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MLS Finally Becomes “Real” American Sports League

MLS joined the other “real” American sports leagues – the NBA, NFL, and MLB (former member NHL now considered “Canadian sports league”) – by finally accomplishing a goal those leagues have been routinely performing for the last two decades. What was the goal?

To catch a player for using performance enhancing drugs!

Yay! It only took nine years to catch one, and they ended up getting two! Yippeee!

Who were the offenders? Why, it was Mr. Parke and Mr. Conway of the New York Red Bulls. Tell them what they’ve won, Donnie! 

“Jon and Jeff, for testing positive for androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metaboliteshave, you’ll get to “reward” the league by forefeiting back 10% of your annual salary (which ain’t a lot to begin with) and “relax” for the next ten games of your career while you serve an extensive suspension!”

I don’t know what this ATD is. Apparently it enhances your performance more than any energy drink.

Even one that gives you wings.

What will be the fallout from this ugly incident?

Well, short term, New York will likely still make the playoffs, even without their defensive stalwart and starting goalkeeper. Parke and Conway will serve their suspensions (10 games each), pay their fines and continue their careers. No matter what they accomplish though, they will likely never shake this whole unfortunate episode. It will follow them wherever they play. I bet some of their rivals’ supporters’ groups are already trying to come up with new songs to serenade them with when they get back from their unpaid vacation.

Long term, it could mean stricter testing. It could mean more violators are caught. Or, it could mean we won’t be talking about the next suspension until 2017. Who knows?

What I do know is that you can fault Conway and Parke, but you can’t call them cheaters. What they took wasn’t on the list of things they were not allowed to take. Sure, some of the ingredients in what they took were on the list, but no one notified them those ingredients were in the drugs they took, and they had no idea that they were breaking the rules. Are we asking athletes to be pharmacists and chemists as well as athletes?

In my opinion, Conway and Parke are not cheaters because they did not know they were cheating. That is, they had no intention of cheating. And come on, how can you blame them? After all, they play for a team that is owned by an energy drink company. So I can’t take anything with ephedra, but I can drink five Red Bulls before the game? What the heck’s the difference and which is really healthier?