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Author Topic:   The Meldonium Mess
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 16 of 62 (785651)
06-08-2016 2:09 PM


Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
"Maria Sharapova’s Tennis Suspension Is for Two Years," announces the headline in today's New York Times. She is eligible to return on January 25, 2018. Sharapova says she will appeal the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A two year suspension for a first time offense that was inadvertent and that involves more than 300 other athletes is absurdly harsh. Sharapova is 29, so unless she wins her appeal, and quickly, her career as an elite tennis player is effectively over.

Interesting how tennis works - you're suspended while you appeal. Some players have successfully challenged drug testing failures, but they can never recover the lost earnings or tournament points. Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, was suspended for 12 months by the ITF in 2013, later reduced to 4 months by the CAS after he had already served almost 6 months.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by NoNukes, posted 06-08-2016 2:57 PM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9650
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 17 of 62 (785659)
06-08-2016 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Percy
06-08-2016 2:09 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
A two year suspension for a first time offense that was inadvertent and that involves more than 300 other athletes is absurdly harsh

In my opinion, a two year suspension sounds harsh even for a deliberate offense.

Regarding the 300 other athletes, I feel a bit differently from you. Those 300 other athletes might raise the question of notice, but they also raise questions about the prevalence of a medical condition requiring meldonium treatment among a large population of otherwise extremely fit athletes. That cloud of questions envelops Sharapova as well. One possible conclusion is that these folks have been using the drug as a performance enhancing substances for years.

Interesting how tennis works - you're suspended while you appeal. Some players have successfully challenged drug testing failures, but they can never recover the lost earnings or tournament points. Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, was suspended for 12 months by the ITF in 2013, later reduced to 4 months by the CAS after he had already served almost 6 months.

Sharapova is not in a similar position to Cilic, as she is not challenging the test failure, nor is she denying all responsibility. Does it make sense to delay a suspension if what you are arguing about is the length of the suspension? Maybe not.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Percy, posted 06-08-2016 2:09 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Percy, posted 06-09-2016 7:21 AM NoNukes has responded
 Message 20 by ringo, posted 06-09-2016 12:36 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 18 of 62 (785701)
06-09-2016 7:21 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by NoNukes
06-08-2016 2:57 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
NoNukes writes:

One possible conclusion is that these folks have been using the drug as a performance enhancing substances for years.

Meldonium is believed to improve blood flow to the organs of the body, particularly the heart, and thereby increase athletic performance, so yes, it can be safely assumed that that's why most were taking it.

Sharapova is not in a similar position to Cilic, as she is not challenging the test failure, nor is she denying all responsibility. Does it make sense to delay a suspension if what you are arguing about is the length of the suspension? Maybe not.

That paragraph wasn't comparing Sharapova's case to Cilic's. It was about the unfairness of suspending first and going through the appeal process later. Cilic was noted because upon appeal his suspension was shortened to less time than already served.

In my opinion, a two year suspension sounds harsh even for a deliberate offense.

Yes. The average tennis career is probably around 10 years, so 2-year suspensions are 20% of the average career. Sharapova is already wealthy, but what if you're a Victor Troicki, in 2013 suspended for 18 months, reduced upon appeal to 12 months. His $6 million in lifetime prize money might seem like a lot, but at 30 he's nearing the end of his careeer, and a huge portion of any tour player's winnings are eaten up by coaches, trainers, practice partners, hangers-on, travel, hotels, etc. Tennis players aren't like athletes in baseball, basketball and football where all those expenses are picked up by the team - in tennis each player pays those expenses out of their own pocket, with sports management companies handling all the details and, of course, taking a cut.

The top players get lucrative promotion contracts with sports companies, but this benefit doesn't penetrate very far down the ranking chart. Almost all professional tennis players through the top few hundred are sponsored with respect to equipment like rackets, strings, shoes and often clothing, but it can be very tough financially on the tour for lower ranked players, though it is a great advantage to be number 80 in the world from a small country because you'll be famous and beloved and showered with economic opportunities at home. Being number 80 from the US won't buy you a cup a coffee.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by NoNukes, posted 06-08-2016 2:57 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by kjsimons, posted 06-09-2016 9:56 AM Percy has responded
 Message 21 by NoNukes, posted 06-10-2016 12:57 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
kjsimons
Member
Posts: 638
From: Orlando,FL
Joined: 06-17-2003


Message 19 of 62 (785707)
06-09-2016 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Percy
06-09-2016 7:21 AM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
It seems to me that a better way to implement testing for newly banned drugs, would be to start the testing of them perhaps six months prior to any penalties and then send out warnings to those athletes that test positive for them. This way there would be less misunderstandings especially if a drug has multiple names.

