Should doping be legalized?

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benjamin maso

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Oct 27, 2000, 11:38:30 AM10/27/00
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The first serious attempts to ban drugs in sport were made after the Olympic
Games of Helsinki 1952. The reason was simple: the Soviet-Union won so many
golds that the West-Europeans and Americans were convinced that the Russians
must have been much farther in using drugs than any other country. For that
reason they insisted on introducing taking tests. Not because they cared
for the health of athletes, but only because they were convinced they
couldn't win as long as the Russians had something they didn't. The first
test were very simple. The most effective was the sex-test, which led to the
downfall of some succesfull athletes like the Rumanian high jumper Yolanda
Balas, the Russian discus thrower Tamara Press and others. But drug-test
became more and more complicated and the list of forbidden products became
longer and longer. It included even some products of which nobody knew if
they were really performance-enhancing, but just in case they were, it was
considered safer to put them of the list as well. In other words: to a
certain extent the list was completely arbitrary.
Drug tests started in the Tour in 1966. The day after, the peloton went
on strike. The initiator was Jacques Anquetil. he said: "I agree with drug
tests, but only for novices and amateurs. Pro's have enough experience to
know what is best for them and must be allowed to take their own
responsabilities." Wise words, but after Simson' death in 1967 they didn't
stand a ghost of a chance to be accepted. What's more: for the general
public the use of drugs had become more and more a moral issue. Not for the
riders: they never use words like "cheat'', etc.
Of course, it would be wonderful if drugs didn't exist. The chances to win
should be equal for every athlete, and if some of them have found powerful
strong performance -product, their rivals can have an insurmountable
disavantage. On the other hand, that's a fact of life. Gaston Reiff inveted
interval training and beat Zatopek. Lemond was clever enough to use
thriatlon handlebars and beat Fignon. Of course, that's not just the same as
the case of EPO for instance. They are so expensive that only the richest
riders and teams can afford them, which isn't right. If there were simple
effective methods to make the use of such products impossible, splendid. But
meanwhile the "fight'' against doping is causing more damage than the drugs
themselves. Not only because some tests (like EPO) are a pure scandal, but
also because it's destroying the sport in general. Winning a race has become
suspect, having a bad day even more.
As far as I see it there is only one solution: legalizing drugs to a
certain amount, Anquetil-wise. It's a illusion that the "fight against
doping" can ever be won. As a doping expert was saying a few weeks go: in
the 90's the gap between the cops and the robbers was narrowing, but right
now it's widening again. Draconian legislation won't help any more than in
the "war against drugs'' in general. It will only stimulate the already
existing links with criminal organisations. The main impediment for
legalizing drugs: the fact that is has become a moral issue. Much more in
the United States than in Europe mayby, but I'm afraid that thanks to the
trials which are going on and all the publicity around the gap is closing. I
can't say I'm very happy about it.

Benjo Maso


Tom Ruta

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Oct 27, 2000, 11:42:17 AM10/27/00
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On Fri, 27 Oct 2000 17:38:30 +0200, "benjamin maso"
<benj...@euronet.nl> wrote:

>... legalizing drugs to a


>certain amount, Anquetil-wise. It's a illusion that the "fight against

>doping" can ever be won....

Cool. Then it will be just like drag racing. You'll have modifieds,
supermodifieds, etc. May the best pharmacist win!

Tom

Brian Lafferty

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Oct 27, 2000, 11:43:18 AM10/27/00
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I'm coming around to the view that maybe we should let them use whatever
they like and just follow them medically. It could be very interesting if
deadly for some of the worker bees. But think how great it would be to see
the absolute hour record break 70km or the Merckx style record hit 60km.

Brian Lafferty


benjamin maso wrote in message <8tc7b6$1vb7$1...@buty.wanadoo.nl>...

Alex Rodriguez

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Oct 27, 2000, 11:56:31 AM10/27/00
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In article <qohK5.266$R4.1...@newsread1.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,
jav...@earthlink.net says...

