Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #150 2/21/2008

#150Ė Spygate, steroids and Congress (Watt Thoughts)

Do you know what the critical areas are that are facing the USA government in early 2008? If you are like me these areas are such things as the federal budget (this year and next year), terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Social Security, trade and other agreements with other nations, immigration, etc.

That is not what Congress is seeing as the major problems and that we need to have hearings on and find ways to solve. It is the National Football League (NFL) spygate episode and what happened to that tape and the steroid issue in Major League Baseball (MLB).

The New England Patriots got caught violating NFL rules on taping the opposing team last fall and the NFL punished the team and coach. They also took the tape and destroyed it. The Patriots went on to win every game but the Super Bowl. What is Congressís concern? It is what happened to the tape and why was it destroyed and who approved? Were there any laws broken, none that anyone is aware of. It is the NFLís decision to decide what to do with the tape.

Baseball had no rule against steroids until last few years and also made a rule against HGH. Problem with the rule against HGH is that there is no test to show anyone used. The claim is that use of steroids and HGH will make a player better. Somehow I doubt if I used tons of HGH or steroids I would be able to make the single A team of MLB much less a major league team. It may augment the skills or allow longer playing, but the player needs the basic skills. Long term it may ruin their health. Congress had hearings on this several years ago and brought stars to testify. Again they did that this month. Most of these allegations about players using are either before MLB made a rule against or was before anyone was tested. There are legitimate uses of both as a means of healing. (Admission here by author. A number of years ago to combat an infection I was given steroids several times, not the shot but pills. It may have caused me to become a better computer teacher or writer, but somehow I doubt it). Many of these players are saying it was proscribed for healing from an injury or saying not taken and from what we are told we may have all taken as part of vitamins or supplements. What is Congressís concern with this? Probably primarily to get their picture with Roger Clemens and others. In the case of the Olympians they were against the rules for them to take and they knew it.

What is the problem with going back before item illegal and claiming that it was wrongly taken? Who knows what they may decide is bad for us tomorrow or gives an advantage to the athlete. I rode my bicycle in about five events last year and expect the same this year. I drink Cokes and Gatorade/Powerade when riding and in normal life (Those that know me know Coca Cola is a major beverage of mine. What if they decide caffeine is an illegal supplement? Will I have to admit I was using a substance for unfair advantage in being able to walk the Charleston Bridge or ride 65 miles in Claxton? Will all of my friends who use coffee have to admit they had an unfair advantage on getting work done in morning because of caffeine? This steroid issue is similar. If we want to say unfair, etc now, then MLB and other sports making rules against is fine. I do hope they do not ban caffeine and get after people for helping other s with it. Who knows how many coffee cups I have given away and I may be an accessory on caffeine use.

I have gone back to look at Constitution and I can find nothing in it that says it is Congress or the Federal governmentís concern on what happens in sports and what happens to tapes, notes, whatever or use of substances. Sports is never mentioned so probably laws relating to it belong to the states. I was a political science major and I do not recall in any of the courses ever being taught that it is. Congress needs to spend their time on what the Constitution assigned them. Yes I realize they will claim it is interstate commerce, but is it really their business and is it that high of a priority. I don't think Roger, and the others are any threat to our country rather they did or not. What the Patriots saw on the other team bench may have been significant about the team defense, but had nothing to do with our national defense. Congress needs to work on real issues. As far as the ball players and coaches, do your job and follow your leagues rules.



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