The aim should be to stop the athletes from using them not see how many can be tripped up and suspended at least IMHO.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Percy, posted 06-09-2016 7:21 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Percy, posted 06-10-2016 9:39 AM kjsimons has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 13187
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 20 of 62 (785717)
06-09-2016 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by NoNukes
06-08-2016 2:57 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
NoNukes writes:

In my opinion, a two year suspension sounds harsh even for a deliberate offense.


Maybe a two-year suspension will induce her to read the ****ing memo in future.

We had a similar situation with rower Silken Laumann, who was taking cold medication and didn't bother to read the label. When people know that they're going to be tested for drugs, you'd think they'd have the sense to pay attention to what drugs they're taking.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by NoNukes, posted 06-08-2016 2:57 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9650
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 21 of 62 (785749)
06-10-2016 12:57 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Percy
06-09-2016 7:21 AM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
That paragraph wasn't comparing Sharapova's case to Cilic's. It was about the unfairness of suspending first and going through the appeal process later. Cilic was noted because upon appeal his suspension was shortened to less time than already served.

Understood. My point is only that Sharapova has a lot less to complain about with respect to having her sentence start during her appeal. Cilic and others would have much more of an issue with the rules. I understand that Sharapova's suspension has been back dated to some time in January.

Also, generally speaking, drug testing results are not overturned all that often.

but what if you're a Victor Troicki, in 2013 suspended for 18 months, reduced upon appeal to 12 months. His $6 million in lifetime prize money might seem like a lot, but at 30 he's nearing the end of his careeer

I did try to work up some sympathy for a thirty year old who has made a few million dollars but now needs to go to work, but I was not quite able to do it. I might need to know more about his circumstances...

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Percy, posted 06-09-2016 7:21 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 22 of 62 (785765)
06-10-2016 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by kjsimons
06-09-2016 9:56 AM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
kjsimons writes:

The aim should be to stop the athletes from using them not see how many can be tripped up and suspended at least IMHO.

Right. I think the international agency responsible for drug testing in sport (WADA - World Anti-Doping Agency) has lost sight of the important goal. When hundreds of athletes fail drug tests within a month or two then the problem is clearly process. Hundreds of athletes didn't suddenly get careless and stupid, especially in an Olympic year. WADA defends its procedures.

A policing agency with the power to take away careers needs oversight. WADA has a ramshackle notification process for drugs newly added to the list that involves throwing the information over the wall to more than a hundred national sports agencies who are responsible for translation (including the drug names) and notifying their athletes. With such draconian punishments involved, WADA should be required to prove, not just assume, their notification process effective. There are online signature processes available (DotLoop is one), and probably other approaches exist. WADA and the national sports agencies need ways of insuring that unread attachments don't just fall through the cracks.

Another issue not mentioned yet is that WADA failed to consider that it might take meldonium some time to clear from an athlete's system. Evidence is gathering that the time period is not short. Many athletes who failed for meldonium are claiming they stopped taking it before the end of 2015. WADA amended the guidelines for meldonium in April to a higher level for tests before March 1, but they're obviously winging it because conclusive research data doesn't yet exist.

Considering what's at stake, the meldonium mess demonstrates that WADA has a great deal of power but isn't taking much responsibility for how well it wields that power and isn't being held accountable.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by kjsimons, posted 06-09-2016 9:56 AM kjsimons has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 3:43 AM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9650
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 23 of 62 (785789)
06-11-2016 3:43 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Percy
06-10-2016 9:39 AM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
Another issue not mentioned yet is that WADA failed to consider that it might take meldonium some time to clear from an athlete's system. Evidence is gathering that the time period is not short. Many athletes who failed for meldonium are claiming they stopped taking it before the end of 2015. WADA amended the guidelines for meldonium in April to a higher level for tests before March 1, but they're obviously winging it because conclusive research data doesn't yet exist.

Your point regarding oversight is well taken. In particular, getting the period wrong, coupled with a system where the suspension kicks in before the appeal is a recipe for disaster. Of course once again, this particular issue does not affect Sharapova who has acknowledged taking meldonium after the cut off date.