>
> I'm coming around to the view that maybe we should let them use whatever
>they like and just follow them medically. It could be very interesting if
>deadly for some of the worker bees. But think how great it would be to see
>the absolute hour record break 70km or the Merckx style record hit 60km.

This almost sounds reasonable. The problem is all the non-pros who want
to be pros will be taking drugs without the medical supervision that a
pro team can afford. So you will end up with alot of dead amateurs.
-----------------
Alex __O
_-\<,_
(_)/ (_)

Henry Chang

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Oct 27, 2000, 12:09:54 PM10/27/00
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I think the reasonableness of Lafferty's proposal comes down to how
much one believes in personal responsibility. If you do believe in
people taking a large degree personal responsibility (I do) then the
issue of 'dead amateurs' is not an issue at all.

There are only two ways of truly dealing with the drug issue,
recreational or performance-enhancing, in an effective way:

1) legalize it.
2) massively criminalize it (death penalty, ie. Singapore).

With the half-measures we have in place, there will always be halfway
results. If one doesn't believe we should adopt one of the two
aforementioned 'solutions' then one accepts the half-measures and one
shouldn't complain about the only partially successful results.

Henry

Sahan Amarasekera

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Oct 27, 2000, 12:24:16 PM10/27/00
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I do not think the UCI should legalise doping, I think this would drive
the sponsors away and kill the sport. Most of the fans don't like
doping, IMO. From a fairness point of view, the dope will still be as
expensive, so only some riders will be able to buy it.

How about this - encourage the riders to grass on each other. Offer a
reward - say that a rider who gives evidence leading to proof of doping
by another rider gets the doped riders ranking points, or some other
cycling reward.

--
Sahan Amarasekera

In article <8tc7b6$1vb7$1...@buty.wanadoo.nl>,

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

JMS

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Oct 27, 2000, 12:28:31 PM10/27/00
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"benjamin maso" <benj...@euronet.nl> wrote:
> Draconian legislation won't help any more than in
> the "war against drugs'' in general. It will only stimulate the
> already existing links with criminal organisations. The main
> impediment for legalizing drugs: the fact that is has become a moral
> issue. Much more in the United States than in Europe mayby, but I'm
> afraid that thanks to the trials which are going on and all the
> publicity around the gap is closing. I can't say I'm very happy about
> it.

I too fear that the battle against doping will probably never be won.
The current trajectory of investigations, accusations, and admissions
unfortunately could potentially drive the entire sport into the
ground. At that point, to me, it will not matter who is fundamentally
at fault -- I will simply be very disappointed that the sport has been
killed.

On the other hand, I doubt that what you propose will save the sport
either. It is unlikely that much of the public in any country will get
enthusiastic about the sport if most of its participants are openly
using artificial performance-enhancers.

Perhaps the best solution is what we refer to in the US as "Don't ask,
don't tell." We can all agree that drugs are dangerous, unfair, and
not to be encouraged. But we can also agree that total enforcement is
impossible, and partial enforcement is destructive and arbitrary. So,
we let adult professionals do whatever they want to themselves
to "prepare for a race," and we don't investigate, test, and suspect
them. At the same time, we don't ever declare all of those dangerous
performance-enhancers to be allowed.

Maybe this is what the UCI is trying to do with its muddling through
the situation -- but they have yet to make this case to the cycling fan
public. In the end, it should all be about what will keep the sport
viable with the fans.

JMS

Brian Lafferty

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Oct 27, 2000, 12:42:06 PM10/27/00
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And that should make it easier for the clean(er) amateurs to move up in
cat. :-)

Brian Lafferty


Alex Rodriguez wrote in message <8tc8jf$mj0$1...@newsmaster.cc.columbia.edu>...

rjk3

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Oct 27, 2000, 12:44:51 PM10/27/00
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In article <8tc8jf$mj0$1...@newsmaster.cc.columbia.edu>,

Amateurs have regularly tested positive in Europe the past few years.
It's already happened.

The popular image of drugs is heroin and opiates. But this is really a
medical problem, not a moral or criminal one. Addiction should be
treated by doctors, not with jail terms. Performance enhancing drugs
are somewhat different.

But drugs in sport, is it not cheating? Seeking an unfair advantage?
Unless everyone is free to do it, and the drug-diaries are made public.
At least you can see when someone is using aero-bars or disk wheels.

(As an aside, the US army doesn't hesitate to give drugs to soldiers
going into combat if they think it will help them fight.)

Sahan Amarasekera

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Oct 27, 2000, 12:52:27 PM10/27/00
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In article <39f9a745...@news.connectnet.com>,

I think you're absolutely right with the "half-measures" point. But it
would have to be a UCI thing, not a criminal law thing, because
cyclists cheating is nothing to do with the law (BTW, I am in favor of
banning). The UCI penalties for doping would be as I've outlined before.

BTW, no country, not even Singapore, StateMurders people just for USING
the drug. It is just for smuggling the drug into the country.

--
Sahan Amarasekera

tirthankara

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Oct 27, 2000, 1:34:27 PM10/27/00
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HELL NO! I personally hate even the idea of legalized dope. If you're
not strong enough to win naturally, then either partiscipate and don't
win, or QUIT. Heck, let's have piss tests at amature races as well.

J

In article <8tc7b6$1vb7$1...@buty.wanadoo.nl>,
"benjamin maso" <benj...@euronet.nl> wrote:

rjk3

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Oct 27, 2000, 1:44:14 PM10/27/00
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In article <yfiK5.449$R4.4...@newsread1.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,

"Brian Lafferty" <jav...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> And that should make it easier for the clean(er) amateurs to move up
in
> cat. :-)
>

hehehheh

Les Earnest

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Oct 27, 2000, 3:13:24 PM10/27/00
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benjamin maso wrote:
> As far as I see it there is only one solution: legalizing drugs to a
> certain amount, Anquetil-wise. It's a illusion that the "fight against
> doping" can ever be won.

I trust that you are aware that this is not really a legal issue for the
most part inasmuch as taking many of the drugs on the prohibited lists
does not violate any laws. Unfortunately the drug warriors in our
society think that the use of drugs in sports is just like other
recreational uses of drugs and should be outlawed for the same reasons.
One outstandingly stupid recent action has been the inclusion of
marijuana in the prohibited substances list even though it degrades
performance rather than enhancing it.

I believe that the drug warriors are wrong on both counts. The use of
recreational drugs should be treated as a medical problem rather than a
law enforcement issue and the use of drugs in sports should be
approached more flexibly from a marketing perspective.

I wrote the first USCF drug testing regulations in 1984 so as to
approximately conform with the IOC regulations of that era, which were
somewhat different from those of UCI. My goal was to remove the
incentives for taking dangerous substances so as to provide fair
competition under safer conditions. I was not trying to protect riders
from their own informed decisions -- indeed, I support the rights of
individuals to commit suicide if they choose to do so.

However, after a couple of years of seeing drug warriors starting to
stick their noses into sports drug testing, I drafted a proposed
revision to the USCF drug testing regulations that would have left the
decision about whether to test in the hands of the race organizers on
the condition that the testing status was to be stated in the official
race announcement. In other words, caveat emptor and let the market
decide which kinds of events should be run.

Unfortunately, when I initiated that proposal about 15 years ago it was
voted down decisively by the USCF board of directors, who evidently
wished to conform with international standards. Thus we have continued
to have just one kind of official competition, though the drug testing
is necessarily confined to the higher level races because of economic
considerations.

As we know, no testing program is foolproof. For example, there is no
test for blood boosting, which apparently has been in use for about 30
years, and there appears to be no prospect for developing such a test,
so the only way this practice can be detected is if one of the
perpetrators admits it.

There will inevitably be continuing advances in both testing and
countermeasures and, to put it mildly, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"
For example, the option of genetically engineering children will likely
appear in the next generation or two, so it likely will be possible to
create various kinds of super cyclists -- hill climbers, time triallers
and sprinters. Should they be barred from competition or put into
special classes? I favor the latter approach.

Meanwhile, I believe that our sport and others should adopt a more
flexible approach toward maintaining fair and safe competition in the
face of performance enhancements made possible by advancing technology
and should stamp out the moralistic bullshit of the drug warriors.

-Les Earnest

P.S. I probably won't have an opportunity to see responses to this note
inasmuch as I'm heading off this evening for a tour of Australia and New
Zealand till Thanksgiving. However, I hope to check my email at a few
cyber-cafes along the way.

Brian Lafferty

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Oct 27, 2000, 3:19:31 PM10/27/00
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What about people who have legally placed bets on riders in races as in
the UK? Haven't they been defrauded? Isn't that the gist of the charges
facing Pantani---sporting fraud?

Sport does not exist in a vacuum from the law. Sports governing bodies
owe their existence and exclusive control of their sports to law and they
are subject to various laws both civill and criminal.

Brian Lafferty


Sahan Amarasekera wrote in message <8tcbs8$srl$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...

Sahan Amarasekera

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Oct 27, 2000, 3:55:52 PM10/27/00
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In article <7zkK5.741$R4.7...@newsread1.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,

"Brian Lafferty" <jav...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> What about people who have legally placed bets on riders in races
as in
> the UK? Haven't they been defrauded?

No. I gave the example of soccer matches and diving in the penalty
area, and deliberate hand-balling in the penalty area. This is also
cheating. This is very common in football. It is dealt with by the
rules of the game, not by the law. Betters have to realise these things
and live with it. Nobody is forcing them to bet. If they do bet, they
have to accept the things that go on in the sport. Betting is not
something to be taken seriously, and it certainly SHOULD NOT result in
someone going to jail for cheating in a sport.


> Isn't that the gist of the charges
> facing Pantani---sporting fraud?

Yes

Brian Lafferty

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Oct 27, 2000, 5:27:13 PM10/27/00
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And fixing basketball games is a federal offense that is prosecuted here
in the US, just as one example. It usually falls within the mail and wire
fraud statutes.

Brian Lafferty


Sahan Amarasekera wrote in message <8tcmk3$6ts$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...

benjamin maso

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Oct 27, 2000, 5:55:06 PM10/27/00
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Sahan Amarasekera <sah...@my-deja.com> schreef in berichtnieuws
8tca76$r85$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> I do not think the UCI should legalise doping, I think this would drive
> the sponsors away and kill the sport. Most of the fans don't like
> doping, IMO. From a fairness point of view, the dope will still be as
> expensive, so only some riders will be able to buy it.
>
> How about this - encourage the riders to grass on each other. Offer a
> reward - say that a rider who gives evidence leading to proof of doping
> by another rider gets the doped riders ranking points, or some other
> cycling reward.


Perhaps the order of Lenin? It reminds me of the Soviet Union in the Stalin
era.

Benjo Maso


benjamin maso

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Oct 27, 2000, 5:56:59 PM10/27/00
to

Alex Rodriguez <ad...@columbia.edu> schreef in berichtnieuws
8tc8jf$mj0$1...@newsmaster.cc.columbia.edu...


But amateurs who want to be pros are already taking drugs - in large
amounts. See the book of Erwann Menthéour, for instance.

Benjo Maso


Sahan Amarasekera

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Oct 27, 2000, 5:52:05 PM10/27/00
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In article <RqmK5.1495$G4.1...@newsread2.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,

"Brian Lafferty" <jav...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> And fixing basketball games is a federal offense that is prosecuted
here
> in the US, just as one example. It usually falls within the mail and
wire
> fraud statutes.
>
> Brian Lafferty

I could understand a fine, but not jail. Would you honestly say you
want your hard-earned tax dollars used to jail someone who fixed a
basketball match ? Jail should only be used to house violent criminals
who are a danger to the public. The fine would be charged by the
Sport's Ruling Body.

--
Sahan Amarasekera

benjamin maso

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Oct 27, 2000, 6:04:06 PM10/27/00
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Henry Chang <fre...@connectnet.com> schreef in berichtnieuws
39f9a745...@news.connectnet.com...


The measures aren't even partially succesfull, they cause more damage than
they do good. Unless you believe in the fairy tale that had a "clean" Tour.
Some indications: first, the avarage hematocrite level in 1999 (when
according to Leblanc EPO had almost disappeared) was as high as in 1998.
Second, when the UCI announced just before last Tour that they had a method
of detecting cortisone, suddenly 28 % of the riders showed a certificate
that they had used it for pure medical reasons.

Benjo Maso


benjamin maso

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Oct 27, 2000, 6:22:25 PM10/27/00
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JMS <jch...@my-deja.com> schreef in berichtnieuws
8tcaf4$rk9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> "benjamin maso" <benj...@euronet.nl> wrote:
> > Draconian legislation won't help any more than in
> > the "war against drugs'' in general. It will only stimulate the
> > already existing links with criminal organisations. The main
> > impediment for legalizing drugs: the fact that is has become a moral
> > issue. Much more in the United States than in Europe mayby, but I'm
> > afraid that thanks to the trials which are going on and all the
> > publicity around the gap is closing. I can't say I'm very happy about
> > it.
>
> I too fear that the battle against doping will probably never be won.
> The current trajectory of investigations, accusations, and admissions
> unfortunately could potentially drive the entire sport into the
> ground. At that point, to me, it will not matter who is fundamentally
> at fault -- I will simply be very disappointed that the sport has been
> killed.
>
> On the other hand, I doubt that what you propose will save the sport
> either. It is unlikely that much of the public in any country will get
> enthusiastic about the sport if most of its participants are openly
> using artificial performance-enhancers.

Why not? Coppi has still the reputation of being a hero, almost a saint,
although he openly admitted that he took amphitamines. Most people in Europe
are convinced that almost all riders take doping, but they don't (or didn't)
care to much. That's why the Festina riders were cheered in the Vuelta a few
month after the scandal.


> Perhaps the best solution is what we refer to in the US as "Don't ask,
> don't tell." We can all agree that drugs are dangerous, unfair, and
> not to be encouraged. But we can also agree that total enforcement is
> impossible, and partial enforcement is destructive and arbitrary. So,
> we let adult professionals do whatever they want to themselves
> to "prepare for a race," and we don't investigate, test, and suspect
> them. At the same time, we don't ever declare all of those dangerous
> performance-enhancers to be allowed.

That's what has been done for years. Thanks to the Festina scandal it will
be very difficult to rteturn to this idyllic times.

> Maybe this is what the UCI is trying to do with its muddling through
> the situation -- but they have yet to make this case to the cycling fan
> public. In the end, it should all be about what will keep the sport
> viable with the fans.

That's of course what the UCI has been trying to do, putting their fingers
in the hole of the dyke, hoping it will stop the flood. Thank God the UCI
isn't run by zealots or moralists, but by people who are trying to save
bicycle racing in an acceptable way. They know very well that 90 % of the
riders are using illicit products and if they would remove the lid from the
pan 90 %, most sponsors would withdraw with disastrous consequences.

Benjo Maso


Morten Reippuert Knudsen

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Oct 27, 2000, 6:25:50 PM10/27/00
to
Alex Rodriguez <ad...@columbia.edu> wrote:

> > I'm coming around to the view that maybe we should let them use whatever
> >they like and just follow them medically. It could be very interesting if
> >deadly for some of the worker bees. But think how great it would be to see
> >the absolute hour record break 70km or the Merckx style record hit 60km.
>
> This almost sounds reasonable. The problem is all the non-pros who want
> to be pros will be taking drugs without the medical supervision that a
> pro team can afford. So you will end up with alot of dead amateurs.

Great point :)

--
Venlig hilsen Morten Reippuert Knudsen

Tim McNamara

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Oct 27, 2000, 7:39:19 PM10/27/00
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The use of performance enhancing drugs is as widespread as are sports.
Athletes compete to win, and if two cups of coffee will help they'll
drink them- even if they don't like coffee. We brand athletes who use
doping products as "cheats" even though they are, from on eperspective
at least, simply taking training to its logical conclusion.

I do not believe that the fight against doping, in ANY sport, will ever
be won. The stakes are simply too high.

If you want to reduce the likelihood that athletes will take risks with
their health to gain an advantage to win, there are ways to do so.
First, cap their incomes so that they are paid the same as US public
school teachers- who are frankly worth far more to the economy than
athletes. Second, separate income from performance; all athletes to be
paid the same with some pay differentiation for seniority.

In cycling, since none of that would ever happen, eliminate the UCI
points rankings. Create floor and ceiling salary arrangements.
Consider eliminating the UCI since they seem to be in the business of
instructing pro cyclists in the right methods for filing false medical
certificates to cover positive dope tests.. as well as accepting
ridiculously implausible excuses for positive tests.

Brian Lafferty

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Oct 27, 2000, 9:29:34 PM10/27/00
to
It's called white collar crime and it hurts society in many ways. There
are such people who have gone to jail and IMO that is appropriate.

Brian Lafferty


Sahan Amarasekera wrote in message <8tcte3$d02$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...

TJTalbert

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Oct 29, 2000, 12:13:19 PM10/29/00
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I would favor an absolute ban, with a 1 year suspension, then lifetime
expulsion, for the use of any banned proven performance enhancing drug for
which there exists a adequately reliable test.

There should be no position taken on drugs that are not shown to enhance
performance (i.e. marijuana), or things that cannot be tested for (i.e. blood
boosting).

Tim

Alex Rodriguez

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Oct 30, 2000, 11:16:50 AM10/30/00
to
In article <8tcte3$d02$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, sah...@my-deja.com says...

>I could understand a fine, but not jail. Would you honestly say you
>want your hard-earned tax dollars used to jail someone who fixed a
>basketball match ? Jail should only be used to house violent criminals
>who are a danger to the public. The fine would be charged by the
>Sport's Ruling Body.

There is lots of money involved. It's not just fixing of a game. So
when there is a lot of money involved, the government naturally gets
involved. So to keep it fair for everyone, they have penalties that
included jail time. You don't want the offenders to make lots of money
fixing games and then just have to pay a relatively small fine. They
then continue doing thier game fixing.

tjbik...@aol.com

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Nov 17, 2000, 11:17:23 PM11/17/00
to
PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT DRGS IN CYCLING!!!!!


In article <8tc7b6$1vb7$1...@buty.wanadoo.nl>, benjamin maso

> As far as I see it there is only one solution: legalizing drugs to a
>certain amount, Anquetil-wise. It's a illusion that the "fight against

>doping" can ever be won. As a doping expert was saying a few weeks go: in
>the 90's the gap between the cops and the robbers was narrowing, but right

>now it's widening again. Draconian legislation won't help any more than in


>the "war against drugs'' in general. It will only stimulate the already
>existing links with criminal organisations. The main impediment for
>legalizing drugs: the fact that is has become a moral issue. Much more in
>the United States than in Europe mayby, but I'm afraid that thanks to the
>trials which are going on and all the publicity around the gap is closing. I
>can't say I'm very happy about it.
>

>Benjo Maso
>
>


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