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.