I'm not convinced that a fair way of policing performance enhancing drugs exists. The reason is that it seems to be accepted that it is okay take performance enhancing drugs until the specific concoction becomes illegal. Providing notice, and a proper time based on the drug half life in the body may be a problem once a drug is identified as an enhancer, but IMO, most of those meldonium users were deliberately using a performance enhancer for which testing technology was not sufficiently evolved to catch them. As a result athletes and sporting authorities are involved in an arms race in which the sporting authorities are always chasing the science. Not a desired situation. With the exception of folks with a real medical need, IMO those athletes were in fact not within the spirit of the rules.

They most important reason for legitimate reason for limiting drug use in sports, in my opinion, is the trickle down affect to young users entering the sport who may feel compelled to take short cuts that will physically damage them. If that can be prevented without depriving an athlete of their livelihoods, then I would not care a whit about what those guys do.

Except that I might admire their abilities just a tad less. If it turns out that nobody can really serve a tennis ball at over 160 mph or hit a 550 foot home run without chemical enhancement, then what is there to marvel at when somebody does those things? We might just as well let folks use "waldoes" or exoskeleton suits.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Percy, posted 06-10-2016 9:39 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by Percy, posted 06-11-2016 8:57 AM NoNukes has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 24 of 62 (785791)
06-11-2016 8:57 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by NoNukes
06-11-2016 3:43 AM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
NoNukes writes:

I'm not convinced that a fair way of policing performance enhancing drugs exists. The reason is that it seems to be accepted that it is okay take performance enhancing drugs until the specific concoction becomes illegal.

If this implies that you don't believe the existing prohibited list creates the bigger problems then I agree.

About the view that there's an athletic culture that misguidedly believes performance enhancing drugs are okay until banned, I think it's a complicated issue. The athletes themselves are a diverse group and don't have uniform opinions about PEDs. And the WADA list is of "substances and methods," not just drugs. The availability of a substance can vary widely internationally, legal in some countries and not others. And the classification of a legal substance can also vary widely internationally, from hospital use only to prescription use only to over-the-counter.

Avoiding substances that have been on the list for years seems easy, but some of these substances are included in over-the-counter medications, the label may use an unfamiliar name for the substance, and in some cases the substance isn't even on the label. This seems a knotty problem that should involve better rules and more discretion (for example, a first-offense failure for an over-the-counter substance that now results in a suspension could instead yield a warning with more intensive testing for a year), but instead full responsibility is placed on the athlete.

There are also problems with banned prescription PEDs that have legitimate purposes. WADA already allows for exceptions for some drugs with legitimate uses, like insulin and salmeterol (asthma), and athletes can obtain a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exception) for them. But another name for salmeterol is serevent, and serevent isn't on the list. And that's just in English. Imagine you're a poor asthmatic Laotian athlete who only speaks Lao. Good luck.

Another problem is PEDs with legitimate purposes that aren't well understood yet. WADA bans all oral beta-blockers with no exceptions, but there is gathering evidence that beta-blockers can be very helpful with a genetic condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that can result in diastolic dysfunction. This thickening of the ventricle walls affects about 1 in 500 people. Athletes with this condition experience it as exercise intolerance (dyspnea - the thickened ventricle walls do not allow a sufficient amount of blood to be pumped on each beat). Should treatment for a genetic condition like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy be allowed just like treatment for the genetic (or at least congenital) condition of type I diabetes is allowed? Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, is the diabetic athlete who comes to mind.

I'm trying to think of a world-class athlete with exercise intolerance issues, and the only one I can think of is Rocco Baldelli. He was a Tampa Bay and Red Sox outfielder whose exercise intolerance issues were actually diagnosed as mitochondrial channelopathy, and it ended his career early at age 29. But although he didn't have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, his is a good example of the damaging effects of exercise intolerance on an athlete's career, and this was in a sport that is not aerobically demanding. Athletes with exercise intolerance issues don't normally rise above the "casual athlete" level, but they could if the condition were diagnosed and treated early. What if Rocco Baldelli had had early-diagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and been in a sport covered by WADA?

As a result athletes and sporting authorities are involved in an arms race in which the sporting authorities are always chasing the science.

Yes, but they should be "chasing the science" in both directions. There's the need to continually identify new performance enhancing substances and methods, but also to identify legitimate needs for them.

