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Should doping in sport be a crime?

11 Comments
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No. Why spend public resources on policing a private for-profit entertainment activity? The enforcement burden should fall on the private sport organisations.

It's also completely impractical. If someone takes an otherwise legal over the counter medication to calm their nerves before some niche sport like 'dressage' (horse dancing), which happens to be banned by a private equestrian association, why should they be arrested? Why should I pay for the arrest, trial and possible incarceration of this person? I really couldn't care less. Would all sports and competitions be covered or just the big popular ones? Who will make these decisions?

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

No. Why spend public resources on policing a private for-profit entertainment activity?

Yes, for precisely this reason. Where profit, sponsorship, and national prestige rest on the performance of and individual or team, there will be immense pressure to perform or take advantage of anything which will give them an edge. Unfortunately it has been shown that time and time again, when these factors are in play, morals and ethics go out the window for the benefit of immediate gain.

If you want an example of this, look at the thousands of young Russian and East German gymnasts fed drugs to delay the onset of puberty so they could continue in their chosen field.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@InspectorGadget

Yes, for precisely this reason. Where profit, sponsorship, and national prestige rest on the performance of and individual or team, there will be immense pressure to perform or take advantage of anything which will give them an edge.

Just because large sums of money are involved does not mean that there's a compelling public interest for taxpayers to cover the cost of ensuring the integrity of these private competitions. If we extend this logic, what about spelling bees, or fishing competitions where an angler uses an unauthorised lure, or even video game tournaments with huge prize money? The Electronic Sports League now has its own list of banned substances and drug tests its video game players. Are you also in favour of potentially criminalising them?

Nobody likes cheaters, but when you criminalise something, you're shifting the cost and burden of investigation and enforcement onto all public taxpayers. Police, prosecutors and judges will have to expend public resources to determine whether a crime has actually been committed. This is why, in most cases, we try to only criminalise activities where every member of the public has a theoretical shared interest in the enforcement of the law (ie. murder, theft, rape, speeding {but only on public roads}, public intoxication {but not private intoxication}, etc). In the case of sports competitions, a significant portion of the public do not follow these private competitions and stand to gain absolutely nothing from spending public resources to ensure the athletes are clean.

Even if you tried to criminalise doping, what would an anti-doping law actually look like? The list of banned substances differs considerably from sport to sport, from competition to competition, and from governing body to governing body. How would we settle on a specific list of banned substances? Would you cover every conceivable sport? Would it be updated every 6 months as new substances and techniques are developed? Because what you could not do in a criminal anti-doping law is deputise private sports governing bodies and say that anyone found guilty of doping by these private bodies is now also guilty of a criminal offense. This would deny people their right to a fair trial by the state. The private governing bodies are clearly in a far better position to police the rules of their own competitions and they have the means and financial incentives to do this.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@MEMEME

You've raised some good points there.

Nobody likes cheaters, but when you criminalise something, you're shifting the cost and burden of investigation and enforcement onto all public taxpayers

Yes, I'd have to agree. I'm not really concerned with the cheating aspect to it, but most nations are naturally concerned with the effects on public health if this became widespread. Public health is a large and very real national burden often paid for by taxpayers. We are already seeing the effects of widespread steroid use by bodybuilders and the after effects are picked up by taxpayers. Likewise with other sports like swimming, weightlifting to name a few others.

I guess the concern is that normalizing widespread unnecessary medication of a reasonable cross section of society, often administered by people who have not studied medicine for 7+ years, will have large unintended health effects and costs in the long run.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In boxing,yes,because you can kill someone from a punch.But in non-contact sports allow.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

M3M3M3Nov. 4  10:33 am JST It's also completely impractical. If someone takes an otherwise legal over the counter medication to calm their nerves before some niche sport like 'dressage' (horse dancing),

Bad example as riding a horse in any kind of competition is not a sport. Sports are strictly human "powered."

I do agree, however, that I can't think of a single substance a human could take that would improve performance in, again, any competition involving a horse.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, it should be considered a crime. These athletes are training like crazy for a gold medal, which entitles them to fame, wealth & glory. And some of them have won silver medals to athletes who cheated only to re-awarded with the gold medal a month later. But nobody remembers, all people remember is that so-and-so won the silver medal.

The cheated athlete has missed his/her opportunity to capitalize on their success, while the cheater is given what basically amounts to a slap on the wrist. This is terribly unfair to the athlete who'd spent years training and to lose to a cheat and be forgotten and only remembered for winning a silver medal, even though he/she was re-awarded with a gold medal later. Terribly unfair.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

When sport was amateur no, but now it is big business therefor doping or any form of cheating is fraud .

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To extend the argument, we'd have to ban musicians from drinking alcohol.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There are humans with a conscience and those without. There are even governments without a conscience, where winning counts above everything.

Maybe there should be a clean set of sports where competitors undergo tests to prove they are clean.

Then there could be a parallel world of sports where anything goes and you do not have to prove anything. Take what you like and reap the consequences, both good and bad.

Two worlds, two sets of records.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There should be two competitions. The main one for unaided athletes and a second one that pushes boundaries for those supported by drugs.

It would be interesting to see just how far the assisted athletes are able to go above those unassisted.

It would also be a warning about early death from drug use and pushing the human body beyond what it should do naturally.

It would also make it easier to see cheating in the unaided categories as the winning results would be much closer to mirroring the drug assisted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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