JC Romero Is Not a Victim

Joe KirshenbaumContributor IJanuary 7, 2009

Perhaps JC Romero isn't a cheater. The definition of cheating, pertaining to sports and other games, is simply this:

"To violate rules deliberately"

By that definition, it's not cheating, because he didn't know he was putting a banned substance into his body.  But at the same time, he thought he was circumventing the rules and screwed up.

If you're pretty much doing something that's pretty much the same thing as someone deliberately violating the rules, but thinking you're circumventing them by doing it in what you think is a legal way, only that it's not, does it make you any better than the guy violating the rules?

The reason why the whole steroid testing in itself is completely flawed is because it's easy to get around it.  There's plenty more places like BALCO out there, making their own brand of undetectable "designer" steroids.  But since that's risky, as if the one you belong to gets busted like BALCO or Signature Pharmacy, you get busted as well, there's a better option.

Enter GNC.

While everything you see in GNC are legal, FDA approved over the counter supplements, if you take certain supplements a certain way, it will have the same effect as steroids.

Androstenedione, "andro" for short was a perfect example of that, made popular by Mark McGwire.  Originally meant as an estrogen based dietary supplement for women, if taken a certain a way can be converted to testosterone and used as a steroid.  And because of that, what was once a legal, over-the-counter supplement became classified as a steroid and was banned by the FDA.

If you think that was the only legal, over-the-counter supplement if used a certain way would have the same effects as steroids, you're kidding yourself.  It was simply one of the easiest, and it wouldn't have even been banned had McGwire not conveniently placed it in his locker during the 1998 home run chase for the media to see to detract away from the steroid whispers, as it wasn't technically a steroid at the time (of course, neither was the BALCO stuff Bonds allegedly used, but this was back when the media used to protect McGwire before they realized they couldn't continue protecting him while continuing their vendetta against Bonds).

Okay, even if he wasn't trying to get the same effects of steroids, he was still buying things at GNC that he thought would help improve his performance.  So what he did was put a foreign substance into his body (that likely does more harm to his health than good) with the intent of improving his performance.

And that's better than taking steroids how?

So let's see: Since steroids are banned, he goes for the next best thing, the best available (what he thinks are) legal supplements.  Only it turns out, it's not so legal.

I'm sorry, but Romero's whole argument doesn't fly with me.

JC, you screwed up.  Just admit it, and take your suspension like a man.

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