They most important reason for legitimate reason for limiting drug use in sports, in my opinion, is the trickle down effect to young users entering the sport who may feel compelled to take short cuts that will physically damage them.

Yes.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 3:43 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 1:42 PM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9650
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 25 of 62 (785805)
06-11-2016 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Percy
06-11-2016 8:57 AM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
If this implies that you don't believe the existing prohibited list creates the bigger problems then I agree.

I'm missing your meaning here to the extent that I cannot tell what it is we are agreeing on. Is the list a problem or not?

NN writes:

As a result athletes and sporting authorities are involved in an arms race in which the sporting authorities are always chasing the science.

Percy writes:

Yes, but they should be "chasing the science" in both directions. There's the need to continually identify new performance enhancing substances and methods, but also to identify legitimate needs for them.

I think the PED arms race is extremely problematic and that the adverse relationship between the athletes and the regulators is unhealthy for the sport. In this case, we seem to agree that many folks are taking meldonium in order to enhance their performance and not for any medical purpose. With respect to meldonium, I suspect that there are very few players who can justify a legitimate medical use. Maybe Sharapova can, but I have my doubts even about that.

for example, a first-offense failure for an over-the-counter substance that now results in a suspension could instead yield a warning with more intensive testing for a year), but instead full responsibility is placed on the athlete.

If we are not talking about notice, then whose fault is it other than the athletes? By now folks should know that you cannot just pick up stuff at GNC or Walgreens and assume that it is okay.

And what is the effect on folks that have competed, and must continue to compete with those folk if in many cases, we cannot even say when the effects will diminish? Would the fair thing be to allow everyone that must compete with them to cheat during that period? For example, some PEDs are things that are effective during training and help players get stronger over shorter periods or to train longer. Some of the involved substances aren't even in athlete's systems in a significant way during competition. Why shouldn't those folks, when they are caught, be banned until their muscles wither away? Should they be allowed to use that booming serve or that extra couple of feet on their fastball? Or what about some technique that they mastered by doing some extra practice that some PED made possible? Okay for a receiver/quarterback pair to exploit that special connection developed from a few extra hours of practice per day over a summer? When will those advantages wear off?

I think WADA is likely guilty of exactly the kinds of excesses you cite. But I don't think it is because they are power hungry mad men. Instead it is because they legitimately fear the effects a Tour de France type scandal would have on their sport. Certainly some sponsors don't want to be around drug spectacles, and at least some viewers would lose interest. With a more lax policy on enhancers, I think it is completely possible for the WADA to forfeit any hope of keeping the sport clean. Maybe they should just say screw it and stop testing so we can assume that everyone is juiced.

Imagine you're a poor asthmatic Laotian athlete who only speaks Lao. Good luck.

A Laotian would need some help with this. Do any of these athletes, or at least any significant number of them, lack access to that kind of help? I agree that language can be a significant problem. But surely these folks generally have access to trained medical folk. Are their doctors saying that they too missed this stuff?

Should treatment for a genetic condition like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy be allowed just like treatment for the genetic (or at least congenital) condition of type I diabetes is allowed? Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, is the diabetic athlete who comes to mind.

Maybe those things should be allowed in the right case. Good question. How do you feel about the use of prosthetic legs in say track and field or tennis? In my view there is some line to be drawn here, but I don't know where that line belongs.

Athletes with exercise intolerance issues don't normally rise above the "casual athlete" level

I have a ball handling deficiency that does not allow me to dribble a basketball with the proficiency of say Steve Nash, or Stephen Curry and I have never been motivated enough to even try to improve. I have always believed that to be a problem that prevented me from playing basketball at the Div I level.

Not everybody can be a professional athlete. Maybe there is no answer for folks like Baldelli. I could live with that.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Percy, posted 06-11-2016 8:57 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Percy, posted 06-11-2016 3:31 PM NoNukes has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 26 of 62 (785819)
06-11-2016 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by NoNukes
06-11-2016 1:42 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
I'm missing your meaning here to the extent that I cannot tell what it is we are agreeing on. Is the list a problem or not?

It sounded like we agreed that items newly added to the banned list have the potential to cause more problems than items already on the list.

With respect to meldonium, I suspect that there are very few players who can justify a legitimate medical use.

