Is doping the ruination of professional cycling? Some people seem to think so, and are taking it to the streets like so many latter-day Nancy Reagans.
At least it’s not “Just Say No” or “Get Doped on Life.”
The parallels between doping prohibitions and other kinds of prohibitions are unmistakable. Doping bans certainly are just as effective as alcohol and drug prohibitions have been, and the primary beneficiaries are those who violate the bans. Doping is big business, and making it scarce through bans makes it more lucrative.
Athletes have a powerful, rational desire to improve their performance using all methods available, and one can’t help but wonder if lifting bans on “illicit” performance enhancement wouldn’t be a better way to deal with the problem. What, after all, is the problem with doping? That it can cause harm to the dopers? That it makes for an uneven playing field? That the resulting performances aren’t real?
Wouldn’t each of these problems be addressed, each in its own way, if athletes could dope openly?