Today’s edition of My 2 Sense comes from frequent More Sports Now contributor, Sal Marinello, President of Athletic Development Coaching in Millburn, NJ.
My position has been clear from the beginning with regard to sports’ doping scandals; if clean athletes policed their sport we would have fewer drug scandals. I’ve written about this here on More Sports Now, spoke about this on the Steve Czaban Radio Show on the Yahoo Sports Network and posted numerous Tweets in support of my contention.
As far as my theory goes, I feel unshakable in my belief. However, thanks to an item posted by coaching colleague Steve Magness in response to the IOC’s decision to allow Russian athletes to compete in the Rio Games, my position needs to be adjusted to allow for reality.
I recommend that everyone read Steve’s entire article, titled ‘No One Really Wants a Whistleblower: Russia, the IOC, and Doping.’
Steve is one of the great young minds in all of coaching and is a whistleblower himself. As an insider in the world of track and field as a coach and competitor, he spoke out against legendary track coach Alberto Salazar and the all-powerful Nike Project, which was designed to bring American distance runners back to prominence and compete with the Kenyans and Ethiopians. His story is compelling.
You can, and should, read about that here.
Nobody is in a better position to talk about what happens when you speak out against the powerful forces in sports and, as Steve writes in his recent post, the spineless IOC’s decision (my use of spineless) to allow Russian athletes to compete in Rio will make it more difficult for, and way less likely that, other clean athletes will speak out in the future. He makes the case that, as a result of the IOC’s decision, the powers that be do not want and will not get, clean games.
At least not with the help of whistleblowers.
The Russian whistleblowers, the Stepanovas, have been forced to leave their country as a result of stepping forward. They, like Coach Magness, have been the target of threats from a variety of sources. The IOC’s gutless decision (my use of gutless) has resulted in the Stepanovas being banished from the Olympics – and their country – whilst allowing known drug cheats to compete in Rio.
The corrupt IOC (my use of corrupt) has sent a message to the clean athletes; whistleblowers are banned but members of a known doping program can compete. What other athlete out there would think of coming forward given the current climate? What coach would deign to speak out and bring to our attention the doping ways of other, dirty coaches?
The debauched IOC (my use of debauched) has done irreparable damage to the idea of conducting ‘clean’ Olympics – and other world championship competitions – because these whistleblowers have been hung out to dry. Drug cheats will be emboldened by this latest sordid chapter in sports doping, and clean competitors now have yet another hurdle to clear.
So while my position regarding individual athletes speaking out against drug cheats has been changed by Steve Magness, and is now reality based, it is my new hope that clean athletes and coaches from all sports will band together and form a small, vocal and well-organized group to combat the formidable forces of doping.
Perhaps this group could wrest control from an impotent IOC (who would disagree?) and other sports governing bodies, and be an ally of the anti-doping agencies and an agent of not just change, but revolution: Clean athletes taking control of their sports.