But there is no good evidence linking meldonium to athletic performance. All the cited literature in the Wikipedia article is laboratory studies, which are not a reliable indicator of actual effects in the body. A PubMed search revealed only a single Russian paper whose abstract reads more like an advertisement. Could the meldonium "craze" be the result of encouragement of athletes and labs by Eastern European meldonium manufacturers looking to increase sales when it actually does nothing, finally to the point that it caught WADA's unfortunate attention?

If we are not talking about notice, then whose fault is it other than the athletes?

There are no hard answers to that question. The reality is that it is complex with distributed responsibility. However we got to this point, the current situation that places ultimate responsibility on the athlete and gives them all the blame and punishment denies this reality. The urgency regarding drug testing began years before with concerns about drugs like certain steroids that have obvious short term beneficial and long term negative effects, but today we find ourselves with a bewilderingly long list of substances with a multiplicity of names and (I'll wager) often with undemonstrated short or long term effects.

And what is the effect on folks that have competed, and must continue to compete with those folk if in many cases, we cannot even say when the effects will diminish?

We also cannot often say with certainty what the athletic effects are, if any.

I think WADA is likely guilty of exactly the kinds of excesses you cite. But I don't think it is because they are power hungry mad men.

I don't either. I think they've jumped at the easy and obvious answer to a complex question.

I have a ball handling deficiency that does not allow me to dribble a basketball with the proficiency of say Steve Nash, or Stephen Curry and I have never been motivated enough to even try to improve. I have always believed that to be a problem that prevented me from playing basketball at the Div I level.

Not everybody can be a professional athlete. Maybe there is no answer for folks like Baldelli. I could live with that.

Outside of any actual competition world class athletes can already be said to have won the genetic lottery. To what extent must those of us lesser winners in that lottery (as you and I must be classed) be their victims? (And the question can be repeated down the ladder of decreasing inherent athletic gifts.)

Near and farsightedness can have congenital and genetic origins. Novak Djokovic, tennis's current male #1, wears contacts. Where do we draw the line at overcoming shortcomings that have congenital or genetic origins? Do we draw it at mechanical interventions like contacts and eyeglasses (or maybe running blades) while disallowing chemical solutions? What is the argument for drawing that distinction, especially when there are already exceptions? If a ball handling deficiency drug were developed, by what argument would its sufferers be denied the right to compete at the top levels but not the sufferer of type I diabetes.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 1:42 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 4:16 PM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9650
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 27 of 62 (785822)
06-11-2016 4:16 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Percy
06-11-2016 3:31 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
It sounded like we agreed that items newly added to the banned list have the potential to cause more problems than items already on the list.

Okay. There may have been some negations in the sentence where I lost my way. Yeah, I agree with what you say above.

NN writes:

If we are not talking about notice, then whose fault is it other than the athletes?

There are no hard answers to that question. The reality is that it is complex with distributed responsibility.

Distributed among whom? If we have ruled out the issue of notice, which I did in my question, are we not talking about the athlete and his hirees as being responsible? If so, I am comfortable with the athlete being held responsible. I understand that some folk might not be, but what if all that had to happen was for a staff member or family member to fall on his sword to allow any athlete to escape punishment? Surely that is not a viable scheme?

what extent must those of us lesser winners in that lottery (as you and I must be classed) be their victims?

Victims? Perhaps we have a fundamental difference about how we see things. I'm not saying that your view is invalid, but I don't see not being a world class athlete as being victimized or cheated in some way.

Near and farsightedness can have congenital and genetic origins. Novak Djokovic, tennis's current male #1, wears contacts. Where do we draw the line at overcoming shortcomings that have congenital or genetic origins?

Somewhere between wearing contact lenses and blood doping and prosthetic devices? We may disagree on where the line is to be drawn, but we agree in principle that there should be aline. What if there turned out to be some kind of goggles or other eye wear that could actually improve your ability to shoot a basketball or hit a baseball, would those things be fair if worn by folks with normal (non myopic) vision. Maybe that's a bit closer to the line than ordinary contacts. What about golf carts? Not allowed, but what about stretching equipment for basketball folks who have back problems? Or knee braces, or casts for football players? Those are allowed.

