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Sign of the Times

Paul Pfeffer

News Flash!

Athletes use substances to heal quicker, play longer and perform better.

Okay, not much of a news flash. Remember the outrage of state sponsored "soldiers" playing in the Olympics as "amateurs." Our outrage, at its most basic level, was that those athletes had a competitive advantage over others, principally ours. 

Now imagine yourself in a profession where the pressure to compete at a high level is constant. But unlike your profession, a professional athlete has to compete in public, where his or her failures are instantly judged and their careers could end in an instant.

If you report an injury, you might lose your job (Alex Smith) because your back up does well (Colin Kaepernick) or you could be injured and need a miracle cure (Ray Lewis) or you miss out on your team’s drive to the Super Bowl

What if there were no rules?

Do whatever. Take whatever. No competitive advantage or disadvantage, everyone is allowed to alter him or herself without opposition for the chance of attaining lasting glory, not to mention the substantial yet temporal earthly rewards, salary cap notwithstanding.

No you say. We need rules to appreciate the ones who don’t cheat. If we didn’t have rules the clean athletes would be forced to match needle for needle, or risk falling behind.

But don’t we have that now?

Are they not side by side in the same locker room, in the same stadium, on the same team?

Rules will never keep pace with some athlete’s determination to heal quicker, play longer and perform better, by whatever means possible.

So enjoy the game and know that for those who are caught breaking the rules, there is always Oprah.

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