A question struck me the other day while watching the news; why are sport stars condemned for using illegal non-performance enhancing drugs, but musicians and artists celebrated for it?
The news had a novelty piece basically lauding Ozzy Osbourne for his many years of drug abuse that has addled his brain so badly he doesn’t know who he is anymore. The next article was a savage attack upon a sportsman who had the temerity to be caught with illicit drugs. The two newsreaders severely criticized the sportsman, primarily because they felt he was such an important role model to so many young people. It was a fantastic example of double standards, but I’m not sure why it is this way in our society.
Why is there such an amazing level of hypocrisy here? Why are some musicians almost worshipped for their abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol, but sportsmen are somehow expected to maintain a perfect existence? Bon Scott has achieved legend status in many parts of the music world, having died of alcohol and drug poisoning. The whole “Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll” lifestyle is often glamorized by the media, and successfully played up to by rock stars. At the same time, sportsmen are sacked from their jobs for often quite minor offenses, and the media crucify them. Why do we, as a society, seem to accept these differing standards?
Cricket Australia is in the process of finalizing its drug testing protocols in relation to non-performance enhancing illicit drugs. It will be interesting to see what the final version looks like. I fully accept and support the necessity to test for performance enhancing drug use. There is no doubt that public figures should not be seen to be promoting illegal activities, but I fail to understand why sportsmen are subject to testing for non-performance enhancing drugs. If we are going to test certain sections of the community for illicit drug use, then random testing should be considered similarly appropriate for our journalists, politicians, judges, police, teachers, musicians and so on.
I must conclude by admitting that I have never taken illicit drugs myself, and have never had any desire to do so. But to pick one section of society such as sportsmen and apply different standards to them strikes me as immensely hypocritical.