Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Recently, in America, a professional wrestler called Chris Benoit killed his wife and seven year old son then hanged himself. Autopsies showed that all three had drugs in their bodies. It seems the boy was sedated before he was killed but the parents appeared to be drug users with Chris showing strong evidence of steroid use as well.

The point of this post is not to discuss the pros and cons of this tragedy but to examine what lies behind such deaths, what motivates sports people to destroy their bodies and themselves with drugs. It's strange but when I was growing up anyone who cheated to win was looked down upon, despised. Surely drug use is cheating of the highest order. It makes you into something you're not. But, currently, if your competitors are using performance enhancing drugs, pressure is placed upon those with principles to do likewise.

Of course, in most sports now, drug use is rife. Even the Olympics are not drug free and in sports like bike riding, wrestling, baseball, football, boxing, etc, drugs seem to be the norm and the governing authorities too often turn a blind eye.

So what pushes people to damage their bodies and try to win unfairly? It can be summarized by two words: MONEY and FAME. Taking money first, it is said that every person has their price. We live in a competitive world, one where the luxurious, pretentious lifestyle of the rich is sought after, valued. Like prostitutes, some people will do anything to swim in money. Sports people are no different. The rewards for success are high. There is the prize money, the adoring crowds, the endorsements, the books, the interviews, the franchises. Big Bucks!

The money of course is generated by the fame. No fame, no money. It doesn't seem to matter if the fame is achieved by cheating, by using dangerous, life-shortening, rage-inducing drugs to win. Winners are grinners.

So who is to blame? If we reduce it down to the essentials it is we, the public, who killed Benoit (and others like him). We are the ones who are driving this madness. If we rejected drug cheats and refused to either adore or support them or the products they advertise then they would quickly disappear. The level playing field just might return again. Might!

But sadly, it's too late for Chris Benoit, his wife and his young son.



pissed off patricia said...

It comes down to the individual who made the choice. He chose his course and made decisions along the way.

Lucyp said...

I go along with patricia, nobody but Benoit was responsible for what Benoit did. All his actions begin and end with him.
The sickening thing is that he took his wife and young child with him.

Daniel said...

Patricia and Lucy, are you suggesting that societal values (or lack thereof) have no bearing on the behaviour and attitudes of individuals?

Benoit, though flawed, did not exist in a vacuum. Like many, he was chasing the capitalist dream.

Mary Walsh said...

Only the person who commits the act is responsible. His circumstances may help him to make his choices, but short of being free of a jail situation, he chose his actions, by himself and for himself.

I believe like war, greed is behind the drug use in sport. Greed for both fame and fortune.

Personally I think we have far too many "champions" these days which has cheapened the accolade that it once attracted.

Daniel said...

An individual is a product of genetic inheritance plus the forces at play during his or her upbringing, Mary. If money and fame were despised by our society would Benoit have acted entirely differently and not pumped his body full of rage-inducing drugs?

I'm not trying to justify what Benoit did, merely understand it.

L.C.S. Monkus said...

You know ..... I do agree that we are all responsible for our own actions.

However.... in the distant past as a bartender who relied on his tips to earn a living .... I had no problem pushing the sale of alcohol for my benefit .....

Sure it was their decision to buy the drink and to ingest it .... however I did my part in pushing it. I was also responsible for pushing the customer to drink more. I was involved in their decision making.

If Benoit's actions are a direct result of steroid rage .... I believe that sports fans, sports managers, TV stations all have a part in supporting drug use unless they speak out.

We support the use of steroids by saying nothing, we support steroid use through buying tickets to sporting events.... we support this by being entertained by sports events.....

and yes, we support drug use at rock concerts if the musicians are high .....

I think we all have to "sober up" and truly acknowledge our involvement.

My 2 cents.

Fleming said...

Daniel, to me, being of an earlier generation, the use of drugs (as by Benoit) seems monstrous. Yes, in college we drank beer and rarely some whiskey, and now I drink martinis, but I get the impression that many of the very young today are heavily "drinking martinis" in drug form. It's as if many in high school, college, and sports are the equivalent of alcoholics, except they're drugoholics. Why should such a thing happen to a land?

Daniel said...

It's the competitive society we have spawned, Fleming, the 'get to the top by any means' mentality that is the real foundation of capitalism.

I guess drugs are seen as helping this objective whereas getting drunk just gets you a hangover!