I can recall some fairly goofy science fiction stories based on this stuff. I vaguely recall a story where gifted people were forced to wear inhibitors (for example, extra weights, and earphones playing static to disrupt thinking) in order to not have daily advantages against normal folk. Vonnegut maybe? Cannot remember much else about the story.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Percy, posted 06-11-2016 3:31 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by Percy, posted 06-11-2016 7:18 PM NoNukes has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 28 of 62 (785829)
06-11-2016 7:18 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by NoNukes
06-11-2016 4:16 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
NoNukes writes:

There are no hard answers to that question. The reality is that it is complex with distributed responsibility.

Distributed among whom?

I didn't mean that responsibility should be spread among the athlete, their management group and their entourage. I meant that sports ruling bodies also have a responsibility to create sane, consistent and reliable processes that can be followed with reasonable effort. I alluded to one possible improvement in this area in my prior post when I mentioned better rules and discretion for inadvertent violations involving over-the-counter medications.

To what extent must those of us lesser winners in that lottery (as you and I must be classed) be their victims?

Victims? Perhaps we have a fundamental difference about how we see things. I'm not saying that your view is invalid, but I don't see not being a world class athlete as being victimized or cheated in some way.

I don't either. My choice of the word "victim" was only in the sense of losing or getting used, as in facing competitors who have worked no harder and and want it no more, but who fared better in the genetic lottery and so end up schooling you.

We may disagree on where the line is to be drawn, but we agree in principle that there should be a line.

Yes, agreed, and the rest of your paragraph that I didn't quote poses some good questions, but I don't think it's important and probably not possible anyway that we reach agreement on where that line should be drawn. What I do think important is that sports governing bodies have rational and fair policies and procedures, and that they have research data establishing the relationship between the substance and athletic performance and other important data such as the time it takes to clear from the human body. There are 59 substances currently on the list - it's amazing they can even test for that many (though there are groups of very similar substances). As the list continues to grow so will compliance problems.

I was wondering about research data for common medications that athletes might want to take but can't, so I looked up Sudafed. Research seems conclusive but sparse that it provides an athletic advantage, for instance see Muscular and cardiorespiratory effects of pseudoephedrine in human athletes. If a drug as common as Sudafed has this little research then one might suspect that less common medications have even less research.

I can recall some fairly goofy science fiction stories based on this stuff. I vaguely recall a story where gifted people were forced to wear inhibitors (for example, extra weights, and earphones playing static to disrupt thinking) in order to not have daily advantages against normal folk. Vonnegut maybe? Cannot remember much else about the story.

That one's not familiar to me, but maybe Robert Sheckley is another possibility?

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Word choice typo.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 4:16 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 11:13 PM Percy has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9650
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 29 of 62 (785837)
06-11-2016 11:13 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Percy
06-11-2016 7:18 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
I didn't mean that responsibility should be spread among the athlete, their management group and their entourage.
\

No, you didn't. That was my idea.

I meant that sports ruling bodies also have a responsibility to create sane, consistent and reliable processes that can be followed with reasonable effort.

I'm asking you for more detail about this. I need some convincing.

For items that are already on the list, and for which notice is not an issue, I don't see any additional responsibility to place on the sports ruling bodies when an athlete deliberately or inadvertently breaks the rules. Perhaps an example showing how the sports ruling body bears some responsibility would be helpful.

That one's not familiar to me, but maybe Robert Sheckley is another possibility?

Maybe. After doing a quick search on wikipedia, the short story 'Harrison Bergeron' by Kurt Vonnegut seems to mostly closely match the details I can recall.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron

quote:
In the year 2081, amendments to the Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General's agents enforce the equality laws, forcing citizens to wear "handicaps": masks for those who are too beautiful, radios inside the ears of intelligent people, and heavy weights for the strong or athletic.

ABE:

If a drug as common as Sudafed has this little research then one might suspect that less common medications have even less research.

I don't think you have made the case that the Sudafed research is insufficient. And I'm not going to take the leap about how little less research there might be on some other substance without looking at the details. But surely for sudafed, that are substitutes that can be used. I think the availability of alternates is one thing that ought to be considered when banning a substance. If there is some suspicion, and plenty of effective alternatives, then what's required before banning a substance?

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Percy, posted 06-11-2016 7:18 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Percy, posted 06-12-2016 9:04 AM NoNukes has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15645
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 30 of 62 (785850)
06-12-2016 9:04 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by NoNukes
06-11-2016 11:13 PM


Re: Sharapova Suspended From Tennis for Two Years
NoNukes writes:

I didn't mean that responsibility should be spread among the athlete, their management group and their entourage.

