0

Huffman: A sports enhancing history

The name Jeremy Mayfield has been on the lips of many NASCAR fans lately. After failing, passing then failing drug tests the 16-year NASCAR veteran has found himself in the center of yet another sports and drugs scandal.

Although Mayfield is claiming his failed drug tests were fixed by NASCAR in an effort to boost its ratings, since he passed his own independent test, I think the real issue is who cares whether or not he's been using Meth?

Aside from the fact that photos show he has too many teeth to have been abusing Meth, I'm pretty sure it's not going to make much difference in a NASCAR race.

There are too many racers who celebrate victories with showers of beer for me to believe that NASCAR can be anyone's anti-drug.

Before you begin to think that I bring up alcohol as a part of the same old "all drugs are evil" rant we hear year after year, let me just say that I believe most drugs should be allowed in sports.

Narcotics, booze and even steroids are what have made sports great from the beginning.

Just look at Mickey Mantle. He had to miss part of the 1961 season because of an injection he received of steroids and amphetamines got infected.

As for narcotics and alcohol, the difference between good and great is the ability to actually hit a ball while sweating and shaking as you struggle through the blurry vision that comes from a three-day long bender of pills and booze.

It's probably a safe bet that Babe Ruth was not sober for a majority of the 714 home runs he hit. After all, how we can expect the great Bambino to perform if he doesn't have any alcohol in his system to cover up the pain of syphilis?

Getting back to NASCAR, I don't claim to be a drug expert, but considering the marathon length of most Sprint Cup races, I'm pretty sure there are no drugs that do more good than harm.

I haven't read every report that's come out about Mayfield, but I'm pretty sure I would have remembered if he spun out in the middle of a race only to jump out of his vehicle, puking blood and ripping at his jumpsuit, while screaming about the invisible bugs that are swarming his body. That would have been a much bigger indicator that he's been using Meth. Also, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have won that race, which rules out any "performance-enhancing" status.

Drugs and sports go hand-in-hand.

If the long lists of arrests were any indicator, you would have an easier time finding an NBA pro who didn't partake in Marijuana.

As is the case with booze and baseball, any player who can bring themselves to continuously run up and down a court for all 60 minutes, while making a majority of their shots while also high as a kite deserves a place in the NBA hall of fame.

Or at least, that's the case with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Heck, even on the high school level, I witnessed a certain varsity-level team make use of a chewing tobacco stash. It's foolish to think that drugs can be eradicated from sports. Attempting a zero-tolerance policy does nothing but force drug use into the shadows where there can be no counseling, no help with abuse and certainly no freedom from addiction.

Zack Huffman is a sportswriter for the Daily. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 ext. 258 or zhuffman@news-daily.com.