from Journey of Joegeezi
Making pledges to #cleansport are fine and dandy. However, it does literally zero to progress the sport and aid the development of clean athletes going forward on the professional side. A pledge really holds no weight in the big picture. Just look at the judicial system. Not related, so, it’s irrelevant you say? How about the fact that as athletes who compete in National and International sanctioned events you automatically agree to compete clean and accept that fact that you can be tested and penalized in your sport for a positive test? Isn’t it pointless and redundant to make a pledge to compete clean when it’s already the known agreement you accept as an athlete competing in sanctioned events? If you look at the bylaws of most National Federations (At least the ones I looked up) when you become a member of that federation (i.e. USATF) you are accepting the fact that you must compete clean and if you are caught cheating/doping that you will receive a suspension. Instead of continually creating websites and pointless media in support of clean sport isn’t it time that we actually create a system that can make an immediate change? I mean a pledge is not even legally binding. On top of that, a doper can make a pledge publically to be a clean athlete just as easy as a clean athlete. Just look at the countless number of athletes that have publically announced they are clean or denied PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) usage in the past, yet later were found to be doping for years.
Are websites with public pledges 100% pointless? Not at all. There are many unsanctioned events and fun runs across the globe that do not require athletes to sign an agreement to compete clean. Many of these small events do not even require an athlete to be part of a National Federation. Websites that promote public pledges to compete clean are great for the large % of athletes who do not compete in sanctioned races or whom do not belong to a National governing athletic association. A public pledge for the average athlete can be a great way to promote competing clean for age-group, fun runs, and non-prize money events. To be clear, I believe professional athletes do not need to take part in this redundant practice as most professional athletes belong to a governing body and/or have a contract with a sponsor that requires them to compete clean. Instead of public lip service on websites what can athletes actually promote that will have a real effect on the sport??
A pledge only matters to athletes who value truth, morality, honesty. Laws only matter to those that value them. It is important for governing bodies to sustain fairness in sport by not solely relying on pledges. As in criminal law, laws must be enforced to deter violations. Imagine a world where there were no rules and every human only had to give a pledge that they would be an upstanding human being. Would that work? Even with strict sentences as a penalty, humans still kill and steal. In sport, even though testing takes place (Even thought its known that a positive will lead to suspension) there are still many positive test results for performance enhancing drugs. Now, imagine if no testing was now the protocol for 2016. In some sports such as Obstacle Course Racing, almost no testing exists at all so, not much would change. For many other sports that have found that there are in fact drug cheats in their sport, the number they know of would only increase with no testing. Lack of testing, no testing at all, and no out of competition testing for Mountain/Ultra/Trail and Obstacle Racing opens the door for cheaters….Plain and simple.
In mountain/ultra/trail running there are a small number of athletes on the Out of Competition Testing pool. Why is that? If you are top 50 in the World in your respective event in USA alone, you are eligible to be entered into the testing pool. I’m not sure what got me in the pool a few years back, but I find it absolutely insane that there are only a small few mountain/trail folks in the out of competition pool. I’ve only known of 3-4 people in the last few years who have been in the pool from Mountain/Ultra/Trail! To be fair I’m not sure they landed in the pool due to their results in off road racing. That needs to change in order to preserve the sport. Off road racing does not need any more pledges, we need out of competition testing and we need National Federation Anti-Doping agencies as well as the World Anti-Doping Agency to acknowledge that our sport is worth focusing on to assure the future is bright and that cheaters are not able to steal the careers away from athletes competing with natural ability. If you love this sport, reach out to USADA, WADA and/or any Anti-Doping agencies in your country to MAKE A CHANGE!