’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and which visited upon ourselves a whole number of really fine ideas, including the mandatory minimum sentences so beloved these days by so many judges. Of course, we learned almost nothing from the whole Bias saga and certainly nothing about the perils of making policy by letting the hottest heads prevail.

It gets much funnier. Link via Andrew Sullivan, who also never writes about sports.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

I remember when Len Bias overdosed. It was a shame, a sad happening. It was the day after he was drafted by the Celtics, who were the pinnacle team of the NBA at the time.

I personally love the war on drugs – it’s such a monumental waste of money, but it does support a lot of police departments.

November 22, 2003 @ 8:10 am | Comment

Not only police departments, Overseas operations (remember the missionaries shot down in South America two years ago?) which lead to instability in many countries. All because, by making the drugs illegal, we create drug lords and unending corruption and crime. It’s as though we learned nothing from Prohibition. One day it will be looked at as one of the stupidest, most counter-productive and insanely expensive efforts in US history.

November 22, 2003 @ 10:41 am | Comment

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