No, you didn't. That was my idea.

Sometimes it seems like you and I are speaking different dialects of English.

I meant that sports ruling bodies also have a responsibility to create sane, consistent and reliable processes that can be followed with reasonable effort.

I'm asking you for more detail about this. I need some convincing.

I'm not trying to convince you. I don't think that's possible. If you understand my position I'm happy.

For items that are already on the list, and for which notice is not an issue, I don't see any additional responsibility to place on the sports ruling bodies when an athlete deliberately or inadvertently breaks the rules. Perhaps an example showing how the sports ruling body bears some responsibility would be helpful.

I've already answered this question several times. The athlete has no control over the fact that many banned substances are present in over-the-counter medications, sometimes with no mention on the label, and can also be present in nutritional supplements and even in contaminated food. Product formulations, labeling and substance names keep changing. On The Ground - A Team Medical Officers Problems describes the problems of adhering to the WADA banned substance list from a team manager perspective, and it's even worse for the athlete forced by circumstances to go it along. This isn't uncommon, even at the top levels. Going back to my own sport of tennis again, Victoria Azarenka, currently #6 in the world but a former #1, left Belarus as a young junior and moved to the United States because her federation didn't believe she was promising enough. Gilles Simon, currently #13, largely goes it alone with little support from the French federation. Yulia Putintseva, currently #35 in the world, changed citizenship to Kazakhstan because of lack of support from the Russian federation.

Adhering to the WADA banned substance list was simple when it was short and the drugs largely illegal anyway. Banning athletes for steroid use raises no objections. But in a few number of years the list of banned substances has grown, including substances widely and easily available, sometimes with no indication of their presence, and often with insufficient scientific justification. It's a difficult problem, and WADA's solution of putting all the responsibility for compliance on the athlete is not fair or rational or reasonable. Making it fair and rational and reasonable is WADA's responsibility.

If you want a detailed solution, I don't have it. The WADA annual budget is only $30 million, so they're inadequately funded to do much of anything other than throw substance lists over the wall to national sports federations and hope for the best in dissemination, then conduct testing. Even if they had a lot more money I don't have an answer. But just recognizing that change is needed is the necessary first step, and once WADA officials recognize that rationality and fairness of rules and procedures is an important goal then they should be able to find solutions.

If a drug as common as Sudafed has this little research then one might suspect that less common medications have even less research.

I don't think you have made the case that the Sudafed research is insufficient.

Yes, your honor.

And I'm not going to take the leap about how little less research there might be on some other substance without looking at the details.

Well, then look at the details. You can set yourself up as judge and jury if you like, but this is a discussion board, not a courtroom, and you're a participant, not a judge. I've presented evidence supporting my position and you haven't. The best you can seem to do is say, "I'm not convinced." How about doing some of your own legwork?

I called the evidence for the effects of Sudafed on athletic performance "sparse" and cited Muscular and cardiorespiratory effects of pseudoephedrine in human athletes, which was back in 2000. The study mentions a lack of research.

But looking into it a bit more I found another study conducted a couple years later in 2002 that found no effect, A Moderate Dose of Pseudoephedrine Does Not Alter Muscle Contraction Strength or Anaerobic Power.

Then here's a 2006 study that reports that Sudafed had been removed from the banned list and placed on the monitoring list, the motivation for the study, and reports that it does confer an advantage, Pseudoephedrine enhances performance in 1500-m runners. But the study was of only 7 athletes.

My conclusion from these conflicting studies remains that Sudafed provides an advantage, but at best the research must be deemed equivocal. If this is typical of the lack of strength of scientific foundation of the drugs on the list then severe penalties cannot be justified.

Now you can continue to run on and on about how you're not convinced, and you're well within your rights to not be convinced, but I'm the only one presenting evidence for their side, the side that isn't just going, "Nope nope nope nope."

But surely for sudafed, that are substitutes that can be used.

Well, then look it up. Doing your work for you again, the recommended substitute for Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is Sudafed PE (phenylephrine), which is in the Monitoring Program and expected to be banned by 2018. Ephedra contains ephedrine, also banned, not just by WADA but by the FDA. Your turn, look something up.

WADA has only been around since 2003. Their goals are good, their implementation still has a ways to go.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by NoNukes, posted 06-11-2016 11:13 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by NoNukes, posted 06-12-2016 12:52 PM Percy has responded

    
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