Stop This Man
I said my basic peace on the Rashard Lewis suspension over at The Baseline. Read here for my (ahem) baseline analysis, plus the Manny coincidence. Excuse me if I'm not foaming and fuming about this one.
To get a little deeper, even if you want to suspect certain players of juicing—especially those guys who enjoy working out—you've got to look at these suspicions in context. Same goes for the Lewis thing. Baseball and football are knee-deep in PED problems, and obviously have a culture that promotes and enables them. Does anyone have any evidence that such a thing exists in basketball? A suspension like this is, to be sure, startling. But it's almost as if people assume that, if MLB and the NFL are dirty, then surely that same climate must be present in basketball.
I know there's no consensus on whether NBA players could benefit. Even if they could, I'd have to get some inkling that it wasn't just a few isolated cases. That's now how it works in those other sports, so why would it be like that here? And saying "it's in other sports" is, like I said, a total fucking fallacy. Show me the sea change in play, in stats, in injuries; the rumors that make it past the ESPN boards; more than one person ever suspended for a non-diet pill violation. As I've said many a time, that the league is all too willing to share information about PED suspensions, but stays mum on hard drugs, doesn't just imply they have nothing to hide—they want it out there just how unworried they are, how minor these trangressions are expected to be.
Now tell me, as much as baseball was in denial, would it ever had gone out of its way to craft a policy that was so casual and transparent about PEDs? Conversely, while I may not be the world's biggest insider, I think I'd at least have once heard—from people who know—that a player was suspected. Which wouldn't even in itself convince me, since it takes more than one person to change the course of PED history. Unless you believe Jose Canseco's "I am the Messian of steroids" crap.
P.S. While you're over there, check out today's column on fan psychology and 2010.