In light of Al Jazeera’s controversial report allegedly linking shipments of human growth hormone (HGH) to Peyton Manning, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he believes athletes should be able to use HGH and other performance enhancing drugs if they’re doing so to recover from injury.
On Monday, Cuban was a guest on TMZ Sports’ show on Fox Sports 1. During the conversation he was asked about HGH.
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, look at it: we say it’s OK for people to get LASIK for their eyes. That’s performance enhancing. And there’s always the chance that something can go wrong. We say that you can get Tommy John surgery, or any surgery for that matter is performance enhancing. Torn ligament? Fix it. Is it better than new? Possibly, with rehabbing it can be better than new. We don’t say don’t do it because it can be performance enhancing. We say, let’s do what’s right to get you healthy again.
It’s worth reiterating here that Manning has vehemently denied Al Jazeera’s allegations, and that the story has taken a series of bizarre twists, most recently because the key source has recanted his statements entirely.
But placing Manning aside, Cuban’s quote encapsulates an increasingly common sentiment that favours the use of PEDs in sports for swifter, speedier recoveries.
Among its biggest proponents is Malcolm Gladwell, who has written and spoken at length about why he believes performance enhancing drugs should be legalised and subsequently regulated. During a “New Yorker Out Loud” podcast in 2013, Gladwell posited a similar argument to that of Cuban, questioning the inconsistency of allowing LASIK and Tommy John surgeries, but not testosterone or HGH.
Gladwell, in fact, takes his opinion on the matter one step farther than Cuban, and advocates for “complete liberalization and complete transparency” of doping.
What I really would like is to have complete liberalization and complete transparency. I would like to know about every single baseball player, track-and-field athlete, basketball player, precisely what they are on. And then I’d like to reach my own conclusions as a fan about how to evaluate their performance.
While Gladwell’s idea is certainly a fun thought experiment, it goes without saying that it will never actually catch on in professional sports. Cuban’s belief, on the other hand, seems at the very least to be picking up traction.
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