Opinion

Whatever happened to free-range sportsmen?

The Queensland Times reporter Andrew Korner.
The Queensland Times reporter Andrew Korner. Rob Williams

I FONDLY remember the days when there was a lot less money floating around in professional sport circles, because people seemed to take it a loss less seriously then than they do now.

Between the constant onslaught of betting commercials and the ever-emerging scourge of drug use, I am not sure which is the biggest killer of the honest enjoyment of sport.

The comparatively mild annoyance of betting aside, there is something seriously wrong with someone who can justify pumping steroids, calf's blood, turkey semen, stingray tears, eastern quoll bile or whatever their choice of weird, untested internet mutant juice, into a human body in the name of whatever it is they think they are going to achieve.

I don't care if it is technically legal or not.

Please don't tell me that our professional sportsmen have become so much of a commodity that they must now assume the lifestyle of hormone-addled meat chickens.

What ever happened to free-range footy players?

Surely even the old-fashioned beer swilling, barrel-bellied "athlete" - someone like former Aussie cricketer David Boon - is preferable to the kind of person who is willing to win at all costs.

That old saying of putting everything on the line used to apply to what you did out on the field, but it has certainly taken on a new meaning after the events of the last week.

Now it seems that there could be sportspeople taking their biggest risks while they are still in the change rooms.

Don't get me wrong - I hope that this is all, somehow, a big mistake, and that the accusations that have been flying around this week are overblown.

A part of me also thinks that there is no smoke without a fire, somewhere.

While I look forward to a ruthless ASADA investigation weeding out all of the cheats - if there are any - I also hope that it is only a very small element.

At the same time, it would not surprise me to find out that this problem is widespread.

Where there are vast amounts of money involved, it seems there are always crooks and vultures circling for a piece of the action.

Topics:  doping, naughty korner